Alan Ladd Jr., who won Oscar for ‘Braveheart,’ greenlighted ‘Star Wars,’ dead at 84

Alan Ladd Jr., who won an Academy Award as producer of “Braveheart” and greenlighted “Star Wars” during the 1970s, died Wednesday, his daughter said. He was 84.

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Ladd died at his Los Angeles home, his daughter, Amanda Ladd-Jones, who directed the documentary “Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies,” wrote on the film’s Facebook page. No cause was given, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“With the heaviest of hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd, Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family,” Ladd-Jones wrote on social media. “Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence.”

Ladd was the top producer at Fox, Pathe Entertainment and MGM (two times), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

While working at 20th Century Fox during the late 1970s, Ladd, known as “Laddie,” greenlit “Star Wars,” a $10 million science-fiction film directed by George Lucas that would become a blockbuster movie, the website reported.

“My biggest contribution to ‘Star Wars’ was keeping my mouth shut and standing by the picture,” Ladd told Variety.

Known as Laddie, Ladd had been impressed by Lucas’ work directing the 1973 film, “American Graffiti” and jumped at the chance to do his next film, which was “Star Wars,” the Times reported.

As a studio executive and producer, Ladd -- the son of screen idol Alan Ladd Sr. -- was involved in 14 movies that were nominated for Academy Awards for best picture, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The list includes “Young Frankenstein” (1974), “The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), “The Omen” (1976), “Breaking Away” (1979), “Body Heat” (1981), “Chariots of Fire” (1981), “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Moonstruck” (1987).

Ladd won an Oscar, along with Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey, for “Braveheart,” which won best picture honors in 1995.

Alan Walbridge Ladd Jr. was born on Oct. 22, 1937, according to the Times. His parents were divorced when he was 2.

“I wasn’t a celebrity kid,” Ladd told Variety in 2007. “I was a Valley kid.”

And, according to a 1990 Times story, Ladd was a teenager before he began living at his father’s Holmby Hills estate.

Despite growing up around Hollywood’s top stars and spending a lot of his time at the movies, Ladd told the newspaper in 1996 that he never wanted to be an actor.

“Their life was like living in a prison,” Ladd told the Times. “Back then, you didn’t have TV stars, so film stars were even bigger. They couldn’t go anywhere.”