Gray Frederickson, Oscar-Winning Producer on ‘Godfather’ Movies, ‘Apocalypse Now,’ Dies at 85
Gray Frederickson, who was part of the Oscar-winning production team for Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather Part II,” died Nov. 20 of prostate cancer in Oklahoma City, Okla. He was 85.
Frederickson had been called as “the Godfather of Oklahoma film” for his efforts to boost filmmaking in his home state.
“Gray is one of the most accomplished people to have ever come from our city,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt told The Oklahoman.
Frederickson left Oklahoma to attend the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, then started his career in Rome as producer of “Natika” in 1963. He joined Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as production manager, where he met Clint Eastwood, who would become a longtime friend.
He met producer Albert S. Ruddy on the Robert Redford film “Little Fauss and Big Halsy,” which led to him coming aboard “The Godfather” as associate producer.
Among the films he produced were Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III,” “One From the Heart” and “The Outsiders,” which shot in Oklahoma, Weird Al Yankovic’s “UHF,” “South of Heaven, West of Hell” and “Dream No Little Dream: The Life and Legacy of Robert S. Kerr.”
He moved back to Oklahoma in the 1990s, and later helped launch the digital cinema production program at Oklahoma City Community College. Gray also played a key role in getting Oklahoma’s film production incentive passed.
Most recently, Frederickson was working on “Sherwood Forest,” a documentary about Oklahoma and Texas roughnecks who shipped to England in 1943.
Coppola traveled to Oklahoma to induct his friend in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2018.
“Oscar is an award for Best Picture. Oklahoma Hall of Fame is an award for me, so that’s why this is the best,” Frederickson told the Oklahoman at the time. “It’s special because of Oklahoma. I’m Oklahoma. I mean, it’s like another appendage for me. It’s part of me; it’s who I am. And to be accepted by Oklahoma is really the pinnacle of everything for me.”
He is survived by his wife, Karen, and two children.
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