|Frank Lee Graham
Stage, Screen and Radio Actor; Radio Producer; Voice Artist
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
1937 White Fires of Inspiration
1938 Night Cap Yarns
1939 The Advs. of Cosmo Jones
1940 Community Mobilization For Human Needs
1941 Columbia Workshop
1941 Romance of the Ranchos
1942 Command Performance
1942 The New Swan Show
1942 The Whistler
1943 Stars Over Hollywood
1943 Cavalcade Of America
1944 The Sportsman's Club
1944 Four For the Fifth
1944 Melody Round-Up
1944 Jobs for Heroes
1944 The Purple Heart Program
1944 The Electric Hour
1945 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1945 The Talent Theatre
1945 Theatre Of Romance
1946 Encore Theatre
1946 The Rudy Vallee Show
1947 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1947 Sound Stage For Joan Crawford
1948 Adventure, Inc.
1948 Crooks Cruise
1949 Sing for Your Supper
1949 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1950 Satan's Waitin'
The Dinah Shore Program
Yarns For Yanks
Frank Graham, gifted young actor, producer and voice talent called ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' was found dead at his own hand in September 1950 at the age of 35.
Mildred Rossi was a Walt Disney animator--and the tragic object of Frank Graham's unrequited affection.
|Brilliant young voice talent, Frank Lee Graham was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of an inventor and his wife.
Born also to show business, his mother was Ethel Briggs Graham, a concert and opera singer. Graham grew up in dozens of cities and attended a number of schools while traveling the concert circuit with his mother. He knew the backstage odors of grease paint and dress rooms as a toddler.
Frank Graham attended the University of California for a year then left to begin his acting career in Seattle--both on the stage and in radio. He was brought to Hollywood in 1937 to join the Columbia Pacific Radio Network's Radio station, KNX.
Graham had married the former Dorothy Jack of Seattle in 1935. They were later divorced. In addition to his radio roles, Graham's voice was well-known to motion picture fans. He created the voices of numbers of cartoon characters in animated films for Walt Disney, MGM and Warner Bros. studios.
Associates at the Columbia Broadcasting System said Graham was at the peak of his career in 1950. He had been starring in Jeff Regan, Investigator. He had just completed a summer announcing the popular dramatic program, Satan’s Waitin’, which he and Des Autels had developed and owned.
He had starred in Night Cap Yarns over CBS from 1938 through 1942 and was the announcer of dozens of programs, including the Ginny Simms, Rudy Vallee and Nelson Eddy shows. He also announced or narrated several public interest programs over his short, but highly successful Radio career, including The Romance of The Ranchos (1941-1942). His last starring role in Radio was in the 1949-1950 run of Jeff Regan, Investigator, the series during which he took his own life five episodes prior to the end of the ordered run.
With an estimated 2,800 appearances over Radio by the time of his death, one can only imagine the mark he'd have continued to make during the remainder of The Golden Age of Radio. Dubbed ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' by peers and fans alike, there's no question that Graham did, indeed, leave his mark in Radio--and Animation, Film, and The Stage.
A great volume of exemplars of his Radio work remain in wide circulation, with new examples entering circulation with each passing year. As regrettable as the circumstances of his early demise remain to this day, he's almost certainly acquiring thousands of new admirers of his extraordinary voice talent with each new release of his work. Frank Graham's gifts, as exemplified through hundreds of vintage radio recordings and lovingly restored Animation features of the era, continue to impress all of us who've heard or seen them.
Thus, despite the circumstances of his passing, he's remembered just as fondly. If only he'd have been able to see that for himself . . .