Monday, June 17, 2024

RIP “The Godfather” Producer Albert Ruddy, 94, Won 2 Oscars, Made His Name as Hollywood Risk Taker, Successful Outlier


The great film producer, Albert S. Ruddy, has died at age 94.

Ruddy won two Oscars decades apart. The second was for Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005.

But the first one was for “The Godfather” in 1973. Considered the best contemporary film of all time (aside from “Citizen Kane”), “The Godfather” has resonated with audiences for 50 years.

As a testament to the power of that film, Ruddy also produced the excellent TV miniseries, “The Offer,” in 2022, with Miles Teller playing him. It tells the story of the producer overcame many obstacles to get the landmark film made.

Ruddy’s other credits include the two “Cannonball Run” movies — not critical hits, but very big at the box office, as well as “The Longest Yard,” and the TV mini series, “How the West Was Won.”

Ruddy’s death, after a long illness, comes at a poignant moment. Fred Roos, who also worked for him on “The Godfather,” as casting director, died May 18th at age 89. “The Godfather” director, Francis Ford Coppola, is in the middle of trying to sell his new controversial film, “Megalopolis” after a bad run in Cannes.

There’s an excellent full obit for Al in the Hollywood Reporter. I was lucky to meet him a few times thanks to his wife, Wanda McDaniel, who has always been his staunch supporter and perfect mate. Condolences to Wanda and the whole family. We can never thank Al Ruddy enough for his contributions to Hollywood.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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