Weldon Heyburn

Weldon Heyburn (born Weldon Heyburn Franks,[1] September 19, 1903 – May 18, 1951) was an American character actor and bit player.

Weldon Heyburn
Weldon Heyburn Franks

September 19, 1903
Washington, D.C.
or Selma, Alabama
DiedMay 18, 1951 (aged 47)
Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s)Phyllis Connard (1924-1926, divorce)
Greta Nissen (1932-1936, annulment)
Jane Eichelberger (1936-?)
Parent(s)Col. and Mrs. Wyatt. G. Franks

Early years

The son of United States Army Col. Wyatt G. Franks,[2] Heyburn was born in Washington, D.C.[3] (Another source says he was born in Selma, Alabama.)[2]

Heyburn attended Central High School and Emerson Institute in Washington, D.C., before attending the University of Alabama.[4]

In the 1920s, Heyburn represented himself as "the son of Charles Heyburn, judge of the United States Supreme Court" and "the nephew of Weldon Heyburn, the late Senator of Iowa."[5] The senator's niece denied any kinship, saying in 1925 that Heyburn was "an impostor if he persists in his claims," with other members of the family supporting her assertion.[6]


In the mid-1920s, Heyburn was the "leading man in a Lansing, Mich., stock company."[7] His Broadway credits include The Mystery Man (1927), Troyka (1930, Good Men and True (1935), and I Want a Policeman (1936).[8]


In 1931, Heyburn ventured into film. An August 31, 1931, newspaper article reported, "After playing leading man for such stage stars as Jeanne Eagels, Lenore Ulric and Mary Boland, he has given up the stage to become a feature screen player like his roommate and fellow gridiron player, John Mack Brown."[9]

Military Service

During World War II, Heyburn served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Personal life

In 1924, Heyburn married actress Phyllis Connard. They divorced October 15, 1926.[7]

Heyburn married Norwegian star Greta Nissen March 30, 1932,[10] in Tijuana, Mexico.[11] They met when they appeared together in The Silent Witness (1932),[2] she as the female lead, he as an unbilled player. On October 19, 1935, Nissen went to court to have the marriage annulled, "charging their marriage ... was illegal and violated legal witness and residence requirements."[12] The annulment was granted April 30, 1936.[13]

Heyburn married Jane Eichelberger ("prominent socially in New York and Cleveland") on May 5, 1936, at Heyburn's home in Brentwood, California.[14]


A drinking problem effectively ended his career in the mid-1940s and his health rapidly declined. He entered the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angeles suffering from cancer of the mouth, right adrenal and kidney and died there of pneumonia.

Partial filmography

Heyburn appeared in about 65 films from 1930 through 1950. They include:


  1. "Here's Gossip, Lowdown". Pennsylvania, Shamokin. Shamokin News-Dispatch. March 26, 1932. p. 4. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  2. "Greta Nissen To Wed Weldon Heyburn Today". Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. The Wilkes-Barre Record. March 30, 1932. p. 20. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Wagner, Laura (Winter 2015). "Weldon Heyburn: "He Panics the Women"". Films of the Golden Age (83): 68–69.
  4. "College Athlete in 'Pagan Lady'". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 8, 1931. p. 32.
  5. "Back Home". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 23, 1928. p. 66. Retrieved February 6, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Weldon Heyburn May Be Real Name". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 5, 1925. p. 6. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  7. "Actress Gets Divorce". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. October 16, 1926. p. 1. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "Weldon Heyburn". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  9. "Player". South Carolina, Gaffney. The Gaffney Ledger. August 29, 1931. p. 5. Retrieved February 6, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  10. "Greta Nisson to Become Bride of Hollywood Actor". Oregon, Klamath Falls. The Klamath News. March 30, 1932. p. 1. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  11. "Greta Nissen and Weldon Heyburn Are Honeymooning". Nebraska, Lincoln. The Lincoln Star. March 31, 1932. p. 9. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  12. "Greta Nissen Sues To Annul Marriage". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. October 20, 1935. p. 5. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  13. "Marriage Ends". Texas, Lubbock. Morning Avalanche. April 30, 1936. p. 2. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspaperarchive.com.
  14. "Actor and Socialite Marry in Hollywood". Utah, Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Tribune. May 6, 1936. p. 8. Retrieved February 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
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