Frank O’Conner, Happy Birthday! Born April 11; 1881-1959

Frank O'Connor

Frank O’Conner in “A Date with the Falcon,” 1942; one of more than 150 appearances as a law enforcement officer or prison guard during his 44 year film career.

As a second unit or assistant director (3 titles) O”Conner worked with William Desmond Taylor and Marshall Neilan; in the director’s chair (23 films, all but 3 were silent ) he worked with actresses Marian Nixon, Phyllis Haver and Betty Compson. O’Conner’s sole project as producer was one he also directed, Call of the Circus, 1930. Writing for the screen (7 movies) Mr. O’Conner adapted the novel “Linda” for director Dorothy Davenport. As an actor O’Conner accumulated, drum roll please… 611 film (1915-1958) appearances! What a resume! What a workhorse; a true Ironman of the movies was he. Granted, most of Mr. O’Conner’s work was without credit but startling numbers, none the less. Most often his work was seen in B-movies (appearing in many movie-series and serials), occasionally, venturing into an A-picture, albeit, uncredited: The Thin Man, 1934, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939, The Grapes of Wrath and Christmas in July, 1940, Citizen Kane, 1941, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946. Although without credit he went most of the time, yet, Frank O’Conner could say to family and friends “I was in that movie.” In turn, the movie-watcher is reminded of Frank O’Conner’s body of work, vast in numbers, years and genres; working daily with the stars of Hollywood and directors of every ilk. Happy birthday to the every-man of film, Frank O’Conner.

 

By C. S. Williams

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