John Frankenheimer

Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Having emerged from the era of 1950s live television, director John Frankenheimer quickly became a Hollywood wunderkind after directing several highly-regarded films before suffering a series of setbacks that nearly ... Read more »
Born: 02/19/1930 in Malba, New York, USA

Filmography

Director (39)

Bmw Short Film Series 2014 (Movie)

(Directing the 1st installment in the series.) (Director)

Reindeer Games 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Ronin 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

The Island of Dr. Moreau 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

The Burning Season 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Maniac at Large 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Director

Year of the Gun 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

The Fourth War 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Dead Bang 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Riviera 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Director

52 Pick-Up 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

The Holcroft Covenant 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

The Rainmaker 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Director

The Challenge 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Prophecy 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Black Sunday 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

The French Connection II 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

99 and 44/100% Dead 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Impossible Object 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

The Iceman Cometh 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

I Walk the Line 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Horsemen 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Gypsy Moths 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

The Extraordinary Seaman 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

The Fixer 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Grand Prix 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Seconds 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

The Train 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Seven Days in May 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

All Fall Down 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

Birdman of Alcatraz 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

The Manchurian Candidate 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

The Young Savages 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

Playhouse 90 1956 - 1960 (Tv Show)

Director

The Comedian 1956 - 1957 (TV Show)

Director

The Young Stranger 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Against the Wall (TV Show)

Director

Path To War (TV Show)

Director

The Blue Men (TV Show)

Director
Actor (14)

The Directors 1998 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

The Inside Reel: Digital Filmmaking 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Angela Lansbury: A Balancing Act 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Brian Wilson: A Beach Boy's Tale 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Rock Hudson: Acting the Part 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The General's Daughter 1999 (Movie)

General Sonnenberg (Actor)

The Television Academy Hall of Fame 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Performer

Burt Lancaster 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Rod Serling: Submitted For Your Approval 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

American Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Black Sunday 1977 (Movie)

TV Controller (Actor)
Producer (5)

The Burning Season 1994 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Horsemen 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Manchurian Candidate 1962 (Movie)

(Producer)

Andersonville (TV Show)

Executive Producer

George Wallace (TV Show)

Producer

Biography

Having emerged from the era of 1950s live television, director John Frankenheimer quickly became a Hollywood wunderkind after directing several highly-regarded films before suffering a series of setbacks that nearly crippled his career, only to have one of the truly great comebacks of American cinema. Frankenheimer began his career directing some 150-odd live television dramas in the 1950s and early 1960s, contributing memorable installments to anthology series like "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1960). Though he made his feature debut in 1957 with "The Young Stranger," he began his feature career proper with "The Young Savages" (1961), which began a successful five-picture collaboration with actor Burt Lancaster. The pair reunited for one of Frankenheimer's most well-received films, "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962), though the best for the director was yet to come. With "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), Frankenheimer directed a chilling thriller that not only held up over the ensuing decades, but entered the pantheon of true Hollywood classics. Frankenheimer followed with "Seven Days in May" (1964), a frighteningly realistic White House coup-de-tat that reportedly received behind the scene support from President John F. Kennedy. Following lesser known films like "The Train" (1965) and "Grand Prix" (1966), as well as the tragic assassination of close friend Robert F. Kennedy, Frankenheimer entered a dark period marred by depression, alcoholism and an inability to direct a hit film. Though he saw some success with "The French Connection II" (1975) and "Black Sunday" (1977), Frankenheimer floundered throughout the 1970s and 1980s, before rejuvenating his career on the small screen in the 1990s, winning four Emmy Awards in five years for directing "Against the Wall" (HBO, 1994), "The Burning Season" (HBO 1994), "Andersonville" (TNT, 1996) and "George Wallace" (TNT, 1997). The newfound success allowed him to make a triumphant return to features with "Ronin" (1998), an old school Cold War spy thriller that gave Frankenheimer one last success on the big screen and cemented his reputation as the undisputed master of the political thriller.

Relationships

Evans Evans

Wife
married c. 1961 has appeared in several of Frankenheimer's films

Joanne Evans

Wife
divorced married her to accompany him (at the government's expense) when he entered the Air Force with understanding they would divorce when discharged

Walter Frankenheimer

Father
of German-Jewish origins

Helen Frankenheimer

Mother
Irish Catholic

Kristi Frankenheimer

Daughter
mother, Carolyn Miller

Lisa Frankenheimer

Daughter
mother, Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller

Wife
married on September 22, 1954 divorced in 1961

EDUCATION

studied with chef Michel Guerard

Cordon Bleu

Paris
studied for two years

LaSalle Military Academy

Oakdale , New York 1947
was captain of the tennis team

Foxwood School

Flushing , New York

Williams College

Williamstown , Massachusetts 1951
discovered acting

Milestones

2001

Directed the short "Ambush", one of five featurette advertisments for BMW shown over the Internet at bmwfilms.com

2000

Helmed the thriller "Reindeer Games", starring Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron

1999

Appeared as an Army general in the thriller "The General's Daughter"

1998

Delivered sly action masterpiece, "Ronin", a triumpant feature return; boasted international cast including Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgard

1997

Received fourth Emmy for helming the TNT biographical miniseries "George Wallace"; also produced

1996

Picked up third Emmy Award for the acclaimed TNT miniseries "Andersonville", set in the notorious Civil War prison camp; also served as an executive producer

1996

First feature in five years, "The Island of Dr. Moreau"; took over production from fired South African director Richard Stanley, salvaged the film and made it releasable

1994

Produced and directed the HBO biopic "The Burning Season", starring Raul Julia; received second Emmy

1994

Began career turnaround with "Against the Wall" (HBO); produced by Axelrod's son Jonathan; received first of four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or Special

1992

Returned to TV at helm of "Maniac at Large" episode of HBO's "Tales of the Crypt"

1988

Career received boost with re-release of "The Manchurian Candidate"

1985

Second collaboration with screenwriter George Axelrod, "The Holcroft Covenant"

1982

Reteamed with Mifune for "The Challenge", martial arts movie co-scripted by John Sayles; Steven Seagal worked as a stunt coordinator

1982

Directed HBO TV-movie remake of "The Rainmaker", starring Tommy Lee Jones and Tuesday Weld

1977

Seized upon the Goodyear Blimp as an instrument of unpredictable menace in action disaster pic "Black Sunday"; feature acting debut as TV Controller

1975

Helmed the sequel "French Connection II"

1973

Seventh and last film with Lewis, the highly esteemed "The Iceman Cometh"; also Fredric March's last film

1970

Reteamed with Trumbo on "The Horsemen", adapted from the Joesph Kessel novel

1968

Last film with Lancaster, "The Gypsy Moths"

1968

Directed campaign commercials for Robert F Kennedy during presidential primary season

1968

First collaboration with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, "The Fixer", adapted from the Bernard Malamud novel

1966

After "Seconds" received harsh treatment at Cannes, Paramount panicked and dumped the film; critical esteem for film has grown over the years

1966

Success of actioner "Grand Prix" restored bankability; international cast included James Garner, French actor Yves Montand and Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune

1965

Replaced Arthur Penn as director of "The Train", starring Lancaster and Paul Scofield

1964

Initial collaboration with producer Edward Lewis, "Seven Days in May", starring Lancaster, Fredric March, Kirk Douglas and Ava Gardner

1962

Helmed William Inge's adaptation of James Leo Herlihy's novel "All Fall Down", starring Warren Beatty; first of two films that year with Angela Lansbury

1962

Directed and co-produced (with screenwriter George Axelrod) "The Manchurian Candidtae"; second film with Lansbury

1962

Replaced Charles Crichton as director of "The Birdman of Alcatraz", starring Lancaster

1961

Second feature, "The Young Savages", adapted from a novel by Evan Hunter; first of five films with Burt Lancaster; also first of five films with director of photography Lionel Lindon

1959

Directed Broadway production, "The Midnight Sun"

1957

Helmed "The Comedian" for "Playhouse 90", considered by some the finest live drama from TV's "Golden Age" because of its depiction of the fledgling medium itself; written by Rod Serling and starring Mickey Rooney

1956

Feature directorial debut, "The Young Stranger"; had also filmed live TV version ("Deal a Blow") for "Climax!"; preferred that version because he had worked with familiar TV crew

1954

TV directing debut, "The Plot Against King Solomon" episode of the CBS series "You Are There"

1953

Arrived in NYC with $150 and talked his way into an assistant director's job at CBS

1951

Served in US Air Force; eventually joined its newly formed film squadron

Helmed an as yet untitled prequel to "The Exorcist" (lensed 2002), focusing on Father Merrin's missionary work in Africa

During his last two summer vacations of college, acted in summer stock at the Highland Playhouse in Falmouth, Massachusetts

After directing additional episodes of "You Are There" and "Danger", moved to CBS' California studios to direct for "Climax!" and "Playhouse 90"

Short film about a California cattle farm brought him first assignment from the private sector, writing and producing a local TV show, "The Harry Howard Ranch Roundup"; served unofficially as director for drunken title holder

Bonus Trivia

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Actors John Scott and Dopn Galloway portrayed Frankenheimer in the TV productions "Robert Kennedy and His Times" (CBS, 1985) and "Rock Hudson" (NBC, 1990) respectively.

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Frankenheimer used the pseudonymous Alan Smithee credit on the 1987 TV-movie "Riviera"

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In May 2001, Frankenheimer addressed rumors that he was actually the biological father of film director Michael Bay. Frankenheimer admitted to a brief relationship with Bay's birth mother who later contacted the director's representatives and claimed to be pregnant. Frankenheimer reportedly payed her a sum of money (about $7500) when he learned she was expecting. After the rumors surfaced that Bay's natural father was a filmmaker, there was much speculation and Frankenheimer's name often came up. In the May 2001 interviews, the director firmly stated that he was NOT the father of Michael Bay and that it had been verified by "tests".

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