A.C. Lyles, a longtime producer with Paramount Pictures, was such a well-known figure on the Paramount lot that a building there was named for him.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., Lyles passed out handbills and worked as an usher at a local movie theater owned by Paramount. During this period, he wrote regularly and vigorously to the then-head of Paramount, Adolph Zukor, and Zukor's secretary.
He came to Hollywood while still a teenager and wound up with a job at Paramount as Zukor's office boy in 1937. He worked his way to the publicity department before trying his hand at producing. He was an associate producer on the hit TV show "Rawhide," which starred a young Clint Eastwood.
Early in his Hollywood career, Lyles was introduced to a young actor named Ronald Reagan. The two remained friends for the remainder of Reagan's life. Lyles also called James Cagney a close personal friend.
In 1948, Lyles married actress Martha Vickers; they divorced the following year. Vickers married fellow actor Mickey Rooney in June 1949, but the couple's union also ended in divorce. Lyles later married Martha Troetscher Schaefer.
During his presidency, Reagan asked Lyles to be a part of the new President's Advisory Council on Private Sector Initiatives, which included members from the public and private sectors. At the 1991 funeral of baseball great Leo Durocher, a mutual friend, Lyles read a letter from Reagan, who was unable to attend.
Beginning in 2005, Lyles — who was by then in his 80s and well-known for his work in the western genre — returned to TV as a consulting producer on the HBO show "Deadwood."
In 2009, when it was announced that the Academy Awards would expand its best picture field from five entries to 10, Lyles told The Times, "I have been a voting member of the Academy for 65 years. I see almost every movie made, and I have had a difficult time selecting five. I think it’s a good idea to have 10 nominees."
Lyles, who still maintained an office on the Paramount lot, died Sept. 27, 2013 at his home in Bel-Air. He was 95.