Though most famous as Capt. Englehorn, the ship captain who carried the expedition to an island to capture the great ape in King Kong (1933)–and its sequel, Son of Kong (1933)–Frank Reicher had a long history as a stage actor and director, and film director, prior to his “Kong” appearances, and in fact has more than 200 film roles to his credit.
Born in Munich, Germany, in 1875, he trained in Europe and then moved to New York in 1899 to act on the stage. His success there got him called to Hollywood in 1915, where he not only acted in films but also directed them. He took a few years off from his film career in 1921 to return to the New York stage, but then came back to Hollywood in 1926 and stayed there. He had a prolific career, acting and directing for most of the major studios, and was highly regarded in Hollywood not only as a filmmaker but as an acting teacher. In the World War II era he often played Nazi officials, or anti-Nazi partisans, and even turned up as a professor in The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), a role he repeated in its sequel, The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), and he played a succession of mad doctors, or their assistants, in several other Univeral horror films.
He made his final film in 1951, and died in 1965.