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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 4 December 1947Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 27 September 1975Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA  (accidental suffocation whilst weight-lifting.)
Birth NameMark Ernest Frechette

Mini Bio (1)

Frechette died in prison after robbing a bank. His acting debut was in Michelangelo Antonioni's controversial exploration of turbulent 1970 America, Zabriskie Point (1970). As Antonioni toured the U.S., experiencing cultural clash firsthand and shooting background footage, a talent scout saw Frechette, a carpenter, scream and throw a flowerpot at a woman on a Boston street. Antonioni immediately cast Frechette, a non-actor, in the movie's lead role: a college student, wrongfully hunted for the murder of a policeman during a campus uprising.

Throughout the filming, Mark Frechette and the director disagreed bitterly about the script, while Frechette had an affair with co-star Daria Halprin. After the film, she joined Frechette in Mel Lyman's Boston commune, which supposedly had previously turned Frechette away, but accepted him after he was cast in Zabriskie Point (1970). Lyman had been a member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Frechette donated $60,000 from films to the commune. Halprin soon left the Fort Hill commune.

Frechette quickly starred in 2 Italian movies, then was arrested for a 1973 bank robbery a few blocks from the commune, in which "Hercules" Thien, 1 of his 2 fellow cult member accomplices, was killed. Frechette's own gun had no bullets. After his arrest, Frechette explained the bank robbery: "It would be like a direct attack on everything that is choking this country to death". In 1975, while serving a 6-15 year prison sentence, a 150 pound weight Frechette was lifting fell on his throat, killing him.

Frechette, a high school dropout of Quebecois ancestry, from Fairfield, Connecticut, was twice hospitalized for emotional problems, and several times arrested, prior to Zabriskie Point (1970).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: David Stevens

Spouse (1)

Elizabeth G. Schmeling (1966 - 27 September 1975) (separated) (2 children)

Trivia (5)

Arrested in 1970 in Boston for alleged armed robbery where a man was killed.
Died at age 27.
Donated his $60,000 earnings from Zabriskie Point (1970) to a commune.
Tried to rob a Boston area bank; sentenced to 15 years in prison. One of his accomplices was killed by police. [August 1973]
Died in weight room at Massachusetts Correctional Institution with a 150-pound weight bar pressed against his throat. Ruled an accident.

Personal Quotes (1)

There was no way to stop what was going to happen. We just reached the point where all that the three of us really wanted to do was hold up a bank. And besides, standing there with a gun, cleaning out a teller's cage - that's about as fuckin' honest as you can get, man!

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