On a pissy night in Munich earlier this week, I was checking in with my oldest daughter, who lives in Los Angeles, about the fires that have been raging through the hills down from Mulholland Drive, when I got a text from a New York Times reporter asking me if I had heard anything about the death of Robert Evans. I figured that the reporter had contacted me because of my longtime friendship with Bob.

He could have called any number of people who knew Bob better than I did, including Ali MacGraw, his glorious ex-wife; Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, his fellow travelers through the libertine 1970s; and Peter Bart, who had been Bob’s No. 2 back when he was production chief at Paramount Pictures during a creative époque that resulted in films like The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Rosemary’s Baby, among other classics. Then there is the person who may have known Bob best, Alan Selka, his longtime (and, at times, long-suffering) butler. Still, I knew Bob pretty well. And the word of his death filled me with an enormous sense of loss.