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David Ladd's professional career in Hollywood spans more than 40 years, beginning when he was a young boy performing in several films with his father, the legendary leading man Alan Ladd. In the years since his first role, he has gone on to become a teenage film star, a senior production executive at MGM, and the producer of several studio films.
David was one of the background prairie boys in Shane (1953), one of his father's biggest hits. But his real professional career in Hollywood began in 1957 with a supporting role in a film starring his father titled The Big Land. As a result of that film's success, Samuel Goldwyn Jr offered him a role as a mute in the 1958 movie The Proud Rebel, once again playing opposite his father and co-starring Olivia de Havilland. For this role, Ladd won a Golden Globe award as the "Best Newcomer of 1958" as well as a special award for "Best Juvenile Actor", and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He was also included in Film Daily's Filmdom's Famous Five critic's award.
Ladd followed this success with a series of films including The Sad Horse (1959), A Dog of Flanders (1960), Raymie (1960) and Misty (1961), as well as appearing in numerous television shows including Bonanza, Zane Grey Theatre, and Shirley Temple's Story Book Theatre (as Tom Sawyer). Ladd was again included in Film Daily's Filmdom's Famous Five in 1961 for A Dog of Flanders. Ladd's other feature film credits include RPM (1970), The Day of the Locust (1975), The Treasure of Jamaica Reef (1975), Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1977) and The Wild Geese (1978).
Ladd attended Harvard School in Los Angeles and, following the death of his father in 1964, went on to graduate from the University of Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Adminsitration while also fulfilling his military obligations in the Air Force Reserves.
In 1972, Ladd met actress Cheryl Stoppelmoor (who would become known as Cheryl Ladd upon the couple's marriage in 1973) with whom he later had a daughter, Jordan in 1975. In 1977, Cheryl became a star, replacing Farrah Fawcett in the television series Charlie's Angels, and David, having always been interested in the behind-the-scenes of the industry, began to turn his attention toward producing. His first productions were for ABC and included specials and movies of the week, most notably When She Was Bad (1979) starring Cheryl and Robert Urich.
David and Cheryl Ladd divorced in 1980. In 1982, Ladd married actress Dey Young (the younger sister of actress Leigh Taylor-Young), with whom he has another daughter, Shane Ladd.
He first began working in production for ABC Television, producing movies and variety specials. He then moved to Columbia as a creative executive, before partnering with renowned producer John Veitch. Mr. Ladd's first solo producing credit on a motion picture was on the Wes Craven thriller, The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988).
Under his production banner, David Ladd Films, Mr. Ladd produced MGM's A Guy Thing (2003), directed by Chris Koch and starring Jason Lee and Julia Stiles, and Hart's War (2002), the critically acclaimed World War II courtroom drama starring Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard, and directed by Gregory Hoblit. He has prepared a variety of motion pictures expected to start production in the near future, including Men and Other Mammals, Godspeed Lawrence Mann, which he will produce with Richard Loncraine attached to direct, and I Want Kandee, a teen comedy in the vein of the romantic comedy classic Roman Holiday.
Previously Mr. Ladd served as Executive Vice President of production for MGM. During his nine years at the studio, he was instrumental in its resurgence, having supervised the development and production of numerous films, including the smash hit Get Shorty, starring 'John Travolta', Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito; the courtroom thriller Red Corner, starring Richard Gere; the acclaimed crime drama Mulholland Falls, The Cutting Edge, and Untamed Heart, among others.