Veteran producer Robert Chartoff died this afternoon after battling pancreatic cancer for the past 2 years, his longtime partner Irwin Winkler confirmed. Chartoff, who was 81, had taken a turn for the worse a month ago and passed away at his home in Santa Monica.
“Robert’s work speaks for itself, which is quite a statement,” Winkler told Deadline.” He was also a very charitable, giving man. Not a lot of people knew this, but he supported and built a school for orphans in India. He was … one of the most decent people you would ever meet.”
Chartoff and Winkler shared a Best Picture Oscar as producers for the 1976 film Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone as the iconic title character. The partners were also nominated in the Best Picture category for 1980’s Raging Bull directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, and for 1983’s The Right Stuff, the chronicle of America’s Mercury 7 astronauts directed and written by Philip Kaufman based on the book by Tom Wolfe.
He most recently served as an executive producer on Ender’s Game, based on the classic sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card. The New York City native began making his mark with a handful of distinctive late 1960s movies, among them Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and directed by John Boorman, The Split and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? — the latter film nominated for nine oscars including best director (Sydney Pollack), actress (Jane Fonda) and actor Gig Young, who won.
Chartoff then made a slew of pictures during the 1970s, a period during which he and his producing and directing peers flourished with risky work characterized by nerve and grit. His movies during that era included The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, The New Centurions, The Mechanic in addition to Rocky and Scorsese’s New York, New York. He even had a less well known (and little seen) non musical outing Up The Sandbox with Barbra Streisand as a disillusioned and bored suburban housewife with an outrageous inner fantasy life.
In addition to the orphanage, Chartoff established the RC Charitable Foundation in 1990 to award grants to international schools and other child agencies. He also served on the Community Advisory Board of the Younes and Soraya Israel Studies Center at UCLA.