James Franciscus .. Dr Kildare

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James Franciscus, actor, producer (Mr. Novak , The Investigators, Naked City) 1934-91
Youngblood Hawke
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  • Hi RHS!Even though I was a total ape-aholic, I never much liked BtPotA because Roddy McDowall wasn't in it, but I will have to take another look, because I do love Franciscus and because the movie's reputation has gone up, too. There's nothing better than having cynicism cemented into your psyche at such a young age! Most of us can't remember exactly when it happened; you're lucky to have such a vivid and cinematic landmark!I better check out Cat o'Nine Tails, too! Sounds like it's got some memorable moments!Here's to James Franciscus!-m

    Moira –Great use of the term "uneasy" to describe him. I would totally agree. I wonder if that was his intellect in conflict with the very nature of his profession, playacting. I gather that he sort of made a choice to go the acting route instead of the writing path, the latter which might have been more in tune with his basic personality. I don't believe I've ever actually sat down to watch Youngblood Hawke, which is now on my must-find-and-view list! There was just something fascinating about James Franciscus, perhaps more so in his slight distance from us in all his work. He was unforgettable, I agree.-m

  • Hi RHS!Even though I was a total ape-aholic, I never much liked BtPotA because Roddy McDowall wasn't in it, but I will have to take another look, because I do love Franciscus and because the movie's reputation has gone up, too. There's nothing better than having cynicism cemented into your psyche at such a young age! Most of us can't remember exactly when it happened; you're lucky to have such a vivid and cinematic landmark!I better check out Cat o'Nine Tails, too! Sounds like it's got some memorable moments!Here's to James Franciscus!-m

    Moira –Great use of the term "uneasy" to describe him. I would totally agree. I wonder if that was his intellect in conflict with the very nature of his profession, playacting. I gather that he sort of made a choice to go the acting route instead of the writing path, the latter which might have been more in tune with his basic personality. I don't believe I've ever actually sat down to watch Youngblood Hawke, which is now on my must-find-and-view list! There was just something fascinating about James Franciscus, perhaps more so in his slight distance from us in all his work. He was unforgettable, I agree.-m

  • James Franciscus
    James Franciscus in 1977.
    BornJames Grover Franciscus
    (1934-01-31)January 31, 1934
    Clayton, Missouri, U.S.
    DiedJuly 8, 1991(1991-07-08) (aged 57)
    North Hollywood, California, U.S.
    Cause of deathEmphysema
    Other namesJames Francicus
    Years active1957–1985
    Spouse(s)Carla Ankney Franciscus (1980-1991; his death)
    Kathleen Wellman (1960-1977; divorced; 4 children)

    Well, now you've done it! The flood of memories evoked by the mention of James Franciscus is overwhelming! Mr. Novak should definitely be run on one of those tv nostalgia channels, pronto. Thanks so much for writing about this actor. Franciscus had it all: looks, voice, intelligence, and, interestingly for such a handsome fellow, some lingering doubts in back of most of the portrayals I can recall. If only he had been born about 25 years earlier. I suspect that the studio system might have given him some real chance to utilize his obvious gifts. I remember seeing him on a talk show with his father-in-law William Wellman once, and he was clearly ill at ease in that setting, though–of course–the camera loved his shimmering surface. One guilty pleasure James Franciscus movie that you touched on is a vivid memory: Youngblood Hawke (1964) co-starring the late Suzanne Pleshette & Genevieve Page. Based on a page-turner by Herman Wouk, it is a roman à clef about the life and turbulent times of Thomas Wolfe, author of "Look Homeward, Angel". The story tries to deal with creativity, fame, money, and the inevitable cannibalism of writer's personal life in his work–though the usually reliable writer/director Delmer Daves and Mr. Franciscus seem to give up trying to form those elements into a credible tale about a third of the way into the movie, opting out for a tidal wave of soap opera emotions. (Btw, it's actually a lot of fun–even when you realize how bad it is!). And, of course, any movie with James Franciscus' uneasy presence is pretty enjoyable. Thanks for the overview of his life.

TV, Film Star James Franciscus Dies at 57 - latimes

Franciscus made his disappointment with the script known to Heston privately: He also disliked the bleak climax of the film (which Heston in fact claimed credit for): . On set, however, co-star found him to be thoroughly professional: Director also reserved special praise for James Franciscus, whom he called Just days before shooting began, Franciscus injured his ankle while playing tennis. Those sequences in which he could not disguise his slight limp were attributed to the fact that his character may have suffered an injury during the crash of his spaceship. Reportedly, James Franciscus was offered the role of in the 1974 TV series, but turned it down.