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James Franciscus

James Franciscus

57 (passed away Jul. 8th, 1991)
Jan. 31st, 1934
Born in
Clayton, Missouri, USA
5' 10 1/2"

James Franciscus' Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Rifleman TV Show
The Rifleman
Ghost Story TV Show
Ghost Story
Longstreet TV Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


James Grover Franciscus graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1957 with a B.A. in English and theater. His father, John Allen Franciscus, was a pilot killed in action during WWII. His mother was named Loraine (nee Grover) and he had one sibling, a brother named John. Mr. Franciscus is best known for his work in television, including "Naked City" (1958), "The Investigators" (1961), "Mr. Novak" (1963) and "Longstreet" (1971). He also made numerous guest appearances in other popular television programs, starred in numerous television movies, and appeared in numerous feature films. In the mid 1980s, he became dissatisfied with the roles offered to him and turned his attention to screen writing. As co-founder of Omnibus Productions, he produced many classic films, such as Heidi (1968) (TV), Jane Eyre (1970) (TV), "David Copperfield" (1986), Kidnapped (1986/I), and The Red Pony (1973) (TV). An avid tennis player, he founded the James Franciscus Celebrity Tennis Tournament in the mid 1970s to raise money for multiple sclerosis research and victims (his mother suffered from this disease). He also enjoyed sky diving and scuba diving. Married 'Kathleen 'Kitty' Wellman' , daughter of director William A. Wellman, March 28, 1960, and fathered four daughters (Jamie, Kellie, Corie and Jolie). A devoted family man, his contracts often stipulated that he not be required to work past 6:00 pm. After his divorce from Wellman, he married second wife Carla in 1980 and continued to live on his two acre North Hollywood estate until his death.

  • Was cast as Brent in Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) because of his resemblance to Charlton Heston, star of Planet of the Apes (1968).
  • Ex-uncle-in-law of 'Cathy Wellman' (qv).
  • Was the first choice to play Dr. Kildare in the 1961 TV series, but he was committed to another series (that never materialized) so the producers went with 'Richard Chamberlain (I)' (qv).
  • In 1959 'Norman Lear' (qv) produced a pilot for a situation comedy called "Band of Gold" in which James and 'Suzanne Pleshette' (qv) played a different couple each week. The program was considered too "experimental" and was never broadcast.
  • Twice portrayed President 'John F. Kennedy' (qv), or a character directly based on him: _The Greek Tycoon (1978)_ (qv) and _Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981) (TV)_ (qv).
  • Daughter born on 2 January 1975
  • A student under Jun Fan (Bruce) Lee, at his dojo of Chinese Gung Fu in California.
  • Fathered four daughters with 'Kathleen 'Kitty' Wellman' (qv) (Jamie, Kellie, Corie and Jolie).

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