Birthday: August 21, 1930
Died At Age: 65
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Frank Joseph Perry Jr.
Born in: New York City
Famous as: Director
Spouse/Ex-: Barbara Goldsmith (m. 1977 – div. 1992), Eleanor Perry (m. 1960 – div. 1971), Virginia Brush (m. 1992 – his death. 1995)
father: Frank J. Perry
mother: Pauline E. Perry
siblings: Mary Perry
Died on: August 29, 1995
place of death: Manhattan, New York City, New York
Cause of Death: Cancer
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: The Actors Studio University of Miami
Who was Frank Perry?
Frank Perry was as an American director whose works include the films ‘David and Lisa,’ ‘Diary of a Mad Housewife’ and ‘Mommie Dearest.’ He studied directing under the renowned director, Lee Strasberg, and applied what he learned in his debut, the independently made film ‘David and Lisa’ for which he garnered the Academy Award nomination for best director. Perry developed a passion for theatre as a young man and took up a job as a parking inspector for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. In the ensuing years, he worked as a stage manager and produced numerous plays at the Playhouse before moving into television and films. A veteran of the Korean War, Perry also served in the American military before making his directorial debut in 1962 with ‘David and Lisa’ whose screenplay was written by his first wife, Eleanor. He had been married thrice in his life. In August 1995, Perry died of prostate cancer, just eight days after his 65th birthday.
Childhood & Early Life
Frank Perry was born on August 21, 1930, in New York City, USA, to Pauline E. Schwab and Frank Joseph Perry Sr. His father was a stockbroker while his mother worked at Alcoholics Anonymous. His sister is Mary Christine Perry, mother of singers David Hudson and Katy Perry.
He initially worked as a parking lot attendant at Westport Country Playhouse and later as the stage manager and producer.
He graduated from University of Miami and served in the U.S. military before making his directorial debut.
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In 1962, Frank Perry made his directorial debut with the low-budget drama movie ‘David and Lisa’. Adapted from Theodore Isaac Rubin’s novel, the film follows two mentally ill teenagers who develop an emotional bond while in a home for disturbed youths. It was met with critical acclaim and earned Perry an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.
He next produced ‘A Christmas Memory’ which was adapted from a short story by Truman Capote. In 1968, he produced and directed the drama film ‘The Swimmer’ which starred Burt Lancaster, Janice Rule and Janet Landgard in featured roles.
Perry served as the director and the producer of ‘Last Summer’, a coming-of-age flick about adolescent sexuality, in 1969.
He made a television film titled ‘Miriam’ for American Broadcasting Company in 1970. That year, Perry also produced and directed ‘Diary of a Mad Housewife’, a comedy-drama flick about a frustrated wife in a loveless marriage with a controlling and emotionally abusive lawyer. Based on Sue Kaufman’s 1967 novel, the film starred Carrie Snodgress, Frank Langella and Richard Benjamin.
In the ensuing years, he directed a number of big screen projects including ‘Play It as It Lays’, ‘Man on a Swing’ and ‘Rancho Deluxe’. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Perry contributed to the films ‘Compromising Positions’, ‘Hello Again’, ‘Miss Firecracker’ and ‘A Shock to the System’.
In 1981, Frank Perry wrote and directed ‘Mommie Dearest’, a drama film depicting the childhood of actress Christina Crawford and the way she was abused by her adoptive mother Joan Crawford. The film was a commercial success and grossed $39 million worldwide against a $5 million budget.
Family & Personal Life
Frank Perry married Eleanor in 1958. The couple collaborated on a number of screen projects including ‘The Swimmer,’ ‘David and Lisa,’ ‘Diary of a Mad Housewife,’ and ‘A Christmas Memory.’ They eventually divorced in 1971.
In 1977, the director married the founding editor of ‘New York’ magazine, author Barbara Goldsmith. Following his divorce from Goldsmith in 1992, he married Virginia Brush Ford, his Aspen ski instructor.
On August 29, 1995, a few days after his 65th birthday, Frank Perry died of prostate cancer. His final movie, ‘On the Bridge,’ which released in 1992, is an autobiographical documentary that dealt with his cancer battle.