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Abel Franco Theater

Abel Franco Theater

Abel Franco
October 22, 1922 - June 15, 2000

Abel Franco, Teacher, Actor and Writer, was the head of the Pasadena High School Drama Department for nearly 30 years. Mr. Franco did not start out to be a teacher. He began as a substitute teacher and the students found him so inspiring that they petitioned the administration to make him a permanent teacher. He taught Drama, ESL and English at Pasadena High School for 26 years before retiring in 1988 to devote his time to writing and acting.  During his time at Pasadena High School, he made a huge impact on the school and his students. He was a mentor and a friend. Many of his students went on to have successful careers in Hollywood. 

Honoring him for all the contributions he made to Pasadena High School and to his "Franco's Kids" the "Little Theater" was named after him.  The Abel Franco Theater stands as a tribute to the love he had for his students and his craft. 

Born in El Paso, Texas, his family moved to East Los Angeles shortly after he was born.  A graduate of Lincoln High School, he joined the army in WWII, and served in both North Africa and Italy.  He received degrees from both Woodbury College and The University of the Americas where he studied art with Rufino Tamayo, garnering multiple fine art awards. It was at The University of the Americas where he began his career as an actor.

His acting career spanned nearly 50 years and covered not only Movies and Television, but also the Stage. He appeared in numerous local productions and had a run on Broadway with 
"Zoot Suit", where he was honored by the New York Critics Association.

A visionary in the early days of Mexican American theater, Mr. Franco co-wrote and served as Executive Producer for the Emmy Award winning PBS series "Cancion De La Raza".

Abel Franco died Thursday, June 15, 2000 from complications of a stroke.




In addition to being a teacher, Abel Franco was an actor and a writer. He appeared in numerous movies, television shows and on the stage. There are many, many more but here are a few examples of his work.

Movies and Stage

Three Amigos! (1986)
Death of an Angel (1985)
El Norte (1983)
Zoot Suit (1981)

Television Shows

Break of Dawn (1988)
LA Law (1986)
Cagney and Lacey (1986)
Rockford Files (1979)
Toma (1973)
Run for your Life (1966 - 1967)
The Young Married (1965 - 1966)
Wagon Train (1959)
Leave it to Beaver (1958)