|Franchot Tone as Daniel Freeland in Ben Casey, 1965-66. |
Source: my collection.
On joining a television series in his 60's:
Tone flashes a smile familiar to two generations of moviegoers. "What's the use of having all this talent and not using it?" Tone says, and a network of laugh lines crinkle at the corners of his eyes. "Seriously, no plays came along and few pictures for a man my age except the odd cameo bits. I simply wanted to work."
He has the aura of substance, the tenor of actorish dignity. A variety of books and recordings are stacked neatly in the living room, with the emphasis on Shakespeare and Mozart. "A man is happiest when his tastes are eclectic," Tone says. Only one magazine is in view, a copy of Playboy on the coffee table.
When Tone offers suggestions, [costar Vince] Edwards nods agreeably. "Fine, Franchot," Edwards says. "Whatever makes you comfortable." "I'm a very reasonable prima donna," Tone says. Edwards grins.
Both Vince and Franchot have a mutual love of horse racing. Sitting in his dressing room, Tone is usually immersed in a scratch sheet, pencil in hand. When the thoroughbreds are running, Tone and Edwards are at the track, although not together—Tone, the rich man's son, patronizes the $5 window, Edwards the $100 window.
"I'm unlucky in love. I should be lucky at gambling." But he isn't.
Gig Young, who starred with Franchot in "Oh Men! Oh Women!" told TV Guide:
Without being a fool about it, Franchot shared the limelight. He's an unselfish man, and when you say that an actor is unselfish—well, who's ever heard of an unselfish actor?
Another actor who chose to remain anonymous commented:
Tone has so much charm he makes people forget he's as self-centered as anyone in this business. Tone does what is best for Tone.
Franchot's Thoughts on Awards:
They are good for the people who give them and the people who get them and that's what awards are good for. (The interviewer noted Franchot was "properly sardonic" on the subject.)
Franchot's Thoughts on Marriage:
Marriage is very good for the children.
Franchot's Thoughts on Acting:
Everything I know about acting I learned from Lee Strasberg. At the Group, I learned Strasberg's variant on the Stanislavsky System—that's S-y-s-t-e-m, not Method. Method actors lack discipline. System actors are disciplined. I'm a pretty good actor today only because I've always renewed myself at the feedbag—the theater.
I'm proud that I've still got the best to come. I'm proud of "Strange Interlude" and "Uncle Vanya" and "Bicycle Ride to Nevada," which the critics roasted. I'm proud of some of the movies I was in. I'm proud of a half-hour GE Theater on Charles Steinmetz. I'm proud of my Mark Twain on a Playhouse 90. I'm proud of "The Old Cowboy" on The Virginian. And I'm going to be proud of Ben Casey.
"Who Has Ever Had a Better Time?" TV Guide. January 1, 1966. 12-14.