Photo of John Frankenheimer John Frankenheimer

Born in New York City on Feb. 19, 1930, John Frankenheimer discovered his passion for filmmaking during the Korean War, directing service films for the Air Force. Once he returned to the United States, his tenacity earned him a job in television that eventually led to his first feature film, The Young Stranger (1957).

Things only got better in 1962, when a string of three Frankenheimer films -- All Fall Down, Birdman of Alcatraz and The Manchurian Candidate -- all proved to be box-office hits. The last film in particular earned Frankenheimer a place in moviemaking history and is listed among the AFI's top 100 films of all time.

The assassination of friend and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968 was a devastating setback for the director, but he made a comeback in the 1990s with several successful television films before dying of a stroke on July 6, 2002.

John Frankenheimer in The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate

1962 PG-13

Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is a Korean War hero with a lethal secret: He's been brainwashed by the communist Chinese. With one phone call, the Reds can transform Shaw into a deadly assassin -- unless fellow veteran Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) can stop them first. Some thrillers remain as suspenseful -- and timely -- as when they were first released, and this classic from director John Frankenheimer is one of the best.

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