Celebrity Photo

Ben Frommer

  • Highest Rated: 86% Car Wash (1976)
  • Lowest Rated: 33% Doctor Detroit (1983)
  • Birthday: Jun 12, 1913
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • Ben Frommer was the epitome of the successful character actor. Across a screen career totaling more than 40 years, he worked in over 100 film roles and possibly twice as many parts on television, ranging from just a few seconds of screen time in feature films to regular work on one of the more popular western series of the mid-1960s. And in virtually all of it, as with so many of the best people in his profession, he melted so well into the parts he played that audiences were seldom possessed to even ask his name. Ironically, it was in one of the cheapest -- and perhaps THE cheapest -- production on which he ever worked, in a part scarcely larger, or of longer duration than his typical background and supporting role, that Frommer earned his lingering name recognition. Born in Poland in 1913, Frommer arrived in Hollywood as an actor in the early 1940s, making his screen bow with an uncredited appearance in the 1943 Olsen & Johnson vehicle Crazy House. He next showed up in a bit part in the Laurence Tierney-starring film noir Born To Kill (1947). Frommer's short stature and fireplug-like physique, coupled with his rough-hewn features, made him ideal for playing working-class background parts such as deliverymen and taxi drivers. Most of his work was in lower-budgeted films, including exploitation fare such as Sid Melton's Bad Girls Do Cry (shot in the mid-1950s but not issued till much later). And it was in low-budget films -- some of the lowest budgeted ever made, in fact -- that Frommer would achieve a form of immortality as an actor.It was writer/producer/director Edward D. Wood, Jr. who gave Frommer the opportunity to play a slightly wider range of parts. In Bride Of the Monster, Frommer was cast as a surly drunk, while in Wood's magnum opus, Plan 9 From Outer Space, he is the mourner who is charged by the script with providing the explanation as to why the old man (played by Bela Lugosi in footage shot for a movie that was never made) is buried in a crypt, while his wife (Maila "Vampira" Nurmi) is buried in the ground. The dialogue is as awkward as anything else in the notoriously poorly made (but thoroughly entertaining) movie, but Frommer does his best to deliver it convincingly, in what was almost certainly one very rushed take. Around this time, Frommer also showed up in the horror film Cult of the Cobra and the outsized production of Around The World In 80 Days, and a lot more television as well -- he also began providing voices for animated productions, a professional activity that would occupy ever more of his time later in his career. He worked in pictures by John Ford (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), Alfred Hitchcock (Torn Curtain), and Mervyn LeRoy (Gypsy), but it was during this same period, from 1965 through 1967, that Frommer achieved his widest weekly exposure on television, when he was cast in the comedic western series F-Troop in the role of Smokey Bear, the squat, chunky (and uncredited) member of the Hekawi Indian tribe. He usually did little more than hold the reigns of the horses ridden by Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch's characters, but he was impossible to miss in a shot.Frommer remained a very busy character actor and voice-actor over the next two decades, and only slowed down during his final years in the profession. During that time, he took on the new profession of publicist for his fellow actors. He died in 1992 at the age of 78.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

81% Scarface Male Patron $0.7M 1983
59% Psycho II Sexton 1983
33% Doctor Detroit Faculty Member 1983
61% American Pop Nicky Palumbo 1981
No Score Yet Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype Sgt. Gurnisht Hilln 1980
86% Car Wash Actor 1976
67% Plan 9 from Outer Space Man 1959
45% Bride of the Monster Drunk 1955
No Score Yet Hell's Island Actor 1955
No Score Yet Bad Girls Do Cry Actor 1954
80% Born to Kill Delivery Boy 1947

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet The Jeffersons
1975-1985
Fisherman
  • 1982
No Score Yet Quincy, M.E.
1976-1983
Man at Accident Scene Waiter
  • 1981
33% Battlestar Galactica
1978-1980
Nogow
  • 1978
No Score Yet Ironside
1967-1975
Flower Vendor
  • 1973
No Score Yet The Odd Couple
1970-1975
Gonzales
  • 1970

QUOTES FROM Ben Frommer CHARACTERS

Man
Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?
Man
Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?