John D. Crededio’s sprawling West Side film studio, Chicago Studio City, was used for hundreds of TV commercials, many TV shows and movies including “When Harry Met Sally” and the Chucky movie “Child’s Play.”
The facility — with its four soundstages on 10 acres — also helped showcase the city through work on Chicago-centric films like “Backdraft,” “The Fugitive,” “The Untouchables,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club” and TV’s “Early Edition.”
Located near Roosevelt and Central, it’s also where sets were built for the movies “Natural Born Killers” and an installment of “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Mr. Crededio, who was 72 and had prostate cancer, died June 26 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood of complications from a broken hip, according to his son Joseph Crededio.
He said his father worked with unions to pitch Sony TV, luring the 1996-2000 CBS show “Early Edition” and more than 20 years of other productions.
“It created a relationship with Sony that still exists today,” his son said.
In his later years, Mr. Crededio was frustrated by what he felt was unfair and disloyal treatment by state officials. He filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration of nearly putting him out of business by steering millions of dollars in state grants, tax breaks and shows to rival Cinespace Chicago Film Studio.
“How do I compete,” Mr. Crededio told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2011, “when the state is subsidizing them?”
John Crededio’s father Daniel Crededio, a stage electrician, was among the first 20 members of Local 476 of the I.A.T.S.E. Studio Mechanics union. Almost 50 when son John was born, he had a fatal heart attack while filming a newsreel in the offices of Mayor Richard J. Daley, according to Joseph Crededio.
Young John, the middle of six siblings, had to drop out of high school to help his family, eventually following his father into film production and becoming a gaffer. He worked on movies including “Ordinary People” and “Risky Business.”
Joe Ferriola, a mob chieftain, became like a father figure to John Crededio but kept him away from the syndicate, according to Joseph Crededio.
“He had to go out and work,” his son said. “Everything he did, he did on his own.”
John Crededio grew up around Taylor Street until the family moved to Park Ridge, where he went to Maine East High School. “He was there with Hillary Clinton,” his son said.
The Crededios later moved to Cicero, and Mr. Crededio opened his own hot dog stand on Roosevelt Road when he was only 17, his son said.
In 1979, he bought his first commercial stage facility at Grand and Western, where many automobile commercials and Sears ads were filmed.
Four years later, he invested in a larger soundstage facility, the Fred Niles studio, which he later sold to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo studios.
In 1986, he partnered in the purchase of the current Chicago Studio City location, a former Hotpoint appliances facility at 5660 W. Taylor.
In the mid-1980s, a Chicago mobster named Ken Eto told the President’s Commission on Organized Crime that Chicago Studio City was a front for the crime syndicate.
Ferriola, who died in 1989, encouraged Mr. Crededio to testify before a 1983 grand jury probing organized crime, according to Joseph Crededio: “Joe said to my father, ‘Testify, you don’t know nothing — you drive me to the racetrack and a couple of times, to the Mayo Clinic.’ ”
But “My dad feared other people” in the mob, he said, “even though Joe was a top guy.’’
Mr. Crededio refused to testify and served about a year in jail for contempt of court.
“Everybody knew that my dad was a hard worker and stayed away from that life, and he did — and the proof is in the pudding. Most of these guys are in jail or dead,” Joseph Crededio said. “My father, he just grew up with them.”
Mr. Crededio is also survived by his wife Delores, son John, sisters Barbara Doherty and Kathy Fatigato, brothers Daniel, Gino and Ronald and four grandchildren. Services have been held.