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Charles Evans, 81; co-founder of Evan-Picone sportswear

June 07, 2007|Mary Rourke | Times Staff Writer

Charles Evans, a founder of Evan-Picone sportswear for women who later produced the movies "Tootsie" and "Showgirls," died June 2. He was 81.

Evans, who is the brother of film producer Robert Evans, died of complications from pneumonia at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said his sister, Alice Shure.

He had been a resident of New York City.

Evans was working as a salesman in the fashion business in the 1940s when he got the idea to give women's skirts a menswear look by putting a zipper in the front. He asked Joseph Picone, a tailor, to make the sample skirt. They soon were producing it for stores.

Evans and Picone went into business in 1949 and expanded their line to include classic women's sportswear under the Evan-Picone label. The clothing was sold in department stores nationwide.

By the time the company was sold to Revlon in 1962, it was one of the best known brand names in women's fashion. It later became part of the Jones Apparel Group, which includes a number of popular women's fashion labels such as Jones New York and Gloria Vanderbilt.

Evans next formed Evans Partnership, a commercial real estate company, with his brother-in-law, Michael Shure. Among other things, the company was known for developing office buildings and office parks.

In the early 1980s, Evans started producing movies. He was the executive producer of the romantic comedy "Tootsie" (1982), which starred Dustin Hoffman and received 10 Academy Award nominations. Jessica Lange won an Oscar as best supporting actress.

He also produced "Showgirls" (1995) and helped with "The Kid Stays in the Picture," a 2002 documentary about his brother, Robert, whose credits include "Chinatown" and "Urban Cowboy."

Charles Evans was married four times. His first three marriages ended in divorce.

He was a philanthropist who founded the educational and lobbying group Crusade for Fire Detection, after his ex-wife Frances and his daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth, died in a home fire in 1975. Evans lobbied to establish laws mandating smoke detectors.

At one time, he served as national director of the Alzheimer's Assn., after his father died of the disease in late 1960s.

In addition to his sister and brother, Evans is survived by his wife, Bonnie; a son, movie producer Charles Evans Jr.; a granddaughter; and three nephews.


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