Francis Ford Coppola was born on April 7, 1939 in Detroit, the middle child of Carmine and Italia Coppola. He was given the middle name Ford because of his father’s employment as a flautist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which was sponsored on the radio by the Ford Motor Co., as well as for his being born in Henry Ford Hospital. In 1941, the family moved to 67-24 49 Ave. in Woodside due to his father’s promotion as principal flautist in the NBC Symphony Orchestra in New York City.
Francis was struck with polio as a boy and became bedridden. He amused himself with puppet shows, which influenced his interest in theater. In the early 1950s the family moved to Lake Success, LI. Coppola attended Hofstra University and continued his interest in theater, which grew into movies.
The family moved to California. Coppola went to UCLA Film School and got into the movie business. By 1970 he was known as part of the wave of “New Hollywood” filmmakers, and his work on that year’s “Patton” won him his first Academy Award. More Oscars followed, for films including “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now.”
Hollywood is something of a Coppola family business. To name just two, Francis’ little sister, Talia, married songwriter David Shire and went into acting, and the actor Nicholas Cage is the son of his elder brother, August.
By 2015 Coppola had done it all and did not want to be part of Hollywood’s descent into “factory movies.” He has engaged in many other ventures such as restaurants and wine, and is alive and well at age 81.