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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Sunset Carson is about to tangle with Weldon Heyburn (on the left) in CODE OF THE PRAIRIE (Republic, 1944). Check out Sunset's gunbelt with the butts forward. Also note the tape wrapped around the grip on Heyburn's six-shooter. Heyburn was about forty years old when he did this western.

Above from the March, 1932 issue of New Movie magazine (available at the Internet Archive).

Weldon Heyburn

Full name: Weldon Heyburn Franks


Biographies on Weldon Heyburn are confusing - some have him born in 1903, 1904 or 1910 in Washington D. C.

Weldon Heyburn Franks was born in 1903. Other information indicates that his birth place MAY be Delaware City, Delaware which is about 110 miles northeast of Washington D. C.

His parents were Marie Pierce and Wyatt G. Franks, and father Wyatt was in U.S. government service and a U. S. Army officer. Son Weldon served (briefly) in the U. S. Army Signal Corps during World War II. Both father and son are interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Weldon studied law at the University of Alabama, and is listed in their 1924 yearbook as a member of the Class of 1925. Unsure of his graduation as he shows up as the lead in "Honors Are Even", a play which opened Labor Day, 1924 in Lynn, Massachusetts. Perhaps the "acting bug" overruled his law school and college plans.

His stage career continued off and on for over twenty years. In his early years, he did stock theater which included a run as "Abie" in one of the many touring companies of "Abie's Irish Rose". In 1927, he was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with the Anne Bronaugh Players. And in 1928 and 1929, he was doing leading man duties at the Temple and Empire Theaters in Syracuse, New York. His Broadway debut occurred circa 1928.

Hollywood noticed his theater work and Heyburn signed with Fox in 1931 where he did mostly featured roles. Example: he portrayed "Abdulah" in the Bela Lugosi and Edmund Lowe CHANDU THE MAGICIAN (Fox, 1932). His first western was the George O'Brien THE GAY CABALLERO (Fox, 1932). Heyburn was good looking and had a fine voice - and trade papers and fan magazines compared him to MGM's Clark Gable - see photo right.

Weldon and another Fox contractee, Greta Nissen, starred in THE SILENT WITNESS (Fox, 1932). They married in 1932 and there were many newspaper and trade blurbs on their troubled relationship. Hans Wollstein provided more on Greta and Weldon:

"Heyburn signed a contract with FOX circa 1931. The following year, he played the juvenile lead in THE SILENT WITNESS (Fox, 1932) opposite Norwegian-born actress Greta Nissen. The couple fell in love and were married March 30, 1932 in a ceremony in Tijuana, Mexico. Wedded bliss was apparently shortlived and they separated in 1934 - but not before co-starring in the low-budget HIRED WIFE (Pinnacle Prod., 1933). In 1936, Nissen was granted an annulment. "We were much better suited as friends", she explained to the press. Nissen of course is known to B-Western fans for her role opposite George O'Brien in LIFE IN THE RAW (Fox, 1933), and to everyone for her being replaced by Jean Harlow in the sound version of HELL'S ANGELS (1930)."

Greta and Weldon were together in one other film, The HIRED WIFE (Pinnacle Prod., 1933), which was lensed at the Kennedy Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After his time at Fox, Heyburn was (briefly) at Warners. In late 1935, he was back in New York City starring in "I Want a Policeman" at the Lyceum Theater. Early 1936, he returned to Hollywood for a short stint with MGM.

Though hailed as another Clark Gable, Tinseltown stardom was not in the cards for Weldon Heyburn. He was freelancing by the late 1930s, picking up starring and heavy roles at Monogram, Grand National, Republic, Columbia, others. During this period, he got meaty roles in a few westerns - there was Gene Autry's GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES (Republic, 1937) and the excellent MYSTERIOUS RIDER (Paramount, 1938), which starred Douglas Dumbrille and Russell Hayden and was crafted by Hopalong Cassidy producer Harry 'Pop' Sherman.

To fans of the western, Weldon Heyburn is probably best remembered in a batch of B westerns released during 1940-1946 from Paramount, Monogram, Republic and Columbia. These were:

Title Star/Series Company/Date
THE TRAIL BLAZERS Three Mesquiteers Republic, 1940
IN OLD COLORADO Hopalong Cassidy Paramount, 1941
STICK TO YOUR GUNS Hopalong Cassidy Paramount, 1941
THE ROUNDUP Richard Dix Paramount, 1941
CODE OF THE OUTLAW Three Mesquiteers Republic, 1942
ROCK RIVER RENEGADES Range Busters Monogram, 1942
BLAZING GUNS Trail Blazers Monogram, 1943
OVERLAND MAIL ROBBERY Wild Bill Elliott Republic, 1943
DEATH VALLEY MANHUNT Wild Bill Elliott Republic, 1943
DEATH VALLEY RANGERS Trail Blazers Monogram, 1943
WESTWARD BOUND Trail Blazers Monogram, 1944
THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Roy Rogers Republic, 1944
BORDERTOWN TRAIL Sunset Carson Republic, 1944
CODE OF THE PRAIRIE Sunset Carson Republic, 1944
FRONTIER GUNLAW Charles Starrett Columbia, 1946

There were other B grade films during those years. Examples: he was a detective in the Sidney Toler CHARLIE CHAN IN THE CHINESE CAT (Monogram, 1944) and the head of an expedition looking for a jungle fever cure in the dreadful JUNGLE MAN (PRC, 1941) which starred Buster Crabbe. He also did a brief hitch in the U. S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, serving from May 18, 1942 through his April 9, 1943 discharge.

Heyburn's screen credits run from the early 1930s until shortly before his death in 1951. In total, he did about 70 movies and about twenty were A and B grade oaters scattered over the years 1932-1946. He did no serials.

Circa 1946, his work load drops to near zero which may indicate the start of medical/health issues. In late 1949, a newspaper article noted that Heyburn was in a Birmingham hospital awaiting surgery. Alas - I found no follow-up articles with more details on his hospital stay.

Some Heyburn biographies tag him with a drinking problem. However, in reviewing dozens of newspaper and trade articles for this profile, I found no mention of alcohol abuse.

Suffering from cancer, Weldon Heyburn passed away on May 19, 1951 at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Sawtelle (Los Angeles). According to his death certificate, he had been a patient at Sawtelle for nearly a year. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery next to his father, Wyatt G. Franks.

In reviewing his life and career, we must include marriages, divorces and romantic entanglements. In addition to Greta Nissen, there were three other wives. In the mid 1920s, Weldon and English born actress Phyllis Connard did stock theater with the Mack Players in Lynn, Massachusetts. They married in 1924 and divorced in 1926. The marriage to Greta Nissen ran from 1932-1936. A few days after the official split from Nissen, Heyburn wed New York socialite Jane Eichelberger and were together until 1939. Then came a September, 1939 marriage to another east coast socialite, Virginia Maggard. Unsure when Heyburn and Virginia went their separate ways, but he was divorced when he enlisted in the Army in May, 1942. There were newspaper reports of romances with actress Grace Brinkley, a Portland, Oregon debutante named Dorothy McCallam, more.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Harry Davenport, Heyburn and Anne Nagel - from the pressbook for SALESLADY (Monogram, 1938).

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Weldon Heyburn, Carl Mathews, Max 'Alibi' Terhune, Frank Ellis and John 'Dusty' King in a scene from the Range Busters adventure ROCK RIVER RENEGADES (Monogram, 1942).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is the title lobby card for BORDERTOWN TRAIL (Republic, 1944) which starred Smiley Burnette and Sunset Carson. Weldon Heyburn is wearing the suit. Heyburn did another with Sunset and Smiley, CODE OF THE PRAIRIE (Republic, 1944).

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Weldon Heyburn:

YouTube and the Internet Archive have Heyburn starring in THE 13TH MAN (Monogram, 1937) and SEA RACKETEERS (Republic, 1937) as well as appearances in Roy Rogers' YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS (Republic, 1944), the Range Busters' ROCK RIVER RENEGADES (Monogram, 1943), the Douglas Dumbrille / Russell Hayden MYSTERIOUS RIDER (Paramount, 1938), Buster Crabbe in JUNGLE MAN (PRC, 1941), more:[]=%22weldon%20heyburn%22#collection-date-archived

Weldon Heyburn photos:
The University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, J. Willis Sayre Photograph Collection has a 1936 photo closeup of Weldon Heyburn:
The Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Janus Barfoed collection has a production still of Sunset Carson, Smiley Burnette, and Weldon Heyburn from CODE OF THE PRAIRIE (Republic, 1944):

Lots of marriages and divorces for Weldon Heyburn
We can confirm four (brief) marriages for Heyburn:

Stage actress Phyllis Connard from 1924-1926
Film actress Greta Nissen from 1932-1936
New York socialite Jane Eichelberger from 1936-1939
New York and Maryland socialite Virginia Maggard from 1939-early 1940s (Heyburn was divorced when he enlisted in the Army in May, 1942)

All four women are mentioned in the articles and links below. I've highlighted their names in this COLOR.

The Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library Digital Collections has several photos of Phyllis Connard:[title_mtxt_s][]=Phyllis%20Connard&keywords=&layout=false

Getty Images has several photos of Weldon Heyburn and wife Greta Nissen:

1920s-1930s: film and theater roles - back and forth between Broadway and Hollywood - marriages and divorces.
As mentioned, Heyburn did stock theater, Broadway plays and toured, and was under Hollywood contracts with Fox, Vitaphone and M-G-M. Tradezines, fan magazines and newspapers had many articles on his brief marriage to actresses Phyllis Connard and Greta Nissen as well as comparisons of Heyburn to Clark Gable. Below are a few highlights of his life from the mid 1920s through the late 1930s:
  • September 3, 1924 Variety: "The John B. Mack Players opened at the Auditorium, Lynn, Mass., Labor Day, with 'Honors Are Even.' " ; "The new leading woman is Phyllis Connard, and leading man, Weldon Heyburn."
  • October 15, 1924 Variety had marriage news - along with spelling errors in the names of both bride and groom - excerpts: "Lynn, Mass., Oct 14. Phyllis Conrad [sic], leading woman, and the former leading man, Waldon [sic] Heyburn ... were married last week ..." ; "... bride is a native of Liverpool, England. She will continue as leading woman with the Mack Players here."
  • May 20, 1925 Variety has a multi-page writeup on the play "Abie's Irish Rose" and the many groups of actors/actresses doing tours of that play. Heyburn is with the "Middle West Company":
    "Weldon Heyburn, the recent 'Abie' of this company, is a native of Alabama and graduate of the University of Alabama, where he made his start as an amateur in college dramatics. Next followed repertoire and stock. The past three seasons has been divided in New York productions and stock leads."
    (Tidbit: George Duryea, who became western movie hero Tom Keene, also starred as 'Abie' in an overseas touring company of that play.)
  • Newspapers carried an Associated Press article in mid October, 1926. Excerpts: "New York ... Phyllis Connard, actress, yesterday was granted a divorce from Weldon H. Franks. Franks is known on the stage as Weldon Heyburn and is leading man in a Lansing, Mich., stock company. They were married in 1924."
  • 1927 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada newspapers have Heyburn as the male lead in the play "Applesauce" co-starring with Anne Bronaugh and the Anne Bronaugh Players.
  • October 6, 1928 issue of Exhibitors Herald and Motion Picture World: "NEW YORK, Oct 2. --- Broadway stage players were given voice tests last week for roles in Mary Pickford's first all-talkie, 'Coquette,' at the Famous Players studio on Long Island." ; "Among those taking the tests were Weldon Heyburn ..."
  • Syracuse, New York newspapers have Weldon Heyburn as leading man at the Temple Theater in 1928 and the Empire Theater in 1929.
  • May 14, 1930 Variety: "Weldon Heyburn joined Sharp stock at Pitt (Pittsburgh) as leading man, replacing Emmett Vogan."
  • August 30, 1931 issue of Film Daily: Fox has signed Weldon Heyburn, a new leading man, who has played opposite many leading stars on the legitimate stage.
  • December, 1931 New Movie magazine: "JOHNNY MACK BROWN will not be at a loss for someone to talk football to, now that Weldon Heyburn has arrived in Hollywood. Johnny and Weldon used to be room-mates at the University of Alabama and both played on the same football team --- and how! After appearing on Broadway ... Weldon has been brought to Hollywood by Fox to play leading parts."
  • April 9, 1932 Hollywood Filmograph: "Col. Wyatt G. Franks, father of Weldon Heyburn, Fox Films leading man, returns to Washington D. C., April 5 (1932), after a three weeks' stay in Hollywood, during which time he witnessed the marriage of his son to Greta Nissen, also Fox featured player."
  • June, 1932 issue of Movie Classic magazine had a blurb on reporters searching for clues on whether Heyburn and Greta Nissen wed several months prior to their March, 1932 Tijuana, Mexico marriage: "Heyburn's full name, by the way, is Weldon Heyburn Franks.".
  • Various tradezines reported that Heyburn and Greta Nissen were co-starring in the ultra low budget HIRED WIFE (Pinnacle Prod., 1933) which was lensed at the Kennedy Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • January - March, 1934 issues of Film Daily mention Heyburn working in several Vitaphone shorts.
  • November 26, 1935 Film Daily: "HAILED AS another Clark Gable ... Weldon Heyburn, current Broadway actor, has been tested by Metro ..."
  • December 13, 1935 Film Daily: "Weldon Heyburn has been cast for the lead in 'I Want a Policeman,' play which opens at Philadelphia on Dec. 26 prior to a Broadway run. Heyburn leaves New York soon to work in pictures at the Coast."
  • January 29, 1936 Variety: "Weldon Heyburn, the lead in 'I Want a Policeman', current Broadway legit, has been signatured by Metro for pictures on completion of his roles in the stage production."
  • August, 1936 Hollywood magazine: "Jane Eichelberger of the New York and Memphis social registers, became Mrs. Weldon Heyburn three days after a Los Angeles judge granted Greta Nissen an annulment from the actor."
  • August 11, 1937 Variety: "San Francisco, Aug. 10. William Hurbut's new play 'Story to Be Whispered' has had its work preem transferred from the Geary theater to the Curran, where it will be given Aug. 19." ; "Cast includes Marjorie Rambeau, star; Weldon Heyburn ..."
  • Newspapers carried announcements of Heyburn's March 15, 1939 divorce in Los Angeles from Jane Eichelberger. Article excerpts: "... she deserted him October 12, 1937. They married in New York City May 5, 1936. He obtained the decree by default."
  • September 13, 1939 Variety had a listing of recent marriages: "Virginia Maggard to Weldon Heyburn in TiaJuana, Mexico Sept. 9. He's a film player."
    September, 1939 newspapers had more details on that marriage. Excerpts: "Miss Virginia Maggard, 21-year-old La Plata, Md., and New York society girl, and Weldon Heyburn, Hollywood film actor, were married yesterday in Tia Juana, Mexico, relatives learned last night. Miss Maggard is the daughter of Ernest Maggard, New York automobile dealer ..."

The Internet Broadway Database has Weldon Heyburn in four New York plays during the years 1927-1936:
and the Internet Broadway Database has Phyllis Connard, Heyburn's first wife, as a performer and stage manager in over a dozen plays during the years 1926-1955:

The Playbill Vault website has playbills from several Broadway theater productions starring Heyburn - "The Mystery Man" at the Bayes Theater, New York City, January, 1928; Heyburn and Zita Johann starring in the brief run of "Troyka" at the Hudson Theater, New York City, March 1930 ; "Good Men and True" at the Biltmore Theater, New York City in 1935 ; "I Want A Policeman" at the Lyceum Theater, New York City, January, 1936:

On the trail of Weldon Heyburn / Weldon Heyburn Franks
There are many errors in Weldon Heyburn's death certificate, California Death Index and Arlington National Cemetery records:
  1. Errors in the death certificate and California Death Index include his first name spelled "Welden"; the incorrect 1910 birth year; he was "never married"; and his father was Wyatt Heyburn, not Wyatt G. Franks.
  2. He enlisted in the Army as "Weldon Heyburn" and is interred under that name at Arlington National Cemetery (not Weldon Heyburn Franks). Perhaps he did a legal name change and dropped the Franks last name.
  3. His grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery has that incorrect 1910 birth year.

There's more on those issues which I've highlighted below with a

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), ProQuest obituaries, Newspaper Archive, California Death Index, death certificate and military records provide more on Weldon Heyburn Franks and family.

  • Ancestry had a marriage index record (not the marriage license) for 30 year old Wyatt G. Franks and 24 year old Marie Pierce Moore on January 7, 1903 in Washington, D. C.
  • State of Delaware Birth and Baptism Index card - Weldon Heyburn Frank [sic] was born September 17, 1903 in Delaware City, Delaware. Parents were Wyatt G. and Marie Frank [sic]:
  • 1910 census - 36 year old Wyatt Y. S. Franks (born Alabama), his 28 year old wife Maie [sic] P. Franks (born Pennsylvania), 6 year old son Weldon H. (born Washington, D. C.), 5 year old daughter Cathran [sic] M. (born Georgia), and a servant lived in Washington, D. C.:
    1910 census takers worksheet - the family was renting at 1456 Euclid Street, Washington, D. C. The occupation of the father is difficult to read but looks like "Exp. Accountant - U.S. Agriculture":
  • 1920 census - 42 year old W. G. Franks (born Alabama), his 37 year old wife Marie M. Franks (born Pennsylvania), 16 year old son Weldon H. Franks (born Washington, D. C.), 15 year old daughter Katherine M. (born Georgia), 7 year old daughter Jessie C. (born Washington, D. C.) and mother-in-law Catherine C Moore (born Pennsylvania) were living in Washington, D. C.:
    1920 census census takers worksheet - the family is renting at 2522 Fourteenth Street, Washington, D. C. and the occupation of father W. G. Franks was "Accountant - General Practice":
  • had the 1924 The Corolla yearbook from the University of Alabama and Weldon Franks was listed under the "Law Class of 1925" and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alabama Mu Chapter.
  • 1930 census - 25 year old Weldon Heyburn was born about 1905 in Alabama. He a lodger living in Manhattan, New York City and is divorced:
    1930 census takers worksheet - he is among scores of actors, actresses and assorted theater people living at 234-242 West 48th Street in Manhattan. His occupation was "Actor - Theater". (At this time, Heyburn and Zita Johann were starring in the short-lived play "Troyka" at the Hudson Theater, New York City):
  • 1936 marriage license - 29 year old Weldon Heyburn Franks (born Washington, D. C.) married 22 year old Jane Eichelberger (born Cleveland, Ohio) on May 5, 1936 in Los Angeles. This was the first marriage for both. His parents were Wyatt G. Franks (born Selma, Alabama) and Marie P. Moore (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Weldon's occupation is "Artist - M-G-M Motion Pictures". Jane's residence is New York City and her parents were George Eichelberger (born Ohio) and Frances Dodge (born Connecticut). (The 1930 census has Jane, parents George (occupation "Lawyer") and Frances Eichelberger living on Park Avenue in New York City):
  • Ancestry had the 1936 Los Angeles City Directory. Living at 134 S. Anita Avenue, Brentwood Heights were Weldon Heyburn (occupation actor) and wife Jane.
  • 1940 census - 37 year old Weldon Heyburn was born about 1903 in Washington, D. C. He was married and living in Los Angeles:
    1940 census takers worksheet - the "M" marriage indicator for Heyburn has a question mark next to it. He was alone and renting at 860 Gregory Way, Los Angeles. He completed four years of college; lived in New York in 1935; occupation was "Actor - Motion Picture", but there are no earnings listed for him:
  • August 4, 1940 Washington (District of Columbia) Post newspaper carried a death notice on Weldon's father. Excerpts: "Maj. Wyatt G. Franks, 68, a veteran of the Spanish-American and World wars, died yesterday in Mount Alto hospital." ; "... he came to Washington to join the government service 39 years ago. Attached first to the Department of Agriculture, he was later employed in the Army Signal Corps and more recently in the Federal Works Agency." ; "He leaves three children: A son, Weldon, Los Angeles, and two daughters, Mrs. Katherine Tuzo, Honolulu; and Mrs. Jessie Sheppard, Philipine Islands."
  • The National Archives 1938-1946 Army Enlistment Records database has info: Weldon Heyburn enlisted as a Private in the U. S. Army on May 18, 1942 in Los Angeles. He was born 1903 in Washington, D. C.; had four years of college; civilian occupation was "Authors, editors, and reporters"; and he was divorced, without dependents. The following link will take you to that enlistment database - enter Weldon Heyburn in the search box and then select California as the Residence State:,fd
  • October-November, 1949 newspapers - the syndicated "Behind The Scenes in Hollywood" column by Harrison Carroll mentioned Heyburn medical issues: "WELDON HEYBURN, once under contract to M-G-M for $1,000 a week, is at the Birmingham hospital facing surgery. Doctor may let him out to play a part in the Joan Crawford picture before his operation. Weldon would like to hear from some of his old pals."
  • Newspapers carried a death notice on Heyburn - excerpts: "HOLLYWOOD, May 19 (1951) - Military funeral arrangements were being made today for Weldon Heyburn, who died at Veteran's Hospital at Sawtelle yesterday following a lingering illness."
  •  Death certificate: 40 year old Welden [sic] Heyburn was born September 19, 1910 in Washington, D. C. to Wyatt Heyburn (born Alabama) and Marie Pierce (born Pennsylvania). That 1910 birth year is incorrect - should be 1903. Occupation was "Writer - Theater;" he was never married; was a World War II veteran; and the death certificate informant was the Veterans Administrations Center. He had been under treatment for about a year at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Wilshire and Sawtelle Boulevards, Los Angeles. He passed away there on May 19, 1951 from terminal bronchopneumonia, cancer of the mouth, and metastases to adrenal and kidney. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
  •  The California Death Index mirrors the death certificate - Welden [sic] Heyburn was born September 19, 1910 in Washington, D. C., Mother's maiden name of Pierce, and he passed away May 18, 1951 in the Los Angeles area.
  • had headstone and burial info on Heyburn and his father at Arlington National Cemetery:
    Captain Wyatt G. Franks, Signal Corps, served from May 12, 1917 through August 25, 1920.
    Corporal Weldon Heyburn, enlisted May 18, 1942 and discharged April 9, 1943 from the Signal Corps. The form notes that Weldon is "Interred in lot with father ...". Listed as next of kin was his sister, Kathryn (who was then Kathryn Tuzo and married to Naval officer Paul Tuzo, Naval Air Station, Johnsville, Pennsylvania). Typed on the form is the September 19, 1910 birth date, but hand written above 1910 is a penciled in "03" which seems to indicate a correction to 1903.
  •  The Arlington National Cemetery website at confirms that Weldon Heyburn is interred at Arlington National Cemetery, and includes a photo of his grave marker with the incorrect 1910 birth year. Weldon's father, Wyatt G. Franks, is also interred at Arlington, and the father and son are buried next to each other:
    Weldon Heyburn, Corporal, Signal Corps, died May 18, 1951, interred at Arlington National Cemetery Section 7, Grave 8094-CL
    Wyatt G. Franks, Captain, Signal Corps, died August 3, 1940, interred at Arlington National Cemetery Section 7, Grave 8094-SS

Find A Grave website:
Weldon Heyburn at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia:
Heyburn's father, Wyatt G. Franks at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia:
Also interred at Arlington are Weldon's sister Kathryn Tuzo (1904-1975) and her husband, Paul Tuzo (1903-1974). He was a Rear Admiral in the U. S. Navy:

What about his time at the University of Alabama?
Was he related to the Senator from Idaho named Weldon Brinton Heyburn (1852-1912)?
Some biographies and newspaper articles on our actor have him as a nephew or other distant relative of Idaho senator Weldon Brinton Heyburn (1852-1912). Not so ... especially since our actor's last name was Franks. The Google Newspaper archive has a 1925 article about this controversy ... confirming the actor had no ties to Senator Weldon Brinton Heyburn and his family:,1034275&hl=en

As mentioned above, had the 1924 The Corolla yearbook from the University of Alabama and Weldon Franks is listed under the "Law Class of 1925" and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alabama Mu Chapter. I found nothing on Heyburn doing football at Alabama. In January, 2016, I sent an e-mail to the University of Alabama Alumni organization asking for info but never received a response.

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