Don Francks (28 February 1932 – 3 April 2016), also known as Iron Buffalo, was born in British Columbia in 1932. This celebrated singer and actor is widely regarded as one of the finest and most authentic jazz voices in Canada, having released several recordings including “Jackie Gleason Says: No One in This World is Like Don Francks” (with guitar legend Lenny Breau) , “Lost and Alone” (featuring orchestra arrangements by conductor Patrick Williams) and the original motion-picture soundtrack to Finian’s Rainbow; among others.
Francks has starred in many CBC television specials with jazz compatriots Jimmy Dale, Guido Basso, pianist Maury Kaye and the late, great Ron Collier. In August 1962, the Don Francks Trio with Lenny Breau debuted at Toronto’s Purple Onion. Later, he moved to New York City where he performed on The Jackie Gleason Show, sang at The Blue Angel, and recorded a live album at the Village Vanguard. He also made several appearances on the Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Dick Cavett and Merv Griffin shows. Next stop: Hollywood, where he guest-starred in shows like The Wild Wild West, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mannix, and Mission: Impossible. “La Femme Nikita”, “The Listener”, “My Bloody Valentine” and “I’m Not There”. His list of work as a voice-over artist for ads and cartoons is simply too vast to even begin mentioning.
He is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation. Iron Buffalo finished his earthwalk on 3 April 2016 at the age of 84 years young. What a ride.
See Don’s Wikipedia page for more biographical details, including his extensive filmography.
Don is also listed in the Canadian Icons Project
Globe and Mail Obituary – Singer, actor Don Francks was a fountain of endless creativity
Asylum Artists head shot – photo credit Don Dixon