Julia Phillips (April 7, 1944 – January 1, 2002) was an American film producer and author. She co-produced three of the most prominent films of the 1970s — The Sting, Taxi Driver, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind — and was the first female producer to win an Academy Award for Best Film.
In 1991, Phillips published an infamous tell-all memoir of her years as a Hollywood producer, entitled You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again, which became a bestseller.
Born Julia Miller in New York City, she received her B.A. in Political Science from Mount Holyoke College in 1965, where she met Michael Phillips, whom she married, and whom she would later divorce. She worked for a time editing articles for magazines, and moved from there into the film industry.
In 1973, The Sting won the Academy Award for Best Picture and made Phillips the first woman to win an Oscar as a producer (an award shared by Tony Bill and Phillips' then-husband Michael Phillips). In 1977, Taxi Driver, produced by the Phillipses, was nominated for Best Picture. Her third major film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was produced with Michael Phillips and associate producer/production manager Clark Paylow. One of the film's stars, François Truffaut, publicly criticized Phillips as incompetent, a charge she rejected, writing that she had essentially nursed Truffaut through his self-created nightmare of implied hearing loss, sickness and chaos during the production. Phillips was also a notorious drug user (cocaine especially), which she herself chronicled in detail in her memoirs. The side-effects of cocaine addiction caused her to be fired from Close Encounters of the Third Kind during post-production. She worked very little in Hollywood after that, basically disappearing from public notice until she published her memoirs.
In 1991 Phillips wrote the no-holds-barred autobiography You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again about her experiences in Hollywood. The book topped the New York Times bestseller list but its revelations about high-profile film personalities and Hollywood's drug/film production culture, casting couch mentality made her one of the most despised people in the film industry. In 1995, she followed up her story with a second book, Driving Under the Affluence, which is mostly about the impact her first book's reception had on her life. In 2000, she also helped Matt Drudge write his Drudge Manifesto.
Phillips died in West Hollywood, California, at the age of 57, from cancer on New Year's Day, 2002, and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
The Sting (1973)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips (Random House, 1991), ISBN 0-394-57574-1
1.^ *Phillips, Julia (1991). You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-57574-1. p 274 et seq.
2.^ *Morton, Ray (2007). Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Making of Steven Spielberg's Classic Film. New York: Applause Theater and Cinema Books. ISBN 978-1-55783-710-3. p 259
3.^ Matt Drudge and Julia Phillips (2000). "Drudge Manifesto, Chapter one online". Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-03-02.