#Throwback Thursday: Rob Chartoff the producer


By now you are all probably well aware of the Union presence in the new Star Wars Film.

Ben Schwartz ’03 lent his voice to the loving robot BB-8 and Alan Horn ’64 oversaw the production as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

There was another box office knockout, Creed. The film is an extension of the Rocky movie series.

It has grossed over a $100 million and has an Oscar nomination, along with 29 different awards and almost 50 nominations.

Creed is not the first successful film in the franchise. All of the Rocky Balboa movies have grossed over $1.5 billion and won countless awards.

These fun facts of Rocky may be well-known, but what you may not know is that a Union alum was a producer for all seven films.

Robert Chartoff was born on August 26, 1933 in the Bronx. Show business was in Chartoff’s blood.

He grew up with a professional musician for a father. Chartoff found himself at Union in the fall of 1951.

During the summers, he worked at a resort in the Catskills with his uncle, Charlie Rapp, who was a talent agent.

After graduation in 1955, Chartoff attended Columbia School of Law. Chartoff quickly became disenchanted with law and wanted to pursue a life in entertainment.

He worked underneath his Uncle Rapp for a while, helping find and sign talent. Rapp did not believe being an agent was meant for Chartoff.

Believing his days were numbered, Rapp gave him a young comedian by the name of Jackie Mason.

Mason entered national spotlight after Chartoff was able to get him on the Tonight Show with Jack Parr. Comedy Central has ranked Mason the 63rd greatest comedian of all time.

After his stint with Mason, Chartoff teamed up with another young agent, Irwin Winkler. This was the beginning of a historic partnership.

Their first film was Double Trouble and over the years partnered up on many more films. The two had a smash hit in 1976 with the famed film Rocky.

When Sylvester Stallone first brought up his script, many people were skeptical. An unknown screen writer wanted to be the lead role in his own movie and could only use a small budget.

Chartoff saw something in the script, and was quick to back Stallone. He helped land Stallone the funds to create the movie. Chartoff described the production of Rocky as one of the most exciting times in his life.

When the first film was done, he bought Stallone a nice ink pen and leather-bound notebook and told the writer to get to work on a sequel.

Stallone stated that Chartoff changed his life forever. He won an Oscar for the Best Motion Picture and shared it with his partner, Winkler. From the first one, Chartoff helped produce box office hit after hit.

Chartoff also produced another boxing film, Raging Bull. The film starred Robert De Niro and won two Oscars.

Ironically, the man who produced the most well-known boxing movies in film history was not even a fan of the sport.

Chartoff passed away last year in Santa Monica, Cal, after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.



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