Al Ruddy, ‘Godfather’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby’ Producer, Dies at 94

Al Ruddy, two-time Oscar winner for producing “The Godfather” and “Million Dollar Baby,” died May 25 at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Ruddy was also co-creator of “Hogan’s Heroes” and of “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He was 94.

After the success of sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” Ruddy went on to produce “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” and “Making It” before coming on to Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather,” which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

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Al Pacino said in a statement, “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.”

After “The Godfather,” he produced his own story treatment for “The Longest Yard.”

Ruddy went on to produce notable films including “The Cannonball Run.” Other features he produced included “Matilda,” “Coonskin, “Farewell to the King,” “Heaven’s Prisoners” and “Lassiter.”

He worked with Clint Eastwood, producing the Oscar-winning 2004 film “Million Dollar Baby” and later his 2021 movie “Cry Macho.”

Eastwood also remembered Ruddy in a statement, saying, “He was a great friend of mine and I will deeply miss him.”

“Million Dollar Baby” star Hilary Swank said, “It was the best of times working with [Al]. He will always be a legend in my and everyone’s book.”

Ruddy was played by Miles Teller in the limited series “The Offer,” which Ruddy co-produced with his daughter Alexandra. “It was an honor and a privilege to portray Al in ‘The Offer.’ Al lived a life most could only dream of and all would envy,” said Teller.

“The Offer” director Dexter Fletcher said, “Al was truly one of the great Hollywood mavericks. 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.”

Born in Montreal, Ruddy was raised in New York City and after attending USC School of Architecture, he worked as a programmer at Rand Corporation.

During his career, he was honored with two French César Awards, two Italian David di Donatello Awards, and the USC Scripter Award. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Shanghai Film Festival and was president of the jury at the Zurich Film Festival in 2007.

According to a family statement, Ruddy “is remembered for his easy-going nature, his undeniable comedic sense, and his undying interest in people and the stories we tell. Amongst his last words: ‘The game is over, but we won the game.'”

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

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