Melvin Frank

Active - 1942 - 2007  |   Born - Aug 13, 1913   |   Died - Oct 13, 1988   |   Genres - Comedy, Romance, Musical

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Biography by AllMovie

Pursuing an engineering degree at the University of Chicago, Melvin Frank was diverted into another line of work when he befriended fellow student Norman Panama. Forming a comedy writing team, Frank and Panama collaborated on a play, then went on to provide special material for Broadway revues. In 1938, the team was hired by radio comedian Bob Hope; this led to a joint contract at Paramount Pictures, where Frank and Panama worked with Hope, Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton. In 1945, the Panama/Frank team shared a "Best Original Screenplay" Academy Award nomination for the Crosby-Hope farce The Road to Utopia. With the 1947 RKO comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Mel and Norman inaugurated their producing activities. Beginning with 1950's The Reformer and the Redhead, the team produced, wrote and/or directed ten top-grossing films for MGM and Paramount. They received two more Oscar nominations, both in the screenwriting category, for Danny Kaye's Knock on Wood (1954) and the Bob Hope/Lucille Ball vehicle The Facts of Life (1960). In 1960, the team broke up, in as amicable a manner as has ever been in Hollywood. On his own, Frank set up a production company in England, continuing to wear two additional production hats as writer and director. In 1973 he won his fourth Oscar nomination for A Touch of Class. His last directorial effort, filmed after nearly nine years' inactivity, was the misfire Tarzan parody Walk Like a Man (1987). Melvin Frank died exactly two months after his 70th birthday.

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