Roy Frumkes

Share This:


Enchanted by his grandfather’s stories of the golden days of vaudeville (Bernard Burke was the leading Keith Circuit Booking Agent of the 20’s and numbered Houdini among his clientele), Roy followed his childhood dreams of filmmaking, and has been producing, writing and/or directing motion pictures for thirty years.

His first, as Assistant Director and Associate Producer, was The Projectionist starring, in his film debut, a then-unknown Rodney Dangerfield. It developed a cult following and was chosen by The Museum of Modern Art as one of the three best films of 1971 (the other two were McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Death in Venice).

Roy directed the TV special An Evening at Dangerfield’s, and later wrote and directed Burt’s Bikers, a docudrama about Down’s Syndrome children narrated by Academy Award winner Glanda Jackson. It was telecast on NBC.

The Comeback Trail
with Buster Crabbe and Shriek-Out with Judd Hirsch, two films with which Roy was creatively involved, were either barely seen (the former) or not seen at all (the latter). In 1987, Roy wrote and produced the feature Street Trash, an aggressive black comedy destined for cult status. It won several foreign festival awards, and is still shown globally in fests, most recently at Fantasia Montreal and Fantasia Toronto, both in 1998.

From 1977 to 2011, Roy wrote/produced, directed and appeared in Document of the Dead. A comprehensive documentary study of independent filmmaking in the US., Document focusses on the career of director George Romero. A special edition of Document of the Dead was released on DVD by Synapse Films in 1998, featuring commentary by Roy and others involved in its production. Those who think Roy looks young for his years need only check out Document, in which he ages ten years before your eyes. The film’s latest iteration, The Definitive Document of the Dead, was released in 2012.

With writing partner Rocco Simnonelli, Roy has written dozens of screenplays over the past twenty years. The Substitute did quite well, particularly on video, and spawned Substitute 2,3, and 4..

Roy was a member until 2013 of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures since he got out of college in 1966. He wrote for FIR for thirty years before purchasing the magazine from the NBR in ’96 with co-owner Joe Anderson. Prior to that Roy was Managing Editor of the exquisite home theater magazine The Perfect Vision.

From 1985 to 1994 Roy co-produced and co-directed the annual D.W.Griffith Awards Ceremony, working with the likes of Paul Newman, Bette Davis, William Hurt, Steven Spielberg, Kirk And Michael Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Jodie Foster and Sean Connery. These were wild events, and his stories will filter into FIR‘s pages for years to come.

And, currently, in addition to the aforementioned dispersions of his time, Roy teaches film history and screenwriting at The School of Visual Arts, which he considers the finest film school on the East Coast.