Robert Evans has always done business in bed.
In the late 1960s and early '70s, when he was chief of Paramount Pictures, it was there — under his 18th century velvet-paneled headboard — that he closed the deals for such classic films as "The Godfather." When he pursued the actress he would later marry, Ali MacGraw, to star in the tragic romance "Love Story," she told him yes while lounging atop his famous mink bedspread.
"The deal was consummated in this very bed," the irrepressible, baritone-voiced producer has been known to tell visitors to his Beverly Hills mansion, where a butler knows to whisk Evans' guests past the living room and directly to his bedroom.
Evans' no-holds-barred delivery and stream-of-consciousness style won him a new generation of fans in 1997, when he turned his hilarious memoir "The Kid Stays in the Picture" into a self-narrated book on tape. The cassettes were must-have items in Hollywood, particularly among young up-and-comers. Later, the memoir inspired a 2002 documentary that chronicled his meteoric rise and precipitous fall.
In his 10 years at Paramount, and later as a producer, Evans made more than 300 movies, among them "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown," "Marathon Man" and "Urban Cowboy." Since then, he has weathered a cocaine possession conviction, the murder of a business partner, persistent money troubles and a series of strokes that nearly killed him.
Through it all, the indefatigable Evans has made a cottage industry out of his risen-from-the-ashes narrative. In 2003, he re-created himself as a cartoon character, Kid Notorious, for a series on Comedy Central.
When he hosted a comedy show on Sirius radio from his Beverly Hills bed at the age of 74, he whispered to listeners: "For the next two hours, we're going to be in bed together. I'm not here to get into your pants. I'm here to get into your head."