Steve Franken, the veteran actor who starred on The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, is dead, his wife has confirmed.
Steve Franken was a character actor famous for his work during the era alongside some of the decade’s biggest stars including Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers, and Barbara Eden.
In the course of his 50-year career, Franken appeared in many hits of their respective eras, including Bewitched; Love, American Style; the television show Mission: Impossible; and Seinfeld. On film, Franken appeared in The Party, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, Which Way to the Front?, Hardly Working, The Missouri Breaks, and The Americanization of Emily.
Forty years on, Steve Franken’s role in The Party was re-evaluated by a journalist, and the importance of his character actor function was underscored in the assessment:
“Rivaling Sellers with one of The Party‘s stand-out performances: Steve Franken as the increasingly inebriated butler, slathering on a layer of slapstick to the proceedings with his incontinent antics. Franken’s interaction with his vexed supervisor, his drunken stroll through the shallow indoor pool, his struggle to rescue the roast chicken perched precariously atop a bewigged socialite’s bouffant hairdo: all comedy gold.”
The assessment calls to mind the golden age of American film in the 50s and 60s where comedy was a bit more wholesome and family friendly but still edgy enough to pique adult tastes.
Steve Franken’s wife confirmed that Franked died of cancer in California on August 24. In addition to his wife, Franken is survived by three daughters and two grandchildren.