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Overview for John Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer

John Frankenheimer


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Also Known As: Died: July 6, 2002
Born: February 19, 1930 Cause of Death: died from a stroke following spinal surgery
Birth Place: Malba, New York, USA Profession: Director ...


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.

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

"It was very exciting. If they had live television right now, I'd still be doing it. You had total control as a director. It was live, so we had final cut. And you had no such thing as a difficult actor." --John Frankenheimer in Los Angeles Times, November 5, 1989.

On the death of his friend Robert Kennedy: "He wanted me up there on the podium with him, but I said I didn't think this was the kind of image he wanted--a movie director beside him on the night of the primary."

"It was a tremendous sense of loss. I had spent my life dealing with make-believe. And here was somebody trying to make a huge difference in people's lives. I was really left very disillusioned, and went through a period of deep depression." --From The New York Times, March 24, 1994.

About signing on to direct Marlon Brando in "The Island of Dr Moreau": "We missed each other during our careers. I've worked with a lot of people and I always thought I really wanted to work with Brando before we both hang it up. I said that during an interview with Australian TV. Lo and behold, two weeks later the phone call came asking, 'Would you like to take over this movie?'" --John Frankenheimer quoted in Entertainment Today, August 23-29, 1996.

On what TV offers that film doesn't: "First it offers me more time to tell a story. Long form is fabulous for me. Secondly, the material that I've been lucky enough to do on these four cable movies has been controversial, cutting-edge material that I don't think would have been made into a feature film today. Certainly not a mainstream feature film, because mainstream studios aren't making that kind of material." --Frankenheimer to Buzz, August 22-28, 1997.

About the alcoholism that threatened his life as well as his career: "I had a drinking problem. It took a toll on me. And the state of mind you're in when you have a problem like that, even when you're not drunk, is the most dangerous time. Because you make decisions that are not totally in your best interest--about your life, about your career choices and everything."

He stopped drinking c. 1981. "I said, 'I can't go on like this'--I figured I'd better do something about it because otherwise I was going to die." --From The New York Times, September 14, 1998.

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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