Sunday, June 14, 2015


Bob Chartoff was a Hollywood producer unlike any other I ever had anything to do with, or for that matter anyone I ever had anything to do with. He was enormously successful (co-produced Rocky, Raging Bull and The Right Stuff to name a few), but despite the kind of acclaim and fortune that often makes people, especially in show biz, act entitled or just dominate any scene they're in, Bob was one of the kindest and most humble persons ever in my experience.

I met him not long after I moved to Hollywood with a script I'd written about when I was in the military and stationed in then legally segregated South Carolina while in love with an African-American girl and chose to ignore the local laws, unwritten or on the books, as well as the local customs and lore. Arrogant of me I realize now, but righteous.

Bob loved it and tried hard to get it made and to get me other opportunities to write screenplays and get them made. It didn't happen for whatever reason (I like to think it was because I was ahead of the curve, but it may also have been because unlike Bob I was often defiantly self-important back then). At any rate, along with a woman who became a good friend and also managed me for a while, and Bob's closest friend, Jo An Kincaid, I spent wonderful times in Bob's company either in his home or elsewhere and never felt I was with a Hollywood V.I.P. but rather with a decent and bright person who treated me and everyone else, as far as I could see, as equals.

I was always grateful to Bob for responding to my script with the highest praise and trying to get it made (and to Jo An for the same), and am happy he had such a long and successful career at something he loved. We all should be so lucky. Here's a shot taken, I think by Richard Halsey, the great film editor, of Bob and me (in the oversized coat I used to wear as some sort of anti-Hollywood glamour thing, as I remember) at the peak of our friendship. Rest in peace Bob.

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