James Grover Franciscus (January 31, 1934 – July 8, 1991) was a leading and supporting American actor. He was born in Clayton, Missouri. His first big role was as Detective Jim Halloran in the TV version of The Naked City.
Although he performed in many feature films and television programs throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Franciscus is probably best known for his title roles in two TV series, Mr. Novak (1963–65) and Longstreet (1971–72), and for his vocal performance in the big-screen version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973). In 1976, he starred another TV series, Hunter, a series about espionage where Franciscus played a secret agent (not to be confused with the detective series Hunter, which starred Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer).
James Franciscus in Beneath the Planet of the Apes
He was also frequently seen in feature films of the 1960s and 1970s such as Snow Treasure, The Amazing Dobermans, Marooned, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, City on Fire, and When Time Ran Out.
Over the years, Franciscus found film work with Italian cinema. In 1971 he accepted the lead role in Dario Argento's second film, The Cat o' Nine Tails. 1979 saw him appear in Antonio Margheritti's Killer Fish, and in 1980 he starred in director Enzo G. Castellari's notorious Jaws rip-off, Great White. This movie was pulled from distribution after Universal Studios successfully sued for copyright infringement, and to this day it has never received an official video release in the United States.
He continued appearing in roles on the screen and television. When less important roles were offered Franciscus turned to writing screenplays and producing. In 1991, the year of his death, he worked as an associate producer and writer on the TV program 29th Street; it was his final project.
He was a co-founder of a successful production company that began in the 1960s, and was known to raise money for charity with the sport of tennis.
He died, aged 57, from emphysema in North Hollywood, California.
James Franciscus at the Internet Movie Database
Entry at NNDB
James Franciscus fan information site
James Franciscus 1964 interview
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Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Franciscus"
Categories: American film actors | American television actors | People from St. Louis County, Missouri | People from the Greater Los Angeles Area | Deaths from emphysema | 1934 births | 1991 deathsHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since June 2008
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