The iconic producer on allure, glamour, and his ever-fetching friend Jack Nicholson.
Written By Lesley M.M. Blume
Over the past few weeks, I have been visiting with legendary film producer Robert Evans at his famous (or infamous, depending on your P.O.V.) Beverly Hills home. It may surprise you that our chats always take place in his boudoir and bedroom. This sounds far more scandalous than it really is—after all, Evans always uses his bed as an office. Everyone from humorless execs to aspiring starlets has perched on the edge of his duvet, scripts and contracts in hand. Industry luminaries like Sharon Stone and Warren Beatty (and non-industry ones like Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash) are just a few of the insiders who have made such bedside pilgrimages.
Last week, in the first of a three-part series for The Violet Files with the ever-quotable Mr. Evans, he put forth his reflections on actresses, Oscars, and his favorite red carpet moment. Today, his thoughts turn to allure and glamour—qualities easy to spot but nearly impossible to define, though Evans comes close. (For the record, he insists that neither has anything to do with physical flawlessness.)

So, what is glamour, according to the producer? Read on for Evans’ shortlist—and check back next week for more life lessons from the master himself.

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The preeminent producer chats with The Violet Files contributor Lesley M.M. Blume.
  • Faye Dunaway, Sue Mengers, and Robert Evans at the Golden Globes, 1975 / photography by Frank Edwards / Fotos International / Getty Images
LESLEY M.M. BLUME: Last time, we talked about the importance of originality, and how it gives certain actors and actresses star power. You described originality as encountering something you haven’t seen before.
ROBERT EVANS: That’s right. You might not be able to put your finger on what it is that’s setting the person apart.
L.B.: How important is originality?
R.E.: It’s everything. But it’s rare.
L.B.: People have a hard time defining the word “glamour.” Even Marlene Dietrich—who embodied glamour during her heyday—could not articulate what makes someone glamorous.
R.E.: It’s all related—originality, glamour. “No price too high does an original bear.” That’s glamour to me.
L.B.: So for you, originality and glamour are necessarily intertwined?
R.E.: Yes. Along with mystery and daring. And imperfection too. Perfection can be very boring.
  • Lana Turner, 1952 / Photography by Ruth Orkin / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
L.B.: I’ve always been a fan of unconventional beauties, like Anjelica Huston and Diana Vreeland. It seems like women are less encouraged to be uniquely beautiful these days.
R.E.: Well, first of all, women today wear way too much makeup. They’d be far more glamorous if they took some of it off. And the way it’s put on makes them all look the same. I look at pictures of old Hollywood stars, and they all looked like themselves. If you saw them at their houses, you’d recognize them. Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly—that’s glamour to me.
L.B.: Is “glamour” one of those words that gets overused, like “legend” or “icon”?
R.E.: I don’t think so, although it seems to mean something different today. I personally have always used the word “fetching” to describe someone who has something more. To me, being “fetching” is the most attractive and powerful quality a woman can have. It doesn’t have anything to do with cosmetic beauty.
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L.B.: Please give me an example of someone who might not be considered classically beautiful but was fetching.
R.E.: That’s easy. [Agent] Sue Mengers. She was heavyset, you know, and she had a sharp tongue. Vulgar language, but the funniest woman I ever knew. And she was damn fetching.
L.B.: Can a man be fetching?
R.E.: Sure. Jack Nicholson was fetching. I could see that in thirty seconds.
L.B.: Does the great Robert Evans consider himself fetching?
R.E.: [Laughs.] No. I’m only glamorous.


Name: Lesley M.M. Blume 
Occupation: Journalist, author, editor, and biographer
Years in the industry: 30+ (she was a newsroom brat)
Known for: It Happened Here, the Let’s Bring Back series, and the forthcoming Everyone Behaves Badly
Where to find her: Los Angeles and NYC
Beauty essential: Oversize Mason Pearson brush, Chanel red lipstick, and Tom Ford cat-eye sunglasses for days when no amount of undereye concealer is enough
Mentions in The Violet Files: Mary Tyler MooreAnjelica & Jack


In case you missed it: an exclusive look at Lesley M.M. Blume’s first bedside chat with Robert Evans.