And while the name may not be familiar, his face will bring an instant smile to anyone that should stumble upon his work. Television buffs know him as the rich teen, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, or as the murderer in The Case of the Deadly Verdict, which was the only episode that Perry Mason lost, as well as numerous comic characters on Bewitched and Love American Style, just to name a few.
And while his television work is memorable, it's his role as the drunken butler in the 1968 Blake Edwards film, The Party, that will forever make one wonder as to why this guy was not a household name. For in that one movie, Steve Franken does not only upstage the comic genius of Peter Sellers, but he does it throughout the entire film.
Had The Party come out today, Steve Franken would have most likely become an instant host of Saturday Night Live and probably would have had a career similar to Steve Carell. Alas, the God's of fame work in mysterious ways and while we're blessed that his supporting roles in television and film are still around for generations to enjoy, we're left to ponder what might have been had he had the chance with a leading comedic role.