Fayed Well-Known in L.A. as Producer and Partyer
Dodi Fayed, the multimillionaire playboy who died in the crash that also killed Princess Diana, was no stranger to Hollywood. He was known not only for the successful movies he produced but for the lavish parties he hosted at his rented Beverly Hills mansions.
“He had some very close working relationships and some very close friendships” in the movie industry, said Pat Kingsley, president of PMK Public Relations, which represented Fayed’s movie interests in the United States. “He was every bit the gentleman that you would want to be involved with in business. He was kind and quite generous.”
And, Kingsley said, he was a respected producer.
“As a producer he had a good reputation,” Kingsley said. “Any time someone in the prime of their life is taken away it is a great loss. Whatever he wanted to do, the world was open to him.”
Fayed financed or co-financed six films over the past 17 years--including “Chariots of Fire” in 1981, which won the Oscar for best picture. In 1991, he was the executive producer of “Hook,” which starred Dustin Hoffman, and in 1995 he produced the Demi Moore film “The Scarlet Letter.” He also helped finance “Breaking Glass” (1980), “F/X” (1986), “FX2 --The Deadly Art of Illusion” (1991) and was reportedly set to work on a film with “Conspiracy Theory” producer and director Richard Donner.
According to a recent article in the Mail on Sunday, a London newspaper, Fayed, 41, became interested in movies after being taken on a tour of a James Bond set by friend Cubby Broccoli in 1979.
He reportedly launched his production company, Allied Stars, that year and, after producing the cult movie “Breaking Glass,” moved on to “Chariots of Fire.”
The unexpected success of that film gave him an entree into Hollywood. Arriving in Beverly Hills for the Oscar ceremony in 1982, he was so taken by the West Coast lifestyle that he moved his company to Los Angeles, according to the Mail.
Single and charming, he seemed to bask in the glow of the celebrity crowd. He reportedly leased a series of mansions in Beverly Hills for prices ranging from $20,000 a month to $35,000 a month.
A typical star-studded Hollywood soiree included guests such as Brooke Shields, Robert Downey Jr. and Farrah Fawcett. At one party, while some guests bowled in Fayed’s private bowling alley, others watched first-run movies in a private screening room.
But not everything went smoothly. Fayed was sued repeatedly for allegedly failing to pay his rent and skipping out on some of his movie commitments.
In 1995, according to the Mail, he was sued for $1 million for allegedly selling distribution rights to major films that he did not own. In a case that was settled out of court, a movie producer claimed that Fayed failed to deliver two promised films.
And the lawsuits didn’t always have to do with business: Recently, a model who said that she was jilted by Fayed filed a breach of contract suit against the millionaire. Attorney Gloria Allred--representing Kelly Fisher--said at an Aug. 14 news conference in Los Angeles that Fayed persuaded Fisher to abandon a successful modeling career, then figuratively left her at the marriage altar when he took up with Diana. Fisher also said that Fayed owed her $440,000.
Fayed’s family dismissed Fisher’s claim, saying: “We are content to leave it to the good sense of the British and American people to judge this development for what it is.”
Fisher’s allegations, however, furthered Fayed’s reputation as a ladies’ man. According to a recent article in People magazine, entries in his little black book included Tawny Kitaen, Tina Sinatra, Joanne Whalley and Shields.
Fayed was said to be haunted by a difficult relationship with his father, self-made billionaire Mohammed Fayed, who owns London’s famed Harrods department store and is part owner of London’s Hotel Ritz. The difficult relationship continued until the younger Fayed’s death.
Times staff writer Elaine Dutka contributed to this story.