PERRY, FRANK (1930–1995), U.S. director, producer, writer. A Manhattan native, Perry began his entertainment career as a teenager working as a parking lot attendant for the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. Eventually, he produced plays at the Playhouse. After serving in the Korean War, Perry made his directorial debut in 1962 with David and Lisa. Nominated for two Academy Awards, including best director, the script was adapted from the Theodore Isaac Rubin novel by his wife, Eleanor, with whom he collaborated on many films until they separated in the 1970. Ladybug Ladybug (1963) marked Perry's debut as both director and producer. In 1968, Perry directed and produced The Swimmer, based on the John Cheever story. The following year he directed and produced Trilogy (1969), written by Truman Capote. One of Perry's best-known works is Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), which his wife adapted from Sue *Kaufman's novel. A character study of a dysfunctional family, it was a topic Perry revisited in an adaptation of Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays (1972). Perry directed and co-wrote Mommie Dearest (1981) about Joan Crawford's dysfunctional life, starring Faye Dunaway and based on Crawford's daughter's tell-all. Perry also made a number of television films, including The Thanksgiving Visitor (1967), Dummy (1979), Skag (1980), and J.F.K.: A One-Man Show (1984). Other Perry films are Last Summer (1969), Doc (1971), Man on a Swing (1974), Rancho Deluxe (1975), Monsignor (1982), Compromising Positions (1985), and Hello Again (1987). Perry's final film, On the Bridge (1992), was a documentary about his own battle with prostrate cancer. He died from the disease in 1995.
[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]