Fred Roos, Producer of ‘The Godfather Part II’ and ‘Megalopolis,’ Dies at 89

The casting director turned producer was a longtime collaborator of Francis Ford Coppola

Fred Roos, the longtime collaborator of Francis Ford Coppola and producer of several of the director’s films, including “The Godfather Part II” and the newly released “Megalopolis,” has died at the age of 89, his reps confirmed Tuesday.

A Los Angeles native and UCLA graduate, Roos spent much of his early career as a casting director, where his expertise shaped the course of Hollywood history. It was his unexpected friendship with a carpenter working at his house named Harrison Ford that led him to convince Coppola to cast him in the 1974 movie “The Conversation,” as well as in George Lucas’ 1973 film “American Graffiti,” a project that would lead Lucas and Ford to famously reunite for “Star Wars.”

It was also Roos who advised Lucas simply as a friend to cast Carrie Fisher instead of Amy Irving as Princess Leia in “Star Wars.” In an official capacity, he served as casting director in “The Godfather” and supported Coppola as he pushed for Al Pacino and James Caan to play Michael and Sonny Corleone against the objections of Robert Evans and other top execs at Paramount. He was also responsible for bringing John Cazale into the film as Fredo.

That casting work made Roos one of Coppola’s most trusted creative partners, and in 1974, the director named Roos as one of the producers for “The Godfather Part II.” This led to Roos receiving an Oscar alongside Coppola when the acclaimed sequel won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Roos would continue to work alongside Coppola for the next fifty years, as well as alongside his wife, Eleanor, and his daughter, Sofia. This partnership continued right up to his death, as he was a producer on Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last week.

“Fred Roos was determined to never retire from the film business and to go with his boots on,” read a statement from the producer’s reps. “He got his wish.”

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