February 28, 1932
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
April 3, 2016
A man of many talents, Dan Francks (also known as Iron Buffalo) has earned a reputation as an actor, poet, drummer, activist, and jazz musician. Born on February 28, 1932, in Vancouver, Francks began his entertainment career at age 11 in vaudeville and summer stock. After working as a vocalist in radio, he made the transition to television in 1954 on "Burns Chuckwagon from the Stampede Corral." By 1959, he'd landed a spot as a series regular on "R.C.M.P." He worked in TV steadily throughout the '60s, including a recurring role on "Jericho," a show which was cancelled after "Batman" defeated it soundly in its timeslot. In film, his first big role came in 1968's Francis Ford Coppola's "Finian's Rainbow," in which he co-starred with screen legend Fred Astaire. The film failed to launch Francks, and he moved with his wife, Lili Francks, a member of the Plains Cree First Nation, to the Red Pheasant Indian Reserve near North Battleford, Saskatchewan, where he became an honorary Cree and earned the name Iron Buffalo. In the '80s, Francks explored voice work, and added his vocals to more than 60 episodes of the popular kids cartoon "Inspector Gadget," on which his daughter, Cree Summer, voiced the precocious Penny. In a career that has spanned five decades, Francks has landed more than 130 roles on film and television, but is best remembered for his work as Walter, the loyal munitions head, of the long-running espionage series "La Femme Nikita."