Biography

Frank DeKova parlayed a sinister scowl, piercing eyes and an all-around menacing attitude into a long career of playing cold-blooded trigger-men, rampaging Indian chiefs, brutal Mexican army officers and the like. So it would probably come as a shock to those who know his work to discover that, before he became an actor, he was--of all things--a schoolteacher.

Born in New York in 1910, DeKova gave up teaching for the stage, and played in many Shakespearean productions before getting work on Broadway. One of his first starring roles was in the classic detective play "Detective Story", which got him noticed and brought to Hollywood. He debuted in Viva Zapata! (1952) as the devious Mexican colonel who sets up Zapata's assassination. For the next several years he played an assortment of gangsters, killers, gunfighters and Indians--with time out to play a prehistoric patriarch in Roger Corman's campy Teenage Cave Man (1958)--and did much television work, including a standout job as a Mafia hit-man assigned to kill Elliot Ness in Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: The Untouchables: Part 1 (1959). The role for which he will be most remembered, however, is probably the one that was his most atypical: the scheming, somewhat untrustworthy but very funny Hekawi Chief Wild Eagle, the partner to Forrest Tucker's Sgt. O'Rourke in O'Rourke's various schemes to make money, in the western comedy series F Troop (1965). He showed a previously unknown talent for comedy and managed to steal most of the scenes he was in from such veterans as Tucker and Larry Storch. He died in his sleep in 1981.

Frank DeKova parlayed a sinister scowl, piercing eyes and an all-around menacing attitude into a long career of playing cold-blooded trigger-men, rampaging Indian chiefs, brutal Mexican army officers and the like. So it would probably come as a shock to those who know his work to discover that, before he became an actor, he was--of all things--a schoolteacher.

Born in New York in 1910, DeKova gave up teaching for the stage, and played in many Shakespearean productions before getting work on Broadway. One of his first starring roles was in the classic detective play "Detective Story", which got him noticed and brought to Hollywood. He debuted in Viva Zapata! (1952) as the devious Mexican colonel who sets up Zapata's assassination. For the next several years he played an assortment of gangsters, killers, gunfighters and Indians--with time out to play a prehistoric patriarch in Roger Corman's campy Teenage Cave Man (1958)--and did much television work, including a standout job as a Mafia hit-man assigned to kill Elliot Ness in Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: The Untouchables: Part 1 (1959). The role for which he will be most remembered, however, is probably the one that was his most atypical: the scheming, somewhat untrustworthy but very funny Hekawi Chief Wild Eagle, the partner to Forrest Tucker's Sgt. O'Rourke in O'Rourke's various schemes to make money, in the western comedy series F Troop (1965). He showed a previously unknown talent for comedy and managed to steal most of the scenes he was in from such veterans as Tucker and Larry Storch. He died in his sleep in 1981.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 93

Birthday 1910-03-17

Day of Death 1981-10-15

Place of Birth New York - USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Frank DeKova

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1982 Hey Good Lookin' as Old Vinnie (voice)
1981 American Pop as Crisco (voice)
1980 Mafia on the Bounty as Rupolo
1978 Cat in the Cage as Rachid Khan
1978 The Incredible Hulk (1 episode)
1975 The Swiss Family Robinson (1 episode)
1975 Johnny Firecloud as White Eagle
1975 Baretta (1 episode)
1974 Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes as Big Tony (as Frank deKova)
1974 The Rockford Files (1 episode) as Nova (as Frank De Kova)
1974 Police Woman (1 episode)
1974 Little House on the Prairie (2 episodes)
1974 Run, Joe, Run (1 episode)
1973 The Don Is Dead as Giunta
1973 The Slams as Capiello
1973 Heavy Traffic as Angelo "Angie" Corleone
1973 Toma (1 episode)
1973 Police Story (1 episode)
1972 The Mechanic as The Man
1971 Cannon (1 episode)
1970 The Wild Country as Two Dog
1968 Hawaii Five-O (1 episode)
1967 The High Chaparral (1 episode)
1967 The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle as Narrator (voice)
1965 The F.B.I. (2 episodes)
1965 F Troop (65 episodes) as Chief Wild Eagle
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told as The tormentor
1965 Those Calloways as Nigosh
1964 Daniel Boone (2 episodes)
1963 Kraft Suspense Theatre (1 episode)
1963 The Greatest Show on Earth (1 episode)
1963 The Dakotas (1 episode)
1962 The Gallant Men (1 episode)
1962 Follow That Dream as Jack (as Frank de Kova)
1961 Ben Casey (1 episode)
1961 Atlantis: The Lost Continent as Sonoy the Astrologer
1960 The Roaring 20's (2 episodes)
1960 Route 66 (1 episode)
1960 Surfside 6 (1 episode)
1960 The Islanders (1 episode)
1960 Outlaws (1 episode)
1960 Thriller (1 episode)
1960 The Tall Man (1 episode)
1960 The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond as Syndicate Chairman
1959 The Detectives (1 episode)
1959 The Jayhawkers! as Evans
1959 Hawaiian Eye (1 episode)
1959 The Rebel (1 episode)
1959 The Alaskans (1 episode)
1959 Laramie (1 episode)
1959 Johnny Staccato (1 episode)
1959 Day of the Outlaw as Denver, Bruhn's Gang
1959 The Lawless Years (1 episode)
1959 Black Saddle (1 episode)
1959 Rawhide (2 episodes)
1958 77 Sunset Strip (3 episodes)
1958 The Rifleman (2 episodes)
1958 Peter Gunn (1 episode)
1958 Apache Territory as Lugo (as Frank deKova)
1958 Teenage Caveman as The Black-Bearded One (as Frank De Kova)
1958 Machine-Gun Kelly as Harry
1958 The Brothers Karamazov as Capt. Vrublevski
1958 Cowboy as Alcaide
1957 Ride Out for Revenge as Chief Yellow Wolf
1957 The Walter Winchell File (1 episode)
1957 Maverick (1 episode)
1957 Run of the Arrow as Red Cloud (as Frank De Kova)
1957 Appointment with a Shadow as Dutch Hayden
1957 Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1 episode)
1956 Reprisal! as Charlie Washackle
1956 The White Squaw as Yellow Elk
1956 Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers (1 episode)
1956 The Ten Commandments as Abiram
1956 Santiago as Jingo
1956 The Lone Ranger as Chief Red Hawk (as Frank deKova)
1955 Shack Out on 101 as Prof. Claude Dillon
1955 Hold Back Tomorrow as Priest
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (2 episodes)
1955 Cheyenne (4 episodes)
1955 Gunsmoke (5 episodes)
1955 The Man from Laramie as Padre
1955 Strange Lady in Town as Anse Hatlo
1954 They Rode West as Isatai
1954 Drum Beat as Modoc Jim
1954 The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (2 episodes)
1954 Passion as Martinez (as Frank de Kova)
1953 King of the Khyber Rifles as Ali Nur
1953 Fighter Attack as Benedetto
1953 Arrowhead as Chief Chattez
1953 The Desert Song as Mindar
1953 Split Second as Dummy
1952 Viva Zapata! as Col. Guarjarado
1948 Ford Theatre (1 episode)

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