Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he realized his natural talent to handle a camera. After his military discharge he began a TV career in 1953 convincing CBS to hire him as an assistant director, which consisted mainly working as a cameraman at that time. He eventually started to direct the show he was working on as an assistant director. Frankenheimer still didn’t want to direct films. He liked to direct live television, and he would have continued to do it if the profession itself hadn’t cease to exist. He first turned to the big screen with The Young Stranger (1957) which he hated to do because he thought he didn’t understand movies and wasn’t used to work with only one camera. Disappointed his with first feature film experience he returned to his successful television career directing a total of 152 live television shows between 1954 and 1960. He took another chance to move to the cinema industry, working with Burt Lancaster in The Young Savages (1961) ending up becoming a successful filmmaker best known by expressing on films his views on important social and philosophical topics.
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