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Fritz Manes, 79; producer for Clint Eastwood

By William Grimes
New York Times / October 14, 2011

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NEW YORK - Fritz Manes, who produced more than a dozen films in the 1970s and 1980s for his longtime friend Clint Eastwood, including “Any Which Way You Can,’’ “Tightrope,’’ and “Heartbreak Ridge,’’ before the two had a falling out, died Sept. 27 at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 79.

The cause was lung and brain cancer, said his wife, Audrey.

Mr. Manes met Eastwood when both were attending Piedmont Junior High School in California. When reunited at Oakland Technical High School, they spent their leisure time sneaking into bars, chasing girls, and working on cars.

After serving in the Marines during the Korean War and studying acting at the University of California, Los Angeles, Mr. Manes held a variety of jobs in radio and television.

In 1973, he was hired as an assistant to the producer Robert Daley at Malpaso, Eastwood’s production company. He received his first credit, as an assistant to the producer, on the 1976 film “The Enforcer.’’

Mr. Manes worked on many Eastwood films as associate producer, producer, or executive producer. He also appeared in small roles - the bartender at the Zanzabar in “Every Which Way but Loose,’’ a guard in “Escape From Alcatraz’’ - and did stunt work in “City Heat’’ and “Sudden Impact.’’

Fred George Manes was born in Oakland, Calif. In 1986, after the split with Eastwood, Mr. Manes formed his own production company, Sundancer, and served on California’s Film Commission.