February 5, 1995


As a body-language expert in love, actor Mark Frankel is set for another film hit in a British comedy

Sally Beck


With dreamy brown eyes and a chiseled profile that could turn heads in a convent, Mark Frankel is a rising star to watch – especially as a body-language expert in the new romantic comedy Solitaire for 2.

As the lead in the surprise British hit Leon the Pig Farmer, Frankel showed his aptitude for comedy. In Solitaire for 2, as the lover of a palaeontologist with extra sensory perception – played by the gorgeous Amanda Pays – he shows an altogether more raunchy and self assured side.

But it’s a self-assurance that has grown from tragedy. The death of his older brother Joe, four years ago, left Mark with a sense that few things in life are worth taking seriously. Very little frightens him any more.

He was filming with Vanessa Redgrave in St. Petersburg when he received the news.

“I was told that my brother Joe had been killed in a plane crash. He was flying a Tiger Moth plane he had rebuilt himself when a light aircraft flew into its side. The other plane went down instantly, killing the three passengers and crashing into a school playing field. Luckily the children managed to scatter before the plane hit the field.

“Joe managed to fly on for nearly a mile over the school. I like to believe that he would have done anything to keep the plane away from the school.”

Joe, an aerobatics pilot, was 30, three years older than Mark, when he died. Mark had always worshipped his older brother.

“I thought, whatever happened in life, my brother would be there forever. When I went flying with him, we did some incredible stunts and I thought that nothing could ever happen to him. After the accident, I felt like part of me had died with him.

“I tried to go to auditions but they seemed meaningless. Then I began to get stronger and stronger, as if I was taking on my brother’s strength.” Risk-taking runs in the family: Mark owns a Ducati, Suzuki and a Harley-Davidson, and admits he loves the fast life.

“I do some very dangerous things. I go drag racing and I’ve jumped out of planes skydiving. There’s no more carousing around for me. I feel life’s there to be lived because I know how short it can be.”