Charles W. Fries, the productive producer and executive who was famous as the “Godfather of the Television Movie”, passed away in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to his family. His age was 92.
In 1974, he created Charles Fries Productions, which had later become Fries Entertainment. His company produced more than 275 hours of telefilms, series and miniseries.
Fries’ impact was 25 years long from 1968 to 1993 which he described as “the golden days of the television movie” in his autobiography.
His works included The Amazing Spider-Man series of the late 1970s; the 1980 Ray Bradbury miniseries The Martian Chronicles, starring Rock Hudson; 1981’s Bitter Harvest, starring Ron Howard and Art Carney; The Rosemary Clooney Story (1982), starring Sondra Locke as the singer; 1989’s Small Sacrifices, starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal; 1990’s The Queen of Mean, starring Suzanne Pleshette as New York hotel mogul Leona Helmsley; and the three-hour 1991 movie The Neon Empire, starring Ray Sharkey, Martin Landau and Gary Busey.
For the big screen, Fries produced Cat People (1982), directed by Paul Schrader and starring Natassja Kinski; Out of Bounds (1986), starring Anthony Michael Hall; and Screamers (1995), starring Peter Weller. He also was an exec producer on Flowers in the Attic (1987), starring Louise Fletcher, and Troop Beverly Hills (1989), starring Shelley Long and Craig T. Nelson. (The latter was fashioned after his wife Ava’s real-life experience leading a Girl Scout troop.)
“The work of a producer is really a roller-coaster ride,” he wrote in his 2010 memoir.
“On any one day, you never know what level or incline you will be riding on — up or down or upside down. It’s exciting, exhilarating and often very scary, so you hang on and are relieved when you end the ride safely.” “We got into a couple of business situations that I should not have been in,” he added.
“The home video business, I shouldn’t have been in it. I wasn’t a student of home video. I did pretty good in television.”
He was born on 30th September, 1928 in Cincinnati and belonged to a grocer in the produce business. He completed his schooling from Elder High School and graduation from Ohio State University. He got married to Carol Fries for 33 years and divorced in 1985.