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Robert E. Relyea, Former President of Production at MGM/UA, Dies at 82

During his 40-year career, the producer-director also partnered with Steve McQueen on several movies, including "The Magnificent Seven."

Robert E. Relyea, a producer-director who worked on such movies as The Magnificent Seven and West Side Story before becoming president of production at MGM/UA in the late 1990s, has died of natural causes. He was 82.

There are conflicting reports about when he died: A spokeswoman for Relyea told the Associated Press that he died March 5 in Los Angeles, although family members told The Los Angeles Times  that he died March 12 at a Thousand Oaks hospital, which is just north of L.A.

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Born May 3, 1930, in Santa Monica, Relyea graduated from UCLA and got his start in the entertainment industry as an MGM crewmember in 1955. He first turned to directing, serving as a second assistant director on films like Oklahoma!, and later added producing to his resume.

He struck up a partnership with Steve McQueen, collaborating on such films as Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Bullitt and The Reivers. Their partnership ended with the box-office flop Le Mans in 1971.

Over his 40-year career, he also worked with such actors as John Wayne (The Alamo) and Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock).

He later joined Paramount as senior vp motion picture management and then became executive vp production at MGM/UA in 1993. He worked his way up the ranks to become president of production from 1997-2001, where he supervised the James Bond films Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, as well as Legally Blonde and Get Shorty, among others.

Relyea released his autobiography, Not So Quiet on the Set: My Life in Movies During Hollywood's Macho Era, written with his son Craig, in 2008.

In addition to Craig, other survivors include his wife, Dorothy; children Steven, Lane, Brian and Kathleen; two stepchildren; and grandchildren.