WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) Julia Phillips, the first female producer to win a best picture Oscar, was one of Hollywood’s most influential women until frustration over back-lot back stabbing led her to write a scathing memoir.
When she died Tuesday at 57 after a five-month battle with breast cancer, she was as famous for her tales of show-biz sex, debauchery and cruelty as for the movies she produced.
The last weeks of her life, however, were highlighted with calls from many industry friends who wanted to thank her for the influence she had on them, her family said.
Mrs. Phillips made movie history when she shared the 1973 Academy Award for best picture as co-producer of “The Sting,” starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
She co-produced Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” in 1976, which won a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” the following year.
Mrs. Phillips’ 1991 book, “You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again,” turned a merciless eye on the lives of celebrities, studio bosses and agents and detailed the author’s drug abuse and career machinations.
Mrs. Phillips described powerful executive David Geffen as having a bloated face that made him look like a “middle-aged baby” and actress Goldie Hawn as having dirty hair and body odor.
In recent years, she co-wrote “Drudge Manifesto” with Internet reporter Matt Drudge.
As her success grew in the 1970s, Mrs. Phillips acknowledged years later, she became caught up in Hollywood’s fast life of indiscriminate sex and drug abuse.
While many entertainment figures dismissed the book as poison-pen sensationalism, Mrs. Phillips argued that she was exposing crass Hollywood figures who betrayed creativity with their greed and outrageous egos.