Great Western Director FRANK Q DOBBS Dies
Hollywood cult film director and producer, Frank Q Dobbs, has died at 66. Dobbs, a Texan who loved writing Westerns, became a legend in the Texas film industry. He died from cancer.
Dobbs was from Houston, and though he spent a lot of time in Hollywood, he often preferred to film in his native Texas. An old colleague described him as a real friend to the Lone Star State. "Frank in a way was kind of like a walking Texas Film Commission," said Tom Copeland, a former executive director of the Texas Film Commission. "So many of those films would never have been done here if not for Frank."
BUG BIT EARLY
A friend and colleague of the director, Caleb Pirtle, said Dobbs' got the bug for filmmaking very early. He bought his first camera with money he saved from his job working at a local theatre. "Dobbs was known as a great storyteller, whether he was holding court on location or on a street corner, writing a script or letting the camera portray a visual image," Pirtle said.
After university, where he majored in journalism, Hobbs got into TV news, but always wanted to make movies. His former news director Frank Miller says “"He was the hardest working guy I think I ever knew. He worked all the time, he was thoroughly focused on making movies."
LEGENDARY TV GUNSMOKE
His first Hollywood job was on the set of TV series Gunsmoke. He held the reins of horses for the actors between takes.
"I was on location, I had a front row seat to the production of one of America's most highly rated shows. I learned everything I could possibly be taught by some of the real masters of television drama," Dobbs said later of this experience.
He went on to write scripts for the long-running series. Dobbs wrote, directed and produced various projects for film and television, working with actors like Burt Reynolds, Burl Ives, Sissy Spacek and Ann-Margret.
He produced and directed King Solomon's Mines, A Place Called Home, Hotwire and Mysterious Island among others and a low budget horror film he made before moving to Hollywood, Enter the Devil, became a cult classic.
Houston: The Legend of Texas, a CBS special about the life of Sam Houston, won the Wrangler Trophy. His script for Gambler V: Playing for Keeps earned him a place in the Motion Picture Hall of Fame. He produced two films developed by Larry McMurtry, Streets of Laredo and Dead Man's Walk. He also produced The Last Cowboy, Johnson County War, Texas Rangers, The Legend of Billy the Kid and Rough Riders.
He won Emmys for documentaries Tell It Like It Is and A.K.A. Billy the Kidd.
"He's one of the last real western writers. A lot of the films he wrote were westerns," said Tom Copeland, who says that was one of his Dobbs' major contributions to the film industry. "He's a loss in every sense. A great human being, as well as a great filmmaker," Miller said.