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Francis Ford Coppola pays tribute to ‘friend and collaborator’ Fred Roos

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Executive producer Fred Roos and director Sofia Coppola (Steve Cohn/Invision for Focus Features/AP)

The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola has paid tribute to his “lifelong friend and collaborator” Fred Roos, who has died aged 89.

Oscar-winning producer Roos’s death at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday, a few days before his 90th birthday, was confirmed by a representative to the AP news agency on Tuesday.

Roos produced The Godfather Part II, which earned him, Coppola and Gray Frederickson an Academy Award for best film, after putting forward Al Pacino to be cast in The Godfather.

He returned to work with Coppola over the next decades on films including on The Godfather Part III, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now and most recently the American director’s latest project Megalopolis, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday.

In an Instagram post, 85-year-old Coppola wrote: “Fred Roos possessed a casting instinct that was near infallible: so beautifully demonstrated in American Graffiti and The Outsiders.

“He was a great lifelong friend and collaborator with above all a true love for movies.

“I remember once telling him that we needed to find more women directors but that we should look for them among kids playing with 8mm movie-making equipment rather than dolls — and he came up with kids named Martha Coolidge and Susan Seidelman.

“He was a unique talent and will certainly be missed.”

Roos produced Coppola’s wife Eleanor Coppola’s documentary Hearts Of Darkness, and also worked with the film-maker’s daughter, Lost In Translation director Sofia Coppola. Eleanor died in April aged 87.

Shia LaBeouf, who is part of the ensemble cast for time travel epic Megalopolis, wrote on X: “The nights flame with fire. As you ride life straight to perfect laughter, Fred Roos – I loved you a lot.”

Roos also assembled the casts for George Lucas-directed American Graffiti, produced by Coppola, which starred Harrison Ford before he went on to feature in Star Wars films and Richard Dreyfuss prior to Jaws.

He also produced coming of age story The Outsiders, directed by Coppola, which helped launch to prominence a cast of young actors including Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe.

Lowe wrote on Instagram: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Fred Roos. Every movie lover should know his name.

“He was a casting genius and responsible for the careers of: Harrison Ford, Al Pacino, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Cruise and the rest of The Outsiders cast (including me), and many others. Thank you, Fred and god speed.”

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