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Company Town : Real Key Is How Goldwyn Is Treated

THE BIZ / CLAUDIA ELLER

July 28, 1995|CLAUDIA ELLER

No doubt the movie will do well overseas in countries with liberal attitudes toward sexuality, but here at home its box office potential is more questionable because the film last week received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

Evans, like the filmmakers and studio, are optimistic that "Showgirls" will overcome the obstacles.

"Showgirls," for which Evans shares a producer credit with Allan Marshall, though Evans was not involved in the making of the movie, is one of three movie properties Evans has bankrolled over the years.

His first was the 1982 smash comedy "Tootsie," also gutsy subject matter for its day that all of Hollywood moviedom had passed on. Dustin Hoffman played an obnoxious New York actor who finally lands a job when he pretends to be a woman--and discovers he's a much better female than he was a male.

"I got the script from Buddy Hackett [who wanted to play the role of the agent which director Sydney Pollack wound up with], and I couldn't stop laughing," recalled Evans, who paid $35,000 for an 18-month option.

Evans, who said he still receives payments on "Tootsie," estimates he's collected about $1 million in profits over the past 13 years.

Evans' $450,000 investment in "Monkey Shines," a 1988 box office flop directed by George Romero and released by Orion Pictures, didn't pay off, however. Though he did collect a $500,000 producer's fee and was involved in every aspect of production, he admits that he "never saw profits from the film."

The financier, who says he'd "like to be looked upon as a working banker for select projects," said he enjoys dabbling in Hollywood "because I enjoy movies very much. I have the time to do it. And I believe if done wisely, it can be a profitable business."

Evans, who refuses to divulge his net worth other than to joke that "it's more than $1 million," made his first fortune with the Evan-Picone clothing line. At age 22, he and Joseph Picone started the business in August, 1949, then sold the company to Revlon in May, 1962, for $12 million to $15 million. He remained under contract for the next four years, then left the company, where brother Bob had also worked under the clothes line division called Diva.

Evans then went into the real estate development and construction business, where he made his next fortune building more than 6 million square feet of office space from 1967 to 1988, mostly in New Jersey.

Today, he maintains a real estate holding company to oversee his various properties.

In 1975, he suffered a personal tragedy, losing his ex-wife and two young children, Melissa, 10, and Elizabeth, 9, in a fire in their New York apartment. Their son, Charles Evans Jr., who was in a different part of the house, escaped without injury. After Evans lost his family, he went on a one-man crusade to establish laws mandating smoke detectors.

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