Al Ruddy dies: The Oscar-winning producer of The Godfather, Million Dollar Baby, and The Cannonball Run was 94

Celebrities and friends gather to remember the legendary Hollywood producer of THe Godfather, Al Ruddy, who died at 94.

Hollywood is reeling from the death of Al S. Ruddy, the Oscar-winning producer of such iconic films as The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. Ruddy passed on May 25 at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center after a brief illness. The multi-hyphenate filmmaker was 94.

“Al was truly one of the great Hollywood mavericks,” The Offer director Dexter Fletcher said in a statement. “One of the last Mohicans who created great movies which still influence and inspire to this day. From humble beginnings to the highest of Hollywood accolades. His was an incredible journey. Achieved through the sheer power of his determination, strong will, irrepressible energy and charm and a rarely matched love for the art of film.”

Fletcher’s Paramount+ miniseries The Offer chronicles the making of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. It stars Miles Teller as Ruddy and immortalizes the visionary producer’s meticulous work on the 1972 classic.

For his feature debut, Ruddy teamed up with Brian G. Hutton for the 1965 romance drama Wild Seed, starring Michael Parks, Celia Milius, and Ross Elliott, about a 17-year-old girl who runs away from her East Coast home to meet her biological father in Los Angeles. After getting his feet wet, Ruddy produced Little Fauss and Big Halsy, Making It, and the TV movie Thunderguys. In 1972, he produced his most iconic feature, The Godfather. The mind-blowing success of Coppla’s crime drama spotlighted Ruddy’s name throughout the industry. As the only producer on the film, Ruddy snagged the Oscar for Best Picture at the 45th Academy Awards.

Clint Eastwood, who presented Ruddy with his first Oscar and later partnered with him for the Oscar-winning drama Million Dollar Baby, commented on Ruddy’s death by saying, “He was a great friend of mine and I will deeply miss him.” Added Swank: “It was the best of times working with [Al]. He will always be a legend in my and everyone’s book.”

Al Pacino also offered condolences, saying, “Al Ruddy was absolutely beautiful to me the whole time on The Godfather; even when they didn’t want me, he wanted me. He gave me the gift of encouragement when I needed it most, and I’ll never forget it.”

In addition to his producer role, Ruddy was a gifted writer, with such films as The Longest Yard (1974), Matilda (1978), Cannonball Run II (1984), and Bad Girls (1994) to his name. He also wrote 196 episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris, and 64 episodes of the rebooted series Walker, starring Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker.

Albert S. Ruddy is survived by his wife Wanda, son John, daughter Alexandra, and son-in-law screenwriter Abdullah Saeed.

We at JoBlo extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Ruddy’s family, friends, and fans. His contributions to the art of film are nothing short of legendary, and we look forward to rewatching his cinematic gifts for generations to come.

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