Eleanor Coppola dead at 87: Emmy-winning film director and wife of Francis Ford Coppola, has passed away

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Emmy-winning film director Eleanor Coppola, the wife of Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, has died at 87

Emmy-winning film director Eleanor Coppola has died at 87, she was the wife of Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. Eleanor Coppola was also the mother to Sofia Coppola, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, director and producer and Roman Coppola, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter. 

Unfortunately, Eleanor Coppola suffered a family tragedy when her oldest child, actor Gian-Carlo Coppola, died in a speedboat accident which took place in 1986, he was only 22 at the time.  

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Eleanor Coppola’s family told the Associated Press that she passed away at her home in Rutherford, California. Film Director Eleanor Coppola not only helmed her first narrative feature at the age of 80, but won an Emmy for directing the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. 

Eleanor Coppola was born in Los Angeles on 4 May, 1936, and her full name was Eleanor Jessie-Neil. She was brought up in the area of Huntington Beach and studied at UCLA where she undertook a degree in applied design. Eleanor Coppola met her husband Francis when he was making his feature directorial debut on ‘Dementia 13,’ Roger Corman’s horror production, Eleanor’s role was assistant art director. 

After Eleanor discovered she was pregnant with their first child, Gian-Carlo, the couple married in 1963 and went on to have Sofia and Roman. Eleanor Coppolia decided to take up filmmaking during the production of her husband Francsis’s ‘Apocalypse Now,’ which was a follow up to the ‘The Godfather, Part 11.”

According to Variety, ” the planned five-month Philippines shoot more than doubled in length due to a litany of headaches and complications, including initial star Harvey Keitel’s replacement with Martin Sheen, typhoons wrecking sets, a reworked ending and Sheen’s hospitalisation due to a heart attack.”

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During the filming of ‘Apocalypse Now,’ Eleanor Coppola shot behind the scenes on the set and it was this footage that became her documentary, ‘Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse’ which was released twelve years after ‘Apocalypse Now.’ Eleanor Coppola’s documentary went on to receive eight Oscar nominations, a DGA nomination for the group’s documentary award and a coveted Emmy award. 

At the time of filming the documentary, Eleanor said “I don’t know if [Francis] is just trying to keep me busy or if he wants to avoid the addition of a professional crew,” she wrote at the time. “Maybe both.”

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