Scott Rudin

Who: The prolific movie producer is responsible for such hits as The First Wives Club, The Truman Show, School of Rock, The Hours, No Country for Old Men, and The Social Network. He may also be the most monstrous boss in the city.

Backstory: Raised in the town of Baldwin on Long Island, Rudin started his career in the entertainment biz during his teen years, apprenticing under TV producer Edgar Scherick and Broadway producer Kermit Bloomgarden before he'd even graduated from high school. His instruction in the fine art of debasement came at a young age: Bloomgarden required Rudin to tend to repairs of his prosthetic leg, while Scherick had a reputation for throwing things at his young charge. Young Scott turned down a scholarship to Brown and left home at 18 (he only saw his parents on two occasions over the next decade) before starting his own Broadway casting agency, and then decamping to LA at 21.

Rudin eventually joined the production department at Fox, where he found a mentor in another gay Jew with a nasty temper: Fox chairman Barry Diller, who elevated the young exec to the post of president of production when he was just 29. A year later, Rudin headed off to started his own production company, Scott Rudin Productions. During the '90s he racked up hits like Sister Act, Philadelphia, The Firm, Clueless, The First Wives Club, In & Out, and The Truman Show; his successes in the '00s have included Zoolander, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Hours, School of Rock, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Doubt. Inevitably, he's had his share of turkeys over the years, too: His 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives, for example, proved one of the most critically reviled films of the year, not to mention a money-eater. There's been plenty of controversy along the way, too. In 2008, Rudin pulled his name off The Reader after a dispute with co-producer Harvey Weinstein.

Of note: For two decades now, Rudin has occupied a somewhat unique place in the moviemaking business, financing movies that often straddle the Hollywood/indie divide, a position that has long made him an ideal producing partner for studios seeking to both stuff their coffers and win awards. After a close partnership with Paramount that lasted more than a decade, Rudin ditched the studio in 2005 following the departure of his longtime pal Sherry Lansing and the arrival of Brad Gray; he later signed a cushy deal with Disney, which was then grappling with the departure of Miramax founders Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. Even though he's attached to Disney these days, Rudin has had a hand in a handful of flicks for other studios, including Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding, and No Country for Old Men, which earned Rudin an Oscar in 2008. Most recently, Rudin produced The Social Network, the movie that chronicles the founding of Facebook, for Sony.

On the side: Rudin reentered the Broadway production fray in the mid-'90s; though still more prolific on the screen than the stage, he's had a hand in over two dozen theatrical productions over the past decade, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Closer (the film version of which he also produced), John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, and Terrence McNally's Deuce.

Drama: Widely cited as one of the most inhumane bosses in town—Rudin is said to have served as the inspiration for the quintessential nightmare boss in Swimming with Sharks—the full-figured producer is said to burn through as many as 50 assistants a year. How horrific is it? Even notoriously abusive employer Harvey Weinstein once said that Rudin's assistants are so battered they begin to resemble "boat people."

During his legendary temper tantrums, Rudin has been known to throw whatever is in front of him (savvier assistants are said to remove heavy objects from his desk) and he's fired staffers for such grievous offenses as delivering the wrong breakfast muffin or mispronouncing a name. Fortunately, the torture is divided among a handful of Hollywood aspirants: A total of five full-time assistants work for him, including one who starts before dawn and another who remains on-call all weekend.

Personal: Rudin and his boyfriend, theater publicist John Barlow, live in at the fabled San Remo apartment building on the Upper West Side and spend weekends at a home in Quogue.

No joke: Known for having a phone permanently attached to his ear-Rudin "rolls" more than 500 calls a day-the phone in his office is programmed with specific commands so he need only touch a single button to get precisely what he wants. One button was once programmed with the command "String cheese NOW!"



Vital Stats


Full Name: Scott Rudin
Date of Birth: 07/14/1958
Place of Birth: New York, NY
Residence(s): New York, NY (Upper West Side); Quogue, NY
Filed Under: Film, Theater

[Photo via Getty]