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Producers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was 92 – fidgetcube

Charles “Chuck” Fries, whose career as a television and film producer included a long list of classic shows, series and movies, died on Wednesday, his family announced. He was 92 years old. No cause of death was given.

During a prolific career that spanned more than 60 years, he participated in the production of more than 5,000 episodes of series, 140 TV films and mini-series and more than 40 theatrical films. His production credits range from Tales from the Crypt and Call of the wild to televisions The Amazing Spider-Man and The Martian Chronicles at Leona Helmsley: the queen of wickedness, Beverly Hills Troop and Screamers.

Born September 30, 1928, originally from Cincinnati, Fries began his career at Ziv Television in 1952, where he worked on legendary syndicated shows like The Cisco Kid, road patrol, Bat masterson, and Sea hunting. He moved to Screen Gems in 1960, where he was involved in the production of classics such as Naked City, Route 66, Bewitched, Hazel, the Monkeys and Father knows how to best.

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He later oversaw feature film production at Columbia Pictures and worked with top producers and directors in the industry on films such as Castle keep, the rider, easy rider, five easy pieces and Get right.

Considered the godfather of the TV movie, he pioneered the genre at Metromedia Productions in the 1970s. He then mastered it with his own independent production and distribution company, Fries Entertainment.

Known for their problem-oriented films, the Fries Entertainment programs included over 200 hours of content for ABC, CBS, and NBC, including iconic TV movies like Small sacrifices with Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal; Empire neon, an epic three-hour saga starring Ray Sharkey, Martin Landau and Gary Busey; Leona Helmsley: Queen of Wickedness, with Suzanne Pleshette and Lloyd Bridges; The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, with Rock Hudson and Darrin McGavin; Woman on ledge with Deidre Hall; Bitter harvest, with Ron Howard and Art Carney; Word, with David Jansen and based on the book by Irving Wallace; and Emmy nominees LBJ, with Randy Quaid and Patty Lupone.

Fries also produced dozens of theatrical films during this time, including Peo Catple with Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell and John Heard; Off-limits, starring Anthony Michael Hall; the original Spider Man series for foreign markets; and the cult classic Beverly Hills Troop, starring Shelly Long and fashioned from his wife Ava’s real life experience leading a Girl Scout troop.

He was a life member of the Producers Guild and recipient of his 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also served as President of the American Film Institute and has held leadership positions at the Academy of Arts & Television Sciences and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has also been a guiding force of the Producers, Writers and Directors caucus for over 45 years, serving five terms as president and receiving his most coveted awards.

Much of this history as a renowned Hollywood producer has been documented in his memoirs, Chuck Fries, Godfather of the TV Movie: A History of Television, which was released in October 2013.

Fries received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.

Survivors include his 33-year-old wife, Ava; children Charles M. Fries, Suzanne Fries-Hostka, Chris Fries, Dyanne Fries, Mike Fries, Alice Fries and Jon Fries; daughter-in-law Diane Sherry Case; 22 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He is predeceased by his son Thomas Fries and his stepdaughter Cami Markman.

A private memorial service for the family is scheduled for April 29. Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations from The Caucus Foundation, 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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