Gray Frederickson, who was part of the Oscar-winning production team for Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather Part II,” died of prostate cancer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on November 20 at age 85.
Frederickson has been dubbed as “the Godfather of Oklahoma movie” for his efforts to boost filmmaking in his home state.
“Gray is one of the most talented people to ever come out of our city,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt The Oklahoman.
Frederickson left Oklahoma to attend the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, then began his career in Rome as a producer on “Natika” in 1963. He joined Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as a production manager, where he met Clint Eastwood , who would become an old friend.
He met producer Albert S. Ruddy in the Robert Redford movie “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” which led to him coming on board “The Godfather” as an associate producer.
Among the films he produced were Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III”, “One From the Heart” and “The Outsiders”, 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 film production program at Oklahoma City Community College. Gray also played a key role in getting the impetus for motion picture production in Oklahoma.
Most recently, Frederickson worked on “Sherwood Forest,” a documentary about Oklahoma and Texas roughnecks who shipped to England in 1943.
Coppola traveled to Oklahoma in 2018 to induct his friend into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
“Oscar is an award for Best Picture. Oklahoma Hall of Fame is an award to me, so that’s why this is the best,” Frederickson told the Oklahoman at the time. “It’s special because of Oklahoma. I am Oklahoma. I mean it’s like another appendage to 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.