Famed Hollywood director John Frankenheimer passed away on July 6 from complications arising from a stroke. He was 72-years old.
Frankenheimer was best known to the movie-going public for his award-winning films, “The Manchurian Candidate” and “The Birdman of Alcatraz.” However, in the racing world, Frankenheimer has always been remembered and revered for creating what many believe to be one of the best racing motion pictures ever produced, “Grand Prix,” staring James Garner, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune and Eva Marie Saint, as well as a host of ’60s Formula One racing legends. Filmed on location during the 1965 Formula One season, “Grand Prix” captured motor racing like no other movie before it, using spectacular in-car footage which helped earn the movie Oscars for Best Film Editing, Sound and Sound Effects.
In addition to film, Frankenheimer also studied cooking at France’s famed Cordon Bleu and volunteered his time as Director of Campaign Spots for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. In recent year’s Frankenheimer won a long-standing battle with alcohol addiction and returned to directing. Not only did he direct a number of films for cable, but in his 1998 action-thriller “Ronin,” Frankenheimer drew on his experiences with “Grand Prix” to create one of the greatest car chase sequences ever recorded on film. Frankenheimer’s death is both a loss to the film and motorsports communities.