Arthur Franz bio: Veteran movie and television actor dead at 86
Film and television actor Arthur Franz died of heart failure and emphysema on Saturday, June 18, 2006, at St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard, Calif. Until recently, Franz had been living in New Zealand. He was 86.
Born on Feb. 29, 1920, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Arthur Franz appeared in a number of feature films from the late ’40s to the late ’50s, usually playing amiable supporting characters. Among his best-received movies are two 1952 Stanley Kramer productions directed by the previously blacklisted Edward Dmytryk: the war drama Eight Iron Men and the psychological thriller The Sniper, in which Franz has the less-than-amiable title role, and which earned Edward Anhalt and Edna Anhalt an Academy Award nomination for Best Motion Picture Story.
Among Arthur Franz’s other movies of the ’50s are Fred Zinnemann’s The Member of the Wedding (1952), with Julie Harris, Ethel Waters, and Brandon De Wilde; William Cameron Menzies’ low-budget sci-fier Invaders from Mars (1953); Edward Dmytryk’s Best Picture Academy Award nominee The Caine Mutiny (1954), starring Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, José Ferrer, and Fred MacMurray; Cornel Wilde’s The Devil’s Hairpin (1957), featuring Wilde himself and his wife Jean Wallace; and Dmytryk’s war drama The Young Lions (1958), with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin.
Franz’s last movie role was as part of the stellar ensemble in Jason Miller’s film adaptation of his own play, That Championship Season (1982), featuring Martin Sheen, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Paul Sorvino, and Robert Mitchum.
Arthur Franz on television
From the mid-’50s on, Arthur Franz turned mostly to television. Among his dozens of television roles are those in Perry Mason, Mod Squad, The Virginian, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Franz’s last TV role was in the made-for-TV movie Bogie (1980), in which he played Humphrey Bogart’s father. (Kevin O’Connor played Bogart; Kathryn Harrold was Lauren Bacall.)
Arthur Franz in The Sniper image: Columbia Pictures.