A small sign on Al Ruddy’s wall reads “He who carves himself to suit everyone whittles himself away,” reflects his conviction in remaining true to his own instincts which are shown through his consistent ability to spot promising material and creative talent, reflected in his choice of projects and recognized by his various industry awards, amassed over three decades in the Hollywood film industry.
Ruddy got his start in 1965 by pitching an original, yet offbeat, television idea about a P.O.W. camp. CBS loved the idea and Hogan’s Heroes was created and its 240 segments ran for 8 seasons.
After succeeding in television, Ruddy decided to try his luck at movies and cast an unknown Robert Redford in Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970)—this film led to his involvement in The Godfather. In 1972, Clint Eastwood presented Albert S. Ruddy with the Best Picture Oscar for The Godfather, putting Ruddy on the map as an icon in independent movie making.
He followed up the success of The Godfather with writing and producing THE LONGEST YARD (1974), a cult classic, launching Burt Reynolds into leading man status and creating a friendship between the two that lasts to this day. It is one of the highest grossing films of its time. THE LONGEST YARD earned Ruddy his second Golden Globe and continued respect in the industry.
In the 80s Ruddy created The Cannon Ball Run movies, which proved well at the box office, maintaining his powerhouse reputation. His other credits include over 30 features including Bad Girls (1994, the first western with all female leads), Death Hunt (1981, pairing the late Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin), The Scout (1994, a film that Richard Schickel of Time Magazine described as “the best comedy fantasy about baseball ever made”), Ladybugs (1992, starring the late great Rodney Dangerfield) and Farewell to the King (1989, starring Nick Nolte).
Ruddy went back to his television roots creating shows including the highly successful Walker, Texas Ranger (234 segments, 7 years), How the West Was Won (1976) starring James Arness and Eva Marie Saint, and such TV movies as Married to a Stranger , starring Jacqueline Smith, Running Mates with Tom Selleck, Laura Linney, Teri Hatcher, Faye Dunaway and Miracle in the Wilderness, starring Kim Cattrall and Kris Kristofferson, which became one of the highest rated TNT movies, making it a Christmas perennial.
In 2004, 32 years after Clint Eastwood handed Ruddy his first Oscar, they had a full circle moment by winning another best picture Oscar together for Million Dollar Baby. This movie also earned Morgan Freeman his first Academy Award ® and Hilary Swank her second.
Ruddy’s accomplishments have earned him numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Donatellos (Italy), two Heraldos (Mexico), two Cèsars (France), Producers Guild Hall of Fame, Cowboy Hall of Fame, National Association of Theater Owners “Producer of the Year”, and Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Awards from Shanghai, Miami, and Chicago.
Al Ruddy is most proud of his wife of thirty-five years, Wanda McDaniel – Executive Vice President Entertainment Industry Communications Worldwide, and his children John and Alexandra Ruddy.