October 4, 1996

Theatrical colleagues pay tribute to Mark Frankel


Tributes are pouring in from the theatrical world for Mark Frankel – star of the hit movie ‘Leon the Pig Farmer’ – who was killed in a road crash last week. The 34-year-old actor died in a hospital from injuries sustained when his Harley Davidson collided with a lorry in Chiswick, West London.

His funeral service at Kingston Liberal Synagogue was attended by many of his co-stars and professional colleagues with whom he had become firm friends. Among the mourners were Gina Bellman, Jason Isaacs and Gary Sinyor, who directed two of the actor’s films.

To British audiences, Mark Frankel was probably best known for his lead role as Leon in Vadim Jean’s and Mr. Sinyor’s award-winning comedy, in which he portrayed a Jewish North-West London estate agent who discovers he’s really the son of a Yorkshire pig farmer. He went on to star in Gary Sinyor’s second comedy film “Solitaire for Two” in which the romantic lead of a suave, smooth-talker was written specially for him.

Brought up in Long Ditton, Surrey, his “Englishness” also made him an actor in demand in the US. There he was known to viewers as a rich recluse in the popular NBC series “Sisters” and an action hero in “Fortune Hunter” on cable channel TNT. He also co-starred in another hit American TV series “The Kindred,” produced by 20th Century Fox. He had completed another movie, “Roseanna’s Grave,” on location in Italy earlier this year.

Paying tribute for the actor, Mr. Sinyor told the JC, “We worked closely professionally and were very good friends. I expected to continue seeing him on a regular basis for the rest of my life. I can’t remember a time in his company when I wasn’t feeling happy.”

A spokesman for the star’s agent added, “He was on the verge of becoming a massive star. We’ve never met anyone with so much life and energy. He will be very much missed”.

Mr. Frankel leaves a wife, Caroline, who is expecting their second child, and a two-year-old son, Fabian.