Eduard Franz

Eduard Franz (born Eduard Franz Schmidt; October 31, 1902 – February 10, 1983) was an American actor of theatre, film and television.[1] 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
Eduard Franz (left)
Eduard Franz Schmidt

(1902-10-31)October 31, 1902
DiedFebruary 10, 1983(1983-02-10) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1918–1983

Life and career

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 [2]. He became a leading Broadway actor for nearly 30 years, in such plays as First Stop to Heaven and 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.


Year Title Role Notes
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
Madame Bovary Rouault
Whirlpool Martin Avery
Oh, You Beautiful Doll Gottfried Steiner
1950 Francis Colonel Pepper
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
1953 Three Lives Short
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 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 Miracle Priest Uncredited
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
1962 Hatari! Dr. Sanderson
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)


  1. "Eduard Franz | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  2. Famous Wisconsin Film Stars, by Kristin Gilpatrick
  3. "The Indian Scout", Gunsmoke, 1956. Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  4. "The Concert", The Law and Mr. Jones, 1961. IMDb. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  5. Special Collections Manuscripts - Margaret Herrick Library - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
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