August Coppola remembered
November 6, 2009 6:33 AM
August Coppola, the former dean of the College of Creative Arts died Oct.27 of a heart attack in Los Angeles at age 75.
He was the father of actor Nicolas Cage and the older brother of film director Francis Ford Coppola. His parents were composer Carmine and lyricist Italia Coppola.
Coppola was also a literary scholar, film executive and advocate for the arts. He served as the dean at SF State from 1984 to 1992. During his duration at SF State, Coppola pushed for the existence of the Fine Arts building which resulted in the creation of studios and offices for Arts, Cinema, Dance and Design and Industry.
The August Coppola Theater in the Fine Arts building was named after him in September 1997 for his work on the building.
"I remember at the dedication naming ceremony, we played a film created by us called August in September, which consisted of excerpts of films August had done," said Jim Goldner, cinema professor.
In a press statement, SF State President Robert Corrigan called him "a singularly creative leader" and "true friend of the university."
"He reminded us all of why the arts matter," Corrigan said. "And to be fully human, we must risk following our imaginations to their very limits."
Goldner, who has been a professor in the cinema department since 1963, said that Coppola help recreate the cinema department.
"When I first came into the department we were just the Film department, but then it changed when August suggested that we become the Cinema department because the title was broader," Goldner said.
Goldner mentioned that although he and Coppola's brother Francis were classmates at UC Los Angeles in 1961, he did not know Coppola until he became the dean.
"We found out that we lived in the same neighborhood, and I remember running into him and Nicolas at a Japanese restaurant in Noe Valley," Goldner said.
Although he did not know Coppola personally, Joseph McBride, associate professor of the cinema department, said that he has done a lot of research on Coppola as he had always been interested in his life.
"Francis always said that August was smarter, and that his creative drive was to rival him," McBride said.
Coppola is also survived by his sons Christopher and Marc and six grandchildren.
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