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Frankenheimer, John Michael


FRANKENHEIMER, JOHN MICHAEL (1930–2002), U.S. director. Born in New York City of Catholic-Jewish parentage, Frankenheimer graduated from La Salle Military Academy (1947). He wanted to be an actor, but when he was accepted into the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force, he discovered that his real skill lay behind the camera. He was a director for cbs television (1953–60), producing, among other programs, The Turn of the Screw and Days of Wine and Roses. He directed a total of 152 live television shows between 1954 and 1960, including such series as Climax! and Playhouse 90. Frankenheimer, who thoroughly enjoyed directing live television, was one of the first tv directors to use multiple camera angles, a moving camera, quick editing, and close-ups.

Ultimately, however, he became a successful director of feature films on the big screen. Through his movies, he used the opportunity to express his views on significant social and philosophical issues. Frankenheimer's films include The Young Stranger (1957); The Young Savages (1961); All Fall Down (1962); Birdman of Alcatraz (1962); The Manchurian Candidate (1962); The Train (1964); Seven Days in May (1964); Grand Prix (1966); The Fixer (1968); The Gypsy Moths (1969); The Horsemen (1971); The Iceman Cometh (1973); The French Connection ii (1975); Black Sunday (1977); Year of the Gun (1991); The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996); Ronin (1998); Reindeer Games (2000); and The Hire: Ambush (2001). At the same time he produced and directed such tv fare as The Rainmaker (1982); The Burning Season (1994); Andersonville (1996); George Wallace (1997); and Paths to War (2002). During his career, he won four Emmy awards and was nominated for nine others.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

add. bibliography:

G. Pratley, The Cinema of John Frankenheimer (1969); G. Pratley, The Films of Frankenheimer: Forty Years in Film (1998).

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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