John Frankenheimer -- the acclaimed director of such 1960s film classics as
The Manchurian Candidate and Birdman of Alcatraz, whose string of
acclaimed Home Box Office and Turner Network Television made-for-television
movies brought him four consecutive Emmy directing awards during the 1990s --
died July 6 in Los Angeles. He was 72.
Cable became Frankenheimer's comeback medium following disappointing results
from movies he directed from the mid-1970s on.
Against the Wall, his HBO treatment of the Attica prison riot in upstate
New York, was his first TV project in four decades, during which he gained fame
as a live drama director.
Against launched Frankenheimer's Emmy streak in 1995, winning at last
after 10 nominations for his 1950s TV efforts and no Oscar nominations for his
He won one year later for HBO's The Burning Season, about the life of
activist Cesar Chavez, played by Raul Julia in his last starring role (Julia
died before the film's premiere and won several posthumous awards for it).
That was followed by TNT projects Andersonville (1996) and George
Wallace (1997), the latter a four-hour miniseries starring Gary Sinese,
which also won Peabody and Golden Globe awards.
Frankenheimer won his fourth and last Emmy for Wallace in 1998, one
year after TNT premiered the program. His final cable movie, Path to War
for HBO, debuted in May to generally good reviews.
Frankenheimer died from a stroke due to complications following spinal
surgery, according to family members and business representatives. He had back
surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in May, but he was
readmitted there a few weeks ago after experiencing blood clots.
In November, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will induct
Frankenheimer into its Television Hall of Fame. He was notified of that honor
prior to his death.
He is survived by wife Evans, two daughters, a sister, a brother and a
grandson. Funeral arrangements were pending at press time.