M.J. Frankovich

Active - 1940 - 1976  |   Born - Sep 10, 1910   |   Died - Jan 1, 1992   |   Genres - Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Mike Frankovich was the son of comedian Joe E. Brown (who encouraged the boy's activities in the field of athletics). Frankovich's preteen sports prowess brought him to the attention of Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who arranged for the boy to appear in Rosita, a 1923 film starring Fairbanks' wife Mary Pickford. After distinguishing himself athletically at UCLA, Frankovich worked as a radio producer, announcer and sportscaster. He returned to films in 1938 as a screenwriter then from 1940 to 1941 acted in a handful of films, nearly always cast as a radio commentator. Following World War II service, Frankovich made a second return to Hollywood in a production capacity. He produced several films abroad before being put in charge of Columbia Pictures' British division. He was made supervisor of Columbia's international productions in 1962, and the following year was appointed vice president in charge of the studio's entire production output. In 1968 he went "independent" again, producing such films as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1968), Cactus Flower (1969) and Butterflies are Free (1972). He was married to actress Binnie Barnes, who made her final screen appearance in her husband's production of Cactus Flower (1969). Though in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, Mike Frankovich put in an appearance at the 1984 Oscar ceremony to accept the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, valiantly delivering a halting but heartfelt "thank you" speech.

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