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Fred Roos, Casting Director and Coppola Collaborator, Dies at 89

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Fred Roos, a casting director and producer who championed the early careers of A-list actors like Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Carrie Fisher, and whose lengthy collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola and his household, stretching from “The Godfather” (1972) to this 12 months’s “Megalopolis,” earned him an Oscar and an Emmy, died on Saturday at his residence in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 89.

His loss of life was introduced by his household in a press release.

Many in Hollywood mentioned that Mr. Roos had the perfect eye for expertise within the enterprise. He championed the younger, comparatively unknown Mr. Pacino for the position of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” when the studio executives at Paramount needed a better-known actor, like Robert Redford or Warren Beatty. And when his buddy George Lucas was leaning towards Amy Irving for the position of Princess Leia in “Star Wars” (1977), Mr. Roos advised he forged Carrie Fisher as a substitute.

Mr. Lucas listened — in any case, it was Mr. Roos who had assembled the forged for his breakout movie, “American Graffiti,” in 1973, together with then-unknown actors like Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss and Mackenzie Phillips. He later did one thing comparable for Mr. Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of the novel “The Outsiders,” bringing collectively the longer term stars Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

Mr. Roos was notably taken with Mr. Ford, whom he met whereas the younger actor was doing carpentry work on his residence. After getting him the uncredited position of Bob Falfa, a wisecracking drag racer, in “American Graffiti,” he forged him in small roles in Mr. Coppola’s movies “The Dialog” (1974) and “Apocalypse Now” (1979).

However when he advised Mr. Ford for the position of Han Solo in “Star Wars,” Mr. Lucas balked. He mentioned he solely needed to forged actors he had by no means labored with.

“I used to be, from the get-go, pushing him for Han Solo,” Mr. Roos informed Leisure Weekly in 2016. “‘George, you noticed him proper underneath your nostril in “American Graffiti,”’ and eventually it clicked.”

As his profession progressed, Mr. Roos moved away from casting and towards producing, virtually solely for Mr. Coppola and his household, together with his spouse, Eleanor, and his daughter, Sofia. (Eleanor Coppola died in April.) He was old fashioned, extra in assembling the elements for a movie — the crew, the situation, the tools — than in its financing.

On set, he performed the position of an all-purpose fixer, not all that completely different from the character Tom Hagen, performed by Robert Duvall, within the first two “Godfather” movies, to whom he was usually in contrast.

“My job was to calm issues down throughout capturing,” he informed Duane Byrge for his e-book “Behind the Scenes With Hollywood Producers: Interviews With 14 Prime Movie Creators” (2016). “If somebody was ranting or raving at some point about one thing, I might deal with it.”

Frederick Ried Roos was born on Could 22, 1934, in Santa Monica, Calif., to Victor Roos, a doctor, and Florence (Stout) Roos.

He attended Hollywood Excessive College and studied movie on the College of California, Los Angeles, graduating in 1956. In faculty he stood out among the many aspiring actors and administrators for his purpose of working behind the scenes, as a producer.

“I knew methods to put issues collectively,” he informed Mr. Byrge. “I knew methods to acknowledge expertise.”

He served two excursions with the Military in South Korea, the place he befriended Garry Marshall, who would go on to an extended profession as a author and director. He later labored with Mr. Marshall on the casting for the Seventies sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” — he pushed for Cindy Williams, who had been in “American Graffiti,” to play Shirley.

Mr. Roos’s first job after leaving the army was with the expertise company MCA, the place he did odd however fascinating jobs, like driving Marilyn Monroe round city. He later joined a casting firm, the place within the Nineteen Sixties he labored on TV exhibits like “That Lady” and “The Andy Griffith Present.”

He additionally started casting movies, usually low-budget affairs with unknown actors. He had an choice for a script known as “Flight to Fury,” and with $800,000 from his boss, he employed a younger man named Jack Nicholson to play the lead and his buddy Monte Hellman to direct. The movie, shot principally within the Philippines and launched in 1964, was Mr. Roos’s first display credit score.

He developed a repute as calm, quiet and onerous to get to know. However, as soon as one knew him, he was loyal to a fault.

“It’s tough to make Fred Roos chortle,” the journalist Eve Babitz, whom he dated, wrote in a 1975 profile of Mr. Coppola in Coast journal. “However when you’re on his A-list, you’re allowed to as soon as, generally twice a day.”

His relationship with Mr. Coppola started when he labored because the casting director for the primary “Godfather” movie. He grew to become a producer of the second, and of “The Dialog” — each of which had been nominated for greatest image in 1975. (The Godfather Half II” gained.)

Mr. Roos reprised his position for “Apocalypse Now,” a free adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Coronary heart of Darkness” set through the Vietnam Struggle. Utilizing his connections within the Philippines from making “Flight to Fury,” he organized for the movie to be shot there — Vietnam was out of the query on the time.

And he stored issues comparatively calm through the famously tumultuous filming course of: When the movie’s star, Martin Sheen, had a coronary heart assault whereas jogging, Mr. Roos rearranged the capturing schedule to offer him time to recuperate.

His work with the Coppolas was a household affair. When Sofia Coppola was younger, he would babysit so her mother and father may get an evening out. Later, he was a producer on all of her movies, together with her newest, “Priscilla” (2023). He additionally produced “Hearts of Darkness” (1991), Eleanor Coppola’s documentary on the making of “Apocalypse Now,” for which the 2 of them gained an Emmy in 1992.

Mr. Roos additionally labored often with different administrators, together with Carroll Ballard on “The Black Stallion” (1979) and Barbet Schroeder on “Barfly” (1987).

He’s survived by his spouse, Nancy Drew, and his son, Alexander Roos, who was additionally his manufacturing associate in later years.

Mr. Roos’s remaining credit score, as each a casting director and a producer, was for Mr. Coppola’s newest movie, “Megalopolis,” which was first screened this month on the Cannes Movie Competition.

“Fred Roos was decided to by no means retire from the movie enterprise and to go along with his boots on,” his household mentioned in its assertion. “He bought his want.”

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