|Born||in Kingstown, St. Vincent, British West Indies [now Saint Vincent and the Grenadines]|
|Died||in Brooklyn, New York, USA (AIDS)|
|Birth Name||Franklyn Vincent Ellison Seales|
Mini Bio (1)
Franklyn Seales was a stage and television actor best remembered for playing the finicky business manager Dexter Stuffins on the NBC sit-com "Silver Spoons." He also appeared in films, most notably as the real-life cop killer in "The Onion Field."
One of eight children, Seales was born in 1952 on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. In 1960, Seales' family emigrated to the United States, where they settled in New York City.
A painter since age six, Seales planned to study art at Pratt Institute. But then John Houseman noticed Seales when he was helping a friend to audition by performing the balcony scene from "Romeo and Juliet." Signed on the spot to a full scholarship at Juilliard, Seales studied acting as a member of Houseman's Acting Company, during the early 1970s.
Seales' first big break was the PBS broadcast of the television drama The Trial of the Moke (1978). He portrayed Lt. Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of West Point.
Seales' film debut was in the true-crime drama The Onion Field (1979). He portrayed a weak, gullible ex-con who's just out of jail when a fast-talking killer, played by James Woods, talks him into a senseless crime that results in the murder of a police officer.
From 1983 to 1987, Seales played the character for which he was best remembered, the finicky business manager Dexter Stuffins on the NBC situation-comedy Silver Spoons (1982), which also starred John Houseman as stoic Grandpa Stratton.
Toward the end of his life, Seales worked mainly in the non-profit Equity-waver theatre on the Westside of Los Angeles. He appeared in plays ranging from the theater of the absurd to Shakespeare. Los Angeles Times critic Lawrence Christon called Seales "one of America's most compelling stage actors."
As a member of the all-star L.A. Theatre Works, Seales was one of a company of 36 actors who contributed $6,000 each for the pleasure of performing classic plays together on the radio. Some of the Theater Works other members were James Earl Jones, Ted Danson, Richard Dreyfuss, Bonnie Bedelia, Stacy Keach, Michael York, and Ed Asner.
Seales last appeared in "Nothing Sacred," at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in the fall of 1988. A comedic adaptation of Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons," it was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Seales appeared as Uncle Havel, an aristocratic fop and former military man. For his characterization, Seales relied on his recollections of the English colonels and majors of his native St. Vincent, when it was still a British colony, "with their little sticks and stiff mustaches."
Although he was acclaimed for his versatility, Seales admitted that being a light-skinned black man had limited the roles that were available to him.
Franklyn Seales died on Monday, May 14, 1990 from complications from AIDS at his family's home in Brooklyn, New York. He had been too ill to work for several months. In its obituary, the Los Angeles Times said that "Seales as an actor came to be seen as a link between the tradition of black Africa and the sophistication of classical Anglo drama."
He was survived by his mother, three brothers and three sisters. A memorial service was planned at Juilliard.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Thomas O'Connor