Don Francks Cause of Death: The Life and Legacy of a Canadian Star

Don Francks was a Canadian actor, musician, and singer who had a long and versatile career in entertainment. He was known for his roles in classic American TV shows such as Mission Impossible, Mannix, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., as well as his jazz albums and performances. He also had a strong connection to the Indigenous culture and lived on a reserve for several years. He died on April 3, 2016, at the age of 84, after a battle with lung cancer.

A Passion for Music and Acting

Don Francks was born on February 28, 1932, in Burnaby, British Columbia, and was adopted shortly after his birth. His mother worked at a music store and his father was an electrician. As a child, he performed on Vancouver radio doing imitations of singers. After dropping out of high school at age 15, he worked in various jobs and pursued his passion for music and acting.

He moved to Toronto in the early 1950s and starred in several CBC TV specials. He also performed in jazz clubs and recorded his first album, Don Francks Sings, in 1954. He later moved to New York City, where he performed at the Blue Angel and recorded a live album at the Village Vanguard. He also appeared on Broadway in musicals such as Kelly and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

His acting career took off in the 1960s, when he guest-starred on many popular US TV shows, such as The Wild Wild West, The Virginian, and Ben Casey. He also played the role of Captain Franklin Sheppard on the short-lived drama Jericho. He co-starred with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1968 fantasy musical Finian’s Rainbow, which was his most famous film role.

A Connection to the Indigenous Culture

In the early 1970s, Francks left the entertainment industry and moved to the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan, where he adopted the name Iron Buffalo and lived with the Cree people. He learned their language, customs, and spirituality, and became an honorary member of the tribe. He also participated in their ceremonies, such as the Sun Dance and the Sweat Lodge.

He returned to Toronto in 1974, but maintained his connection to the Indigenous culture. He narrated a CBC documentary series called This Land, which explored the Canadian nature, wildlife, and life in remote communities. He also portrayed the writer Grey Owl, who was of mixed ancestry and lived among the Ojibwe people, in an episode of the series.

He continued to act in film and TV, appearing in shows such as La Femme Nikita, The Listener, and Gangland Undercover. He also voiced several characters in animated shows, such as Inspector Gadget, The Care Bears, and Heavy Metal. He also composed songs and played various instruments, such as the trombone, the drums, and the flute.

A Legacy of Talent and Diversity

Don Francks died on April 3, 2016, in Toronto, after a battle with lung cancer. He was survived by his wife, Lili Francks, and four children, including actress Cree Summer and actor Rainbow Sun Francks, who followed in his footsteps and became successful in the entertainment industry. He also had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Don Francks was a talented and versatile performer who had a passion for music and acting. He was also a curious and adventurous person who embraced different cultures and lifestyles. He left behind a legacy of diverse and memorable works that spanned several decades and genres. He was a Canadian star who shone in many ways.