LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Film producer and studio head Alan Ladd Jr., who won an Oscar for Mel Gibson's ``Braveheart'' but is revered by sci-fi buffs for bringing ``Star Wars'' to the big screen, died today at age 84.
His daughter, Amada Ladd-Jones, broke the news on Facebook, writing, ``With the heaviest of hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence.''
She wrote the message on the Facebook page of the documentary film ``Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies'' that tracked her father's life in Hollywood.
The son of iconic actor Alan Ladd, Ladd Jr. began his Hollywood career as a talent agent, working with stars including Judy Garland and Robert Redford. He moved to London to pursue film producing, and after making a series of movies, he was hired as head of creative affairs at 20th Century Fox, becoming the studio's president in 1976.
It was in his early days at Fox that he met with a young director named George Lucas, whose film ``American Graffiti'' had caught Ladd's eye. Lucas described for Ladd his hope of developing a science-fiction drama, and
Ladd backed the idea immediately -- giving birth to ``Star Wars,'' one of the biggest film franchises in Hollywood history.
He also green-lit films including ``Alien,'' ``The Towering Inferno,'' ``The Omen,'' ``Young Frankenstein,'' ``Norma Rae,'' ``All That Jazz'' and ``The Rocky Horror Picture Show.''
Ladd later left Fox to create his own production company, which helmed films including ``Chariots of Fire,'' ``The Right Stuff,'' ``Night Shift'' and the ``Police Academy'' comedies. The company eventually struggled financially, and Ladd became president of MGM/UA Entertainment, overseeing films such as ``A Fish Called Wanda,'' ``Moonstruck'' and ``Spaceballs.''
He later reestablished The Ladd Co. production house in a deal with Paramount, where he co-produced ``Braveheart,'' which won five Oscars, including best picture.
Ladd is survived by his wife, Cindra, and three daughters.