Fritz Manes, who had a long association with Clint Eastwood, producing, exec producing or associate producing a dozen of the films Eastwood directed between 1977 and 1986 and serving in a number of other capacities on some of these films, including as an actor, production manager and second assistant director, died of lung and brain cancer on Sept. 27 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 79.
Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., Manes first met Eastwood in high school in the late 1940s, and they remained close friends for decades. Manes attended UC Berkeley and earned a B.A. from UCLA. He spent four years in the Marine Corps, serving for 14 months in the Korean War.
Manes worked a variety of jobs for several decades, including as a local disk jockey in Oakland and for a newsradio station in San Francisco. In 1973, however, he began to work at Eastwood production company Malpaso.
In 1976, Manes was credited as assistant to the producer on Dirty Harry film “The Enforcer” (directed by James Fargo and produced by Robert Daley) and on “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” directed by Eastwood and produced by Daley, Fargo and John G. Wilson). For “Josie Wales,” Manes scouted locations with lenser Bruce Surtees and Fargo.
He was associate producer on Eastwood films “The Gauntlet,” “Every Which Way but Loose” “Escape From Alcatraz” and “Bronco Billy,” which were made between 1977 and 1980, as well as second a.d. on “Bronco Billy” as well as “Any Which Way You Can.”
Manes’ responsibilities on Eastwood’s pics gradually increased: He moved up from associate producer to producer on “Any Which Way You Can”; starting with “Firefox” he would frequently occupy dual roles as exec producer or producer and unit production manager on a number of Eastwood’s mid-’80s titles. He even picked up credits for stuntwork on “Sudden Impact” and “City Rider.”
Manes also had bit parts in a number of Eastwood beginning with “The Enforcer” and ending with “Pale Rider.”
In 1986 Manes also produced Sondra Locke directorial effort “Ratboy.” Manes’ relationship with Eastwood, both professional and personal, came to an end amid strife during the production of “Heartbreak Ridge” that same year.
Manes also served on the California Film Commission, appointed by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, during the 1980s.
He is survived by his wife, Audi.