Chuck Fries, prolific TV and film producer, dies at 92
Charles “Chuck” Fries, the longtime film and television producer who helped introduce the TV movie concept and directed films including “Cat People”, died Thursday. He was 92 years old.
During his career spanning more than six decades, he has participated in the production of more than 5,000 television episodes, 140 TV movies and mini-series and more than 40 theatrical films.
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Fries oversaw feature film production for Columbia Pictures, which produced films during his time at the studio, including “Five Easy Pieces”, “Easy Rider”, “Getting Straight”, “The Horseman” and “Castle Keep”.
He pioneered TV movies at Metromedia Productions in the 1970s and then started his own company, Fries Entertainment. Fries Entertainment has produced themed films like “The Neon Empire”, “Small Sacrifices”, “The Martian Chronicles” and “LBJ”, winner of an Emmy, starring Randy Quaid and Patti Lupone. He was executive producer of the television series “The Amazing Spider-Man” which ran from 1977 to 1979. Most recently, he had executive producer credit on the films “Flowers in the Attic” and “Petals on the Wind” .
He has produced theatrical films including “Cat People”, “Out of Bounds” and “Troop Beverly Hills”, based on the experience of his wife Ava.
Born in Cincinnati, Fries graduated from Ohio State University and started with Ziv Television. He moved to Screen Gems in 1960, where he was involved in the production of shows such as “Route 66”, “Bewitched”, “Hazel”, “The Monkees” and “Father Knows Best”.
His memoir, “Chuck Fries: Godfather of the TV Movie, A TV Story,” was published in 2013.
A lifetime member of the Producers Guild and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, he has also served as President of the American Film Institute and held senior positions at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fries served five terms as chair of the Producers, Writers and Directors Caucus.
He is survived by his wife, Ava, seven children: Charles M. Fries (Jonna), Suzanne Fries-Hostka, Chris Fries (Heather), Dyanne Fries, Mike Fries (Michelle), Alice Fries and Jon Fries (Lena), as well as daughter-in-law Diane Sherry Case. He is also survived by 22 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Donations can be made to the Caucus Foundation, which is dedicated to expanding diversity in the entertainment industry through scholarships, financial grants and mentoring for the next generation of producers, writers. and directors.
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