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” dating from 1973, when he was producing a screen adaptation of the novel. “By the way, he’s very worried about the book.”(A Kissinger “bombshell” was one of the main publicity teases for It would be hard to find a famous character from the 60s and 70s who has not in some way benefited from Evans’s extravagance.
He had bought the rights from Scott Fitzgerald’s daughter as a gift for Ali Mac Graw, whose fondest wish was to play Daisy Buchanan. When I ask him who has been a houseguest here, he opens a three-ring binder and reads me a litany: “Richard Gere has stayed here,” he says, gesturing toward the guest quarters where Mac Graw now lives.
A butler in a waistcoat and splashy tie has walked me to the screening room, near the tennis court and swimming pool, where I am seated in what is reverentially referred to as “Jack’s chair.” There I wait.
The blackout curtains have been closed and it’s pitch-dark.
But unlike his icon, who died at 37, when he was still a “boy,” Evans has slugged it out to 64.
When he surprised her with the news of the acquisition, he says she cooed, “Evans, you really are Gatsby.” He seems, even after the dissolution of their marriage, the failure of the film, and all these tumultuous years, to have kept on believing her. (“Meant to be a very sexy room.”) “Mia Farrow, Richard Burton, David Niven lived here for quite a while. I was going to kill myself—no theatricality.”At the time, Evans was producing with Jack Nicholson.
Poring over the frayed magazine spreads, sensually caressing the yellowed pages, Evans obviously gains pleasure from the adulatory headlines and the flattering photos. Robert Altman, Salvador Dalí, Teddy Kennedy, Olivier, Dustin, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Romy Schneider, Liv Ullmann, Sumner Redstone, Bob Towne, Dr. “We would come back here to watch the dailies every night and Jack saw me shrivel in front of him,” he says.
He has survived Mob death threats received at the time of (perhaps with help from the man he calls his own godfather, powerful attorney Sidney Korshak), and his near brush with Helter Skelter the night of the Sharon Tate murder.
(He says he decided to stay home rather than heading over to her house on Cielo Drive for a nightcap.) His days are now spent behind the gates of his celebrated compound, with an army of minions crisscrossing the walks, 30 phones beeping, intercoms blaring, his ex-wife Ali Mac Graw lodged in the guesthouse, and other, inanimate memorabilia placed everywhere.
, is a genre unto himself: actor-turned-mogul-turned-producer-turned-pariah. Rarely have the words been spoken with less hyperbole. Today he’s got his house back (thanks, in part, to a good deed perpetrated by pal Jack Nicholson), and two pictures at Paramount ready to film this autumn: a screen version of and the Joe Eszterhas-scripted Jade.