In 1964, he accepted the Oscar for "Best Picture" on behalf of Tony Richardson, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony
Was instrumental in inking the United Artists deal with James Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli, thus launching the most successful and arguably most influential franchise in cinema history. Picker had tried to option the film rights to Ian Fleming's super-spy for UA previously, but to no avail. He claims he literally fell out of his (leaning back) chair when he realized Broccoli and Saltzman -- who owned the rights to all but one of the Bond novels -- were pitching 007 to the studio. A deal was finalized the very same day.
Personally extended Sean Connery an unprecedented offer to return as James Bond for "Diamonds Are Forever." Connery donated his entire salary (well over $1 million) to the Scottish International Educational Trust, which he co-founded. United Artists also agreed to finance two other films of Connery's choosing.
Personal Quotes (7)
"My chair hit the floor and I said in no uncertain terms that we would make a deal and that the KEY to the film[s] was spending enough money to maintain Fleming's tone in the sensuality, style, action and wit of the books." (on his reaction to being pitched the James Bond series by producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman)
They never left that office until we had a deal. (About Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli meeting him to make a deal for production of Dr.No.)
[on 'Dr. No'] It's hard to look back today and say, 'What do you mean they didn't want to do the first James Bond?' But Columbia passed it, and I got it. There's no accounting foe how those decisions are made. It's just water under the bridge.
The one thing about the arts is everybody comes away with their own opinions. Some people look at modern art and say it's just junk. Other people look at it and think it's fabulous and interesting.
'The Fugitive Kind' is a terrible picture. It just doesn't work. Other people may think it's a classic of some kind. They're entitled to think that.
[comparing the films of the '60s and '70s with those in 2013] There was certainly great freedom, but I just saw two movies in the last few days that are fantastic. You go see 'Gravity'and you go see 'Nebraska', and you see two fabulous movies that couldn't be further apart in the economic risks involved and the potential gains involved. And yet both got made.
[on his film career] Some of the people I dealt with I neither respected nor liked. It's the nature of the beast, but in the world of the arts it's probably even more - how should I say? - colorful.