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Frank Wilcox

This article is about the actor. For the American artist, see Frank N. Wilcox.
Frank Wilcox
Born Frank Reppy Wilcox
(1907-03-17)March 17, 1907
De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri, U.S.
Died March 3, 1974(1974-03-03) (aged 66)
Granada Hills, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California
Alma mater University of Kansas
St. Benedict's College
Occupation Actor
Years active 1936-1973
Spouse(s) Joy Langston Wilcox (married 1953-1974, his death, 3 children)

Frank Reppy Wilcox (March 13, 1907 – March 3, 1974) was an American character actor who made appearances in more than 150 films and nearly 200 episodes of television programs.


Though born in De Soto in Jefferson County in eastern Missouri, Wilcox was reared primarily in Atchison, Kansas. He attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence for a year, where he was a fraternity brother of subsequent newsman John Cameron Swayze. He graduated in 1933 from St. Benedict's College, now Benedictine College, in Atchison. Years later, Wilcox was an active and honored trustee of Benedictine College.[1]

Wilcox first came to California to live with his grandparents and to work in the lemon groves near Pomona. He later opened a tire repair shop in Pomona and helped to establish a theater company. He joined the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where he met George Reeves, prior to Reeves' being cast as Clark Kent in Adventures of Superman. He and Reeves were in eleven films together, and Wilcox was best man at Reeves' wedding.[1]

During World War II, Wilcox earned five battle stars. During the 1960s he was the "honorary mayor" of his city of residence, Granada Hills, California. He was "honorary fire chief" of Los Angeles, which on January 11, 1964, observed "Frank Wilcox Day." He served on the Screen Actors Guild board of directors.[1]

Acting career

Wilcox soon became a contract player for Warner Bros., beginning with the 1939 short film, The Monroe Doctrine, in which he was chosen to portray the American statesman Henry Clay during the early 1820s.[1] He played Abraham Lincoln, as a militia captain, in another 1939 film short, Old Hickory, based on key events in the public career of U.S. President Andrew Jackson, played by Hugh Sothern.[2]

Another film role was as the circus doctor in the 1952 production, The Greatest Show on Earth, starring Charlton Heston.[2]

In 1951, already at work in the new medium of television, Wilcox was cast in two episodes of the CBS police drama Racket Squad, starring Reed Hadley and narrated by Hugh Beaumont. Between 1952 and 1955, he guest starred four times in different roles on the western televison series, The Lone Ranger. In 1956, Wilcox portrayed the character John Gould in "God's Healing" on the religion anthology series, Crossroads. That same year, he was cast as Duncan Glowrie in the episode "Bonnie Lassie" of the CBS sitcom, The Gale Storm Show.[2] From 1955 to 1958, he appeared three times on Jackie Cooper's NBC sitcom, The People's Choice

In 1957, Wilcox guest starred in the episode "Quicksilver" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins as a young frontier law student. His best known television role, the one which brought him great recognition from millions of viewers, was that of the oil executive John Brewster in the first season of the CBS sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies.[2]

Wilcox appeared in 1957 as Joe Spaulding in "Lucy Wants to Move to the Country," one of the last episodes of Lucille Ball's CBS sitcom, I Love Lucy. He appeared as well on Ann Sothern's sitcom, Private Secretary.[2]

Between 1953 and 1956, Wilcox made sixteen appearances in different roles on another CBS sitcom, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.[2] He appeared three times in two different roles from 1961 to 1962 on the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys, starring Harry Morgan and Cara Williams.

In 1959, he was cast as Colonel Dodge in the episode "Man to Man" of the syndicated western series, Frontier Doctor, starring Rex Allen. He guest starred on the ABC sitcoms Leave It to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and The Real McCoys.[2]

Wilcox made several guest appearances as a judge on CBS's Perry Mason during the nine-year run of that program. In 1961, he appeared as the judge in a Jack Benny episode, "Jack on Trial for Murder", which had Raymond Burr as a guest star appearing as Perry Mason, in a dream sequence where Jack dreams that he is on trial for murder and Perry Mason is his defense attorney. Wilcox also appeared as a judge in the 1961 episode "The Dentist" of the CBS sitcom, Angel.[2] Wilcox was also renowned for his performances in numerous episodes of The Untouchables as Federal District Attorney Beecher Asbury. He would also go on to play a guest starring role in The Munsters where he was dressed up as a Herman Munster look alike to which he was hosting a masquerade Ball.

His last television role was as Judge Moon in the 1973 episode of ABC's western series, Kung Fu, starring David Carradine.[2]

Partial filmography


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Broadway Database
  • Find a Grave
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