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Eduard Franz Schmidt (October 31, 1902 – February 10, 1983) was an American actor of theatre, film and television. Franz portrayed King Ahab in the 1953 biblical low-budget film Sins of Jezebel, Jethro in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), and Jehoam in Henry Koster's The Story of Ruth (1960).
Eduard Franz Schmidt
October 31, 1902
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||February 10, 1983 (aged 80)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Life and careerEdit
Franz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His childhood ambition was to become a commercial artist, a goal that led him to enroll later at the University of Wisconsin, where he joined the Wisconsin Players Theater, a new student group. Performing in the theater's 1922-1923 season reignited his ambition to become an artist, although one of a different type, an actor. A year later, he was cast in Chicago productions of the Coffee-Miller Players. Dropping his surname, Franz next acted with the Provincetown Players in New York's Greenwich Village, a hothouse of theatrical ferment that had first brought the world the dramatic works of writers Eugene O'Neill, Susan Glaspell, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Franz also appeared with Paul Robeson in The Emperor Jones and with Walter Huston in Desire Under the Elms. He continued to perform until his stage work was interrupted by the Great Depression.
By then married to his wife Margaret, he tried to eke out a living as chicken farmers in Texas. The young couple soon returned to Wisconsin, where Franz acted in regional theater while teaching art to pay the bills. By 1936, he was a player on the national stage, performing from coast to coast. He became a leading Broadway actor for nearly 30 years, in such plays as First Stop to Heaven, Home of the Brave, Embezzled Heaven, and Conversation at Midnight. He made his film debut in a bit part, in 1947, in Killer at Large, but followed that brief appearance the next year with a memorable role in the motion picture The Scar (also titled Hollow Triumph). His fourth movie saw him acting with John Wayne in Wake of the Red Witch, in 1948. He portrayed Chief Broken Hand in White Feather. He played such intellectuals as Dr. Stern in The Thing from Another World (1951), a university professor in The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959), and Justice Louis Brandeis in The Magnificent Yankee (1950), a role he reprised in the 1965 television adaptation. He appeared in a 1957 television adaptation of A. J. Cronin's novel Beyond This Place, which was directed by Sidney Lumet.
Franz performed as well in two separate remakes of Al Jolson's 1927 cinema classic The Jazz Singer, each time playing the key role of the aged and ailing synagogue cantor upset by his son's decision to pursue a secular show-business career rather than continue the family tradition and follow in his father's religious footsteps. Those remakes were the 1952 film version of the story starring Danny Thomas and the 1959 television version starring Jerry Lewis.
In 1956, Franz appeared on a first-season episode of Gunsmoke titled "Indian Scout", performing in the role of Amos Cartwight, a scout for the United States cavalry who knowingly leads the troopers into an ambush by a Comanche war party. That same year he guest-starred with Joan Fontaine in the episode "The De Santre Story" of the NBC anthology series The Joseph Cotten Show. Later, In 1958, Franz was cast in the second season of Zorro, playing the role of Señor Gregorio Verdugo. He guest-starred as Jules Silberg in the 1960 episode "The Test" of CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson.
In 1961, Franz starred in the episode "The Duke of Texas" of western series Have Gun - Will Travel. Also, in that same year, Franz guest-starred as Gustave Helmer in the ABC legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones with James Whitmore in the title role and Jack Mullaney as a second guest star. About that same time, he portrayed characters on NBC's anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show and on the NBC western Cimarron City. Always dedicated to the theater, despite his television work, Franz in 1961 performed in the world premiere in Los Angeles of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetic drama Conversation at Midnight, co-starring with James Coburn and Jack Albertson. Two years later, Franz was cast as psychiatric clinic director Dr. Edward Raymer in 30 episodes of the weekly ABC medical drama Breaking Point with co-star Paul Richards. Then, in 1964, he reprised his role in Conversation at Midnight at Broadway's Billy Rose Theatre. Both that stage version of Millay's work and the one done in 1961 were produced by Worley Thorne in association with Susan Davis.
|1948||The Iron Curtain||Maj. Semyon Kulin|
|Hollow Triumph||Frederick Muller|
|Wake of the Red Witch||Harmenszoon Van Schreeven|
|1949||Outpost in Morocco||Emir of Bel-Rashad|
|Oh, You Beautiful Doll||Gottfried Steiner|
|The Vicious Years||Emilio Rossi|
|Emergency Wedding||Doctor Heimer|
|The Du Pont Story||Eleuthère Irénée du Pont|
|The Magnificent Yankee||Judge Louis Brandeis|
|The Goldbergs||Alexander 'Abie' Abel|
|1951||The Thing from Another World||Doctor Stern|
|The Great Caruso||Giulio Gatti-Casazza|
|The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel||Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg|
|The Unknown Man||Andrew Jason 'Andy' Layford|
|1952||Shadow in the Sky||The Doctor|
|One Minute to Zero||Dr. Gustav Engstrand|
|Because You're Mine||Albert Parkson Foster|
|Everything I Have Is Yours||Phil Meisner|
|The Jazz Singer||Cantor David Golding|
|Cavalcade of America||Samuel Morse||Episodes "Mightier Than the Sword" and "What God Hath Wrought"|
|Dream Wife||Khan of Bukistan|
|Latin Lovers||Doctor Lionel Y. Newman|
|Sins of Jezebel||King Ahab|
|1954||Beachhead||Bouchard, French Planter|
|Living It Up||Doctor Nassau||Uncredited|
|Broken Lance||Two Moons|
|Treasury Men in Action||Ed Emery||Episode "The Case of the Man Outside"|
|Sign of the Pagan||Astrologer|
|1955||White Feather||Chief Broken Hand|
|The Ford Television Theatre||Paul||Episode "Tomorrow We'll Love"|
|The Last Command||Lorenzo de Quesada|
|Lux Video Theatre||Emil||Episodes "Return to Alsace" and "The Last Confession"|
|Lady Godiva of Coventry||King Edward|
|The Indian Fighter||Red Cloud|
|1956||Casablanca||Ben Hassan||Episode "The Alley"|
|Three for Jamie Dawn||Anton Karek|
|The Burning Hills||Jacob Lantz - Tracker|
|The Ten Commandments||Jethro|
|The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial||De Santre||Episode "The De Santre Story"|
|1957||Crossroads||Episode "Weekend Minister"|
|Man Afraid||Carl Simmons|
|Wagon Train||Dr. Rand, Les Rand's Father||Episode "The Les Rand Story" October 16, 1957|
|Collector's Item: The Left Fist of David||Dr. Peasley|
|1958||Day of the Badman||Andrew Owens|
|The Restless Gun||The Peddler||Episode "The Peddler"|
|The Last of the Fast Guns||Padre Jose|
|A Certain Smile||M. Vallon|
|1959||The Jazz Singer||Cantor Rabinowitz||Episode of Lincoln-Mercury Startime, October 13, 1959|
|The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake||Jonathan Drake|
|1960||The Story of Ruth||Jehoam|
|Gunsmoke||Amos Cartwright||Episode 1.23 "Indian Scout"|
|1961||The Fiercest Heart||Hugo Baumon|
|Francis of Assisi||Pietro Bernardone|
|Beauty and the Beast||Orsini|
|Stoney Burke||Terry Meade||Episode: "Child of Luxury"|
|1966||Cyborg 2087||Prof. Sigmund Marx|
|The Fugitive||Edward Roland||Episode: "The Sharp Edge of Shivalry"|
|The F.B.I.||Dr. Keeler||Episode: "The Plague Merchant"|
|1967||The Invaders||Premier Thor Halvorsen||Episode: "Summit Meeting"|
|The F.B.I.||Gerald Salzman||Episode: "A Sleeper Wakes"|
|The President's Analyst||Ethan Allan Cocket|
|1971||Johnny Got His Gun||Col. / Gen. Tillery|
|1973||The Waltons||Uncle Cody Nelson, banker||Episode: "The Courtship", Season 1, #18|
|1976||The Waltons||The Colonel||Episode “The Collision”, Season 4 #25|
|1978||Hawaii Five-O||Thomas Barlow||Episode: "Invitation to Murder"|
|1983||Twilight Zone: The Movie||Old Man||(Segment #4) (final film role)|
- "Eduard Franz | BFI | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Famous Wisconsin Film Stars, by Kristin Gilpatrick
- Special Collections Manuscripts - Margaret Herrick Library - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- "Character Actor Eduard Franz Dies at 80". The Los Angeles Times. February 15, 1983. p. 19. Retrieved March 31, 2021.