Obituary: Arnold “Arnie” Frank

Film executive, producer, musician, agent

Arnold “Arnie” Frank, film executive, producer, musician, and agent to myriad famed entertainers, died November 12 following a fall in his Claremont home. He was 93 and working to the end.

Arnie was a life member of both the Motion Picture Academy’s Executive Branch and the American Federation of Musicians, Local 47, Hollywood.

“Arnie always marched to the beat of his own drum, literally and figuratively,” his family shared.

Born September 28, 1929, he was raised in Brooklyn, New York. By the age of 14 he had formed his own band and was performing in the Catskills. A talented drummer, he later would be instrumental in the creation of the revolutionary vinyl Remo Weather King drumhead, which eliminated the use of calf skins.

He was a percussionist in the U.S. Army’s band during the Korean War, and later with the Brooklyn, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood symphony orchestras. He recorded with Nelson Riddle and toured the country playing major hotels and clubs.

When his band eventually made it to Las Vegas, he would study while drumming and used the time to earn a law degree. It was there that he met and married the love of his life, Joan, in 1956; she was a chorus line dance captain at the Dunes Hotel. They spent 66 years together.

He was at his best when he was developing a new project. For a decade in the 1960s, he was a partner in establishing a California chain of music stores, Drum City Guitar Town. He followed that with a stint at the Associated Booking Corporation before starting Total Entertainment, booking and guiding the early careers of Redd Foxx, Lou Rawls, Little Richard, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Marty Ingels, and many others.

He originated the Crime Channel, after which he started Stage Shows International, producing live concerts in Palm Springs that featured Tony Orlando, Carol Channing, Leslie Uggams, The Kingston Trio, and Mel Tillis, among others.

“Arnie lived his life following his own familiar advice: straight ahead,” his family said.

He is survived by his wife Joan; son Adam Tyler (Nena Rodrigue); daughter Lisa Daniels (Vernon); grandson James Elliot (Jett); and sister, Anita King (Jack).

A celebration of life will take place later this year.


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