From the film trailer for The Unholy Wife (1957)
|Born||February 29, 1920|
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||June 17, 2006 (aged 86)|
Oxnard, California, U.S.
Franz made his screen debut in Jungle Patrol (1948). He appeared in Roseanna McCoy (1949), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Eight Iron Men (1952), Invaders From Mars (1953), The Unholy Wife (1957), and Monster on the Campus (1958) among many others. In The Sniper (1952), he played a rare lead in the film's title role as a tormented killer; earlier, he co-starred with John Wayne in the World War II film Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and with Ronald Reagan in Hellcats of the Navy (1957).
Franz was also a familiar face on American television series; he made five guest appearances on Perry Mason, twice playing the defendant and one time the murderer. In 1958 he played the title role of Danny Harrison in "The Case of the Married Moonlighter," and in 1959 he played Richard Vanaman in "The Case of the Golden Fraud." In 1962, he played murderer Mr. Evans in "The Case of the Captain's Coin."
In 1960 Franz appeared as Matt Warner on the TV western Death Valley Days on the episode titled "The Young Gun." In 1961, Franz was cast as the historical Paine Page Prim, a future chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, in the episode, "Justice at Jackson Creek", on the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. Prim is shown as a drunken, ostracized lawyer who hesitates to help a miner in legal trouble but must overcome his personal demons to excel at the law. The episode also stars Dub Taylor as Jake; William Schallert as Carl Spenger, and Bill Bixby as Kinney. In 1962, he was cast as Asa Moran, an acting sheriff who abuses of his power, in the episode "The Lawmaker" of the NBC western series Bonanza.
He appeared on dozens of other series, including Schlitz Playhouse, Science Fiction Theatre, Crossroads, Ripcord, Primus, Tarzan, Land of the Giants, The Alaskans, Mr. Novak, The F.B.I., The Mod Squad, Hawaii Five-O, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, Custer, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, The Rookies, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Storefront Lawyers, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Invaders, The Waltons, Room 222, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Police Story, Medical Story, The Outcasts, McCloud, Lancer and Barnaby Jones.
Franz played the role of U.S. President James Madison in the 1965 episode "George Mason" of the NBC documentary series Profiles in Courage. William Bakewell played George Wythe, and Laurence Naismith played the title role of George Mason.