Frank Yablans, former president of Paramount Pictures who oversaw 'The Godfather,' dies at 79

Frank Yablans, a former president of Paramount Pictures in the 1970s who oversaw the release of several groundbreaking pictures, has died.

Yablans died of natural causes Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles, his son Eddy Yablans told The Associated Press on Thursday. He was 79.

Yablans was president at Paramount when the studio reeled out such well-known hits as "The Godfather," ''Chinatown," ''Paper Moon" and "Murder on the Orient Express."

He later went on to work as chief operating officer at MGM/United Artists and co-wrote the screenplay for "Mommie Dearest," a biopic about movie star Joan Crawford's deeply troubled relationship with her children. Yablans also produced the film.

The Los Angeles Times reported that before joining MGM/United Artists, Yablans joked in interviews about the hard-to-define power dynamics of Hollywood.

"When I read the press, I smile a lot," Yablans told the Times in 1982. "I think the press — with few exceptions — knows very little about how power really works. So I read and smile. The problem is, it's only 10 percent of any interview that gets remembered. . Usually it's the wrong 10 percent."

Yablans, a native of New York, is survived by his three children, four grandchildren and his longtime companion, Nadia Pandolfo.