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Obituaries : Richard Frank; Versatile Stage and TV Actor

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Richard Frank, critically acclaimed stage actor who achieved his greatest popularity as Jules Bennett on the television series “Anything but Love,” has died. He was 42.

Frank, who usually portrayed gay roles, died Sunday at Midway Hospital in Los Angeles of the complications of AIDS.

A versatile actor equally comfortable with Shakespeare and modern works, Frank earned praise for a “thermonuclear” performance when he originated the role of attorney Roy Cohn in the landmark play “Angels in America--Millennium Approaches” at the Mark Taper Forum.

Frank earned the 1991 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance as the homosexual window dresser Molina in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. He had also performed the role to good East Coast reviews in 1988 at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn.

The actor won a Dramalogue award for his portrayal of Herman in “Five Easy Pieces” at Los Angeles’ Taper, Too in 1985.

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Earlier this year, Frank appeared as Philinte in “The Misanthrope” at South Coast Repertory Theater and as a bisexual theater director in the Los Angeles and the national touring productions of “The Sisters Rosensweig.”

When “Sisters” was presented in his hometown of Boston, Frank was asked if he ever worried about forgetting lines on stage.

“That’s the biggest theater myth of all,” he replied. “The lines are learned during rehearsal. What concerns you is losing focus. You need to keep concentrated. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”

Although he considered theater the purest form of acting, Frank also appeared in films, most notably as Salieri’s confessor in “Amadeus” in 1985, and on TV.

Besides the role of Bennett in the 1989 television series starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Frank had roles on “Cagney & Lacey,” “Night Court,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Newhart,” “Remington Steele” and “Falcon Crest.”

A watercolorist, Frank published humorous coloring books, “The R Coloring Book” and"The Struggling Actor’s Coloring Book.”

Frank graduated from the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School.

He is survived by his parents, Jeanne and Phillip Frank of Sarasota, Fla., and his sister, Diane Frank of Melbourne, Fla.

Services are scheduled Sunday in Sharon, Mass., and from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the home he shared with his late companion, George Lowe, 1036 Coronado Terrace, Los Angeles.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Salk Institute, in care of Ann Mound, Box 85800, San Diego, Calif. 92186-5800.


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