Albert S. Ruddy (born March 28, 1930) is a Canadian-born film and television producer.
Life and career
Albert Stotland Ruddy was born to a Jewish family in Montreal and raised in New York City and in Miami Beach, Florida, by his mother, Ruth Ruddy Hertz. Ruddy attended Brooklyn Technical High School before earning a scholarship to allow him to study chemical engineering at City College of New York. He graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California and then worked designing homes in the construction industry on the East Coast.
After a short stint at Warner Brothers, brought about by a chance meeting with studio chief Jack L. Warner, Ruddy moved on to become a programmer trainee at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Returning to entertainment, Ruddy was a television writer at Universal Studios, but left when Marlon Brando Sr., father of the legendary actor, hired him to produce Wild Seed (1965).
With this one film completed, Ruddy co-created Hogan's Heroes (CBS, 1965–1971), which was a critical success and ran for six seasons. As the sitcom wound down its run, Ruddy returned to films, producing two comedies: Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), about two motorcycle racers, and Making It (1971), about a sexually triumphant high school student who beds the gerontophobic wife of his gym teacher. In 1972, he produced The Godfather and won his first of two Oscars for Best Picture. In 1974, Ruddy produced The Longest Yard, which has been described as "the first successful modern sports movie". The movie was very successful financially and was subsequently remade twice with Ruddy as executive producer (as Mean Machine (2001) and as The Longest Yard (2005)).
The following year, Ruddy produced director and animator Ralph Bakshi's satirical film Coonskin (1975). The film was extremely controversial and initially received negative reviews, but it would eventually earn critical acclaim and develop a cult following with cinema devotees around the globe. It remains one of director Quentin Tarantino's favorite movies, which he regularly screens.
In 1976, he produced a television western called The Machans, which was subsequently developed into the series How the West Was Won (1977–1979).
Although hugely successful at the box office, The Cannonball Run (1981) received mixed reviews by critics. However today, this Burt Reynolds classic is a beloved film that enjoys regular reruns and a devoted following from followers of the famed Rat Pack. Ruddy next produced two action films, Death Hunt (1981) starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, and Megaforce (1982). Ruddy returned to produce Cannonball Run II (1984), which was another commercial success for the Rat Pack prominent cast, which featured a guest appearance by Frank Sinatra.
For some time, Ruddy worked with writer-philosopher Ayn Rand to produce her epic novel Atlas Shrugged as a movie, the rights to which he purchased in the mid-1970s, but the movie never moved beyond the planning stages. Rand demanded unprecedented final script approval, which Ruddy agreed to. However, her friends pointed out that Ruddy could shoot the approved script but still leave all her speeches on the cutting room floor. Rand asked for final editing approval, which neither Ruddy nor the director had the power to give her, so she responded by withdrawing her support from the film and vowing to ensure that Ruddy was never involved in any adaptation of her novel.
In the early 2000s, he helped create the successful series Walker, Texas Ranger.
In 2004, he produced Million Dollar Baby, which earned him his second Oscar for Best Picture. He shared the award with Clint Eastwood, who had presented Ruddy with the Best Picture Oscar for The Godfather over 30 years earlier.
In late 2015, it was announced that he had acquired the rights to Rand's Atlas Shrugged and would be making a movie for worldwide release.
Ruddy was originally married to and divorced from Francoise Ruddy, who was also Jewish. This was prior to her name change to Ma Prem Hasya as part of the Rajneeshpuram Commune in Central Oregon. Francoise saw him through the production of "The Godfather," even lending her name to the production company title.
Ruddy is currently married to Wanda McDaniel, the mother of his two children, John Ruddy and Alexandra Ruddy. Currently, she serves as the Executive Vice President for the Italian design legend Giorgio Armani. Where she is credited for making fashion a gala event and helping Armani be a fashion legend.
Ruddy appears to have been the source name for Edward George Ruddy, the president of the Union Broadcasting System, in the Paddy Chayefsky film Network (1976).
- Won: 1973 Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather
- Won: 1973 David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film: The Godfather
- Won: 1973 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama: The Godfather
- Won: 1975 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: The Longest Yard
- Nomination: 1983 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture: Megaforce
- Nomination: 1984 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture: Cannonball Run II
- Nomination: 1985 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay: Cannonball Run II (with Hal Needham and Harvey Miller)
- Won: 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby