Motion Picture Academy salutes industry icon

It was appropriate that Thursday’s Motion Picture Academy salute to Robert Evans, complete with a screening of “Rosemary’s Baby,” had an eclectic panel: Viacom topper Sumner Redstone, Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart, director Brett Ratner and Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash.

By himself, Slash widened the spectrum considerably. AMPAS prexy Sid Ganis said the guitarist is “a good friend of Bob’s. I’m not exactly sure what the chemistry is, but they really care for each other.”

The screening and reception drew a crowd that included Lawrence Turman, Robert Forster, John Salley, George Schlatter, Cheryl Tiegs and Evans’ ex-wife Ali MacGraw.

Redstone described Evans as “flamboyant, irreverent and cutting edge”; Ratner said he had been mentored by Evans to a depth where “I’m not picking his brain; I’m eating his brain”; and Bart, who was Evans’ wingman at Par during their late ’60s-early ’70s glory days, said at first he didn’t foresee much success. “I thought we’d both be unemployed or working for his limo company,” said Bart.

When Evans spoke, he said he was “the only person to have gone from being head of a studio and ended up as a cartoon,” before thanking the panelists, especially Redstone who gave him considerable support after the stroke he suffered a decade ago.

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