Carl Franklin
Birth Date:
April 11, 1949
Birth Place:
Richmond, California, USA
Famous for:
His role in 'Devil in a Blue Dress' (1995)
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One False Move


American actor/director/screenwriter Carl Franklin rose to fame after successfully collaborating with actor/screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton in the thriller One False Move (1992), in which his directorial attempt won him accolades and brought home a Mystfest Award, an Independent Spirit Award, an MTV Movie Award, a Grand Prix Award, as well as a Cognac Festival du Film Policier’s Critics Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s New Generation Award. Franklin was also critically applauded for his fine screenwriting and directing in the crime mystery thriller Devil in a Blue Dress (1995, earned an Edgar Allan Poe and San Sebastián International Film Festival nominations) and Out of Time (2003, received a Black Reel nomination), both of which featured rising actor Denzel Washington.

Franklin, who in 1996 was handed a Franklin J. Schaffner Award from the American Film Institute, established his onscreen career as an actor. Recurrently, he played typecast characters of an officer or military man and was seen in the cop drama series “Caribe” (1975, starred as Sgt. Mark Walters), “McClain’s Law” (1981, had the regular role of Detective Jerry Cross) and the self-directed Eye of the Eagle II: Inside the Enemy (1989, as Col. Rawlins).

On a more private note, Franklin formerly had two failed marriages, one of which gave him two children. Currently, he is seeing Jesse Beaton.

Aspiring Lawyer

Childhood and Family:

Carl Michael Franklin was born on April 11, 1949, in Richmond, California. His father died before he was born and his mother, a homemaker, married a carpenter.

The bright Carl, who initially wished to be a lawyer or teacher, received a scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley. Frequent involvement in the college’s theater department triggered his interest in acting. Soon after graduation, Carl relocated to New York to start his acting career. In 1986, he studied acting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

As for his private life, the actor/director previously had two marriages, both of which ended in divorce. From one of the marriages, he has two children.

Devil in a Blue Dress


In New York, Carl Franklin sharpened up his acting skills by performing at Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival in such plays as “Cymbeline,” “Timon of Athens” and “Twelfth Night.” He then took part in productions at New York’s Lincoln Center and Joseph Papp Public Theater, and at Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage.

Franklin made his movie acting debut with the supporting turn of Marvin in the comedy Five on the Black Hand Side (1973), where he was billed as Carl Mikal Franklin. A year later, he went to the small screen, guest performing in the action drama series “The Streets of San Francisco” (1974) and had the small part of Hovey in television’s It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy (1974).

Franklin undertook the starring turn of Sgt. Mark Walters in the cop drama series “Caribe” (1975), guest starred as Larry in the sitcom “Good Times” (1975, 1976), costarred with Jared Martin and Ike Eisenmann in the short-lived sci-fi series “The Fantastic Journey” (1976) and appeared in the western miniseries “Centennial” (1978). He was also seen as Joshua Brown in the western fantasy movie The Legend of the Golden Gun (1979, TV) before making appearances in the series “Lou Grant” (1980), “McClain’s Law” (1981, had the regular role of Detective Jerry Cross) and “Quincy M.E.” (1983).

After playing Officer Lloyd Green in the TV romantic comedy One Cooks, the Other Doesn’t (1983), the actor accepted the recurring role of Captain Crane in the popular NBC action comedy series “The A-Team” (1985). He was also seen with guest roles “Hill Street Blues” (1986) and “ALF” (1987) and Too Good to Be True (1988, TV).

Franklin, who at first wrote and directed the short film Punk (1986) as his Masters thesis at AFI, tried movie directing and screenwriting with the action thriller Eye of the Eagle II: Inside the Enemy (1989), in which he also had the supporting role of Col. Rawlins. The same year, he directed David Carradine and Jason Priestley in Nowhere to Run (1989). Next, Franklin played authority characters in his self-directed Full Fathom Five (1990, played Navy crew Fletcher), self-written Last Stand at Lang Mei (1990, as Sgt. T. Deveraux) and In the Heat of Passion (1992, took the part of Detective Rooker).

Also in 1992, the director successfully worked with screenwriters Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson in the drama thriller One False Move (1992) and reaped a number of awards, such as a Mystfest, an Independent Spirit and an MTV Movie for Best Director, as well as a Cognac Festival du Film Policier’s Critics award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s New Generation award and a Grand Prix. For the same movie, he was also nominated for International Fantasy Film and Mystfest’s Best Film.

A guest star of the sitcom “Roseanne” (1991, 1992), Franklin next focused on directing with the TV drama Laurel Avenue (1993). He performed even better with the crime mystery thriller Devil in a Blue Dress (1995, starring Denzel Washington), his screen adaptation of Walter Mosley’s book. Skillfully carrying out the double tasks of directing and screenwriting, Franklin was soon nominated for Edgar Allan Poe’s Best Motion Picture and San Sebastián International Film Festival’s Golden Seashell. The following year, he was awarded with a Franklin J. Schaffner award from the American Film Institute.

The filmmaker also worked with actresses Renee Zellweger and Meryl Streep in the touching adaptation of Anna Quindlen’s autobiographical novel One True Thing (1998). After helming the ephemeral series “Partners” (1999), Franklin directed High Crimes (2002, featuring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd) and rejoined Denzel Washington in Out of Time (2003, received a Black Reel’s Best Director nomination).

Franklin’s next directorial work, the TV comedy drama Low Life, is slated for release in 2006. Featuring actors Minnie Driver, Eddie Izzard, Shannon Marie Woodward and Aidan Mitchell, the TV movie will depict the effort of a dysfunctional couple trying to lead an orderly life. The director will also direct actress Jennifer Aniston in the upcoming drama The Senator’s Wife (2007).


  • American Film Institute: Franklin J. Schaffner Award, 1996
  • MTV Movie: Best New Filmmaker, One False Move, 1993
  • Cognac Festival du Film Policier: Critics Award, One False Move, 1993
  • Grand Prix: One False Move, 1993
  • Independent Spirit: Best Director, One False Move, 1993
  • Mystfest: Best Direction, One False Move, 1992
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: New Generation Award, 1992
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