For everything that has a beginning, it will definitely have an end. This axiom has been proven true time and again in almost every aspect of human endeavor, including the life we lead. The end came for the American actor James Franciscus on July 8, 1991, when he was afflicted with respiratory disease. Although he is no longer an actor, his works still speak for him because different people have different opinions about his personality and how they think he should have been or been perfect as he was.
What do you think about him? Well, if you haven’t made up your mind yet, or maybe you’re just getting to know Franciscus, how about we tell you his life story here so that you can have an informed opinion about who he really is. Read on…
James Franciscus’ Biography
The deceased actor (James Grover Franciscus) was born on January 31, 1934, in Clayton, Missouri, in the United States of America, the son of Lorraine (née Grover) and John Allen Franciscus. His father served as a soldier during the Second World War (1939-1945) but is said to have died in combat. James’ mother then remarried a certain man who is said to have been an investor from New York at the time.
When he grew up, he went through high school and enrolled at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, to study English and theater arts. There he studied alongside American actor Bill Hinnant and talk show personality, Dick Cavett. After completing his studies, James Franciscus graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957.
Before graduating, James made his acting debut as the character Johnny Doyle in the film Four Boys and a Gun, which was shot during the summer vacation before his senior year. The following year he added the role of Eddie Baxter in The Mugger to his acting profile. Franciscus then earned his first starring role in ABC’s Naked City as Detective Jim Halloran in the police drama series, which ran first from 1958-1959 and then 1960-1963. His next major role came with the CBS adventure/drama television series called The Investigators. In this series, he starred with Jackie Cooper in the 13-week series as Russ Andrews, an insurance investigator.
James Franciscus ended his career with further roles in projects such as “Miracle of the White Stallions” (1963), “Snow Treasure” (1968), “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970), “The Dream Makers” (1975), “When Time Ran Out” (1980), “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy” (1981), “Secret Weapons” (1985) and many others.
His most notable works include the television series Longstreet (1971-1972) and Mr. Novak (1963-1965), as well as the films The Naked City and The Investigators.
Family: Wife and Children
The late actor fell in love for the first time with Jane Fonda, whom he met the summer after graduating from college while working in a stock theater. The resemblance between the two was mutual, as they even started a relationship afterward. Jane admitted in her autobiography that James Franciscus was the first man she fell in love with. But when the actor proposed marriage to her, she rejected him.
In the course of 3 years, Franciscus healed completely from his probably first bigger lovesickness. He fell in love with the daughter of film director William A. Wellman – Kathleen Wellman, and on March 28, 1960, the two were declared man and wife. They had 4 daughters (Jamie, Kellie, Korie, and Jolie), a record number of children for a Hollywood celebrity at that time.
In the course of their marriage, barely a decade old, the couple separated in an otherwise seemingly strong marriage. It is noteworthy that James Franciscus never allowed his work to interfere with his family responsibilities at this time. His contracts were designed so that he would not feel the need to work at a time when he should be having dinner with his family, or even on weekends.
Despite all this, the cancerous worm of marriage ate its way deep into the love that once brought Kathleen and James together. After their separation in the late 1970s, he had custody of all their children, but when they divorced amicably, they shared parental responsibilities so that the younger girls stayed with their mother while the older ones lived with their father.
James Franciscus married Carla Ankney a second time in 1980. He remained married until his death in 1991.
Life, Death, and Cause of Death
The late actor from Clayton, Missouri, lived a life that was revered by many people, while others expressed their dislike for him in some forums, mainly due to a character they saw him play. All in all, he had a lucrative career, was a doting father and perhaps even husband. But when death came, both his admirers and critics expressed all their grief at his passing, and we assume you do too.
James Franciscus was described as a heavy smoker who never finished a day without stuffing himself with 4 packs of cigarettes. He died at the age of 57 in 1991 in North Hollywood, California. His health deteriorated due to a condition known as emphysema. This is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that severely and progressively affects the lungs of a patient with breathing problems characterized by poor airflow, shortness of breath, coughing with sputum, and prolonged difficulty breathing.