James Franco’s Late Father Douglas Eugene Franco: Death Cause, Wife And Family

September 26, 2023   | March 22, 2024  | 

    Douglas Eugene Franco, the late father of Golden Globe recipient actor, James Franco, passed away in 2011 at 63. Besides James, he had other 2 sons, both actors, with his wife Betsy. A successful businessman and philanthropist, he was also a role model to his sons & community.

    What was the reason behind his death? What were his career aspirations? Get everything you need to know about James’ father in this article.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Douglas Franco was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, famous as the founder of Secure Box Corporation.
    • He and his widow, Betsy Verne, welcomed three sons: James Edward Franco, Thomas Andrew Franco, and David John.
    • Franco had earned a Master’s degree from Harvard.
    • Doug died on September 26, 2011, at 63, and the reason for his death was alleged to be a heart attack.

    Douglas Eugene Franco, Was A Businessman & Philanthropist

    For the Pineapple Express actor, Douglas was a role model father, who always inspired him to greater heights, while professionally, he was a Silicon Valley businessman. He was the founder & owner of Secure Box Corporation, a manufacturer of security devices for shipping containers.

    Moreover, the late Franco held prominent positions in corporations like IBM, HP, and Xerox.

    Douglas Eugene Franco was a businessman
    James Franco’s father, Douglas Franco

    The entrepreneur was a generous person, who founded a non-profit, Orchard International, that sends humanitarian aid to third-world countries. As reported, at the time of his death, his non-profit had sent medical aid worth $15 million to countries like Ethiopia, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

    Came From a Family of Intellectuals

    Born on February 20, 1948, in Glencoe, Cook County, Illinois, Douglas was the son of Marjorie Franco (b. 1926- d. 2018) and Daniel Franco Jr. (b. 1923- d. 1995).

    His mother was an author who wrote young adult books:  So, Who Hasn’t Got Problems? (1979), Love in a Different Key (1983), and Genevieve and Alexander. Franco’s father was an elementary school principal.

    He also had two siblings: Joyce Franco Magnus and Peter Franco.

    Doug Died At 63: What Happened To James Franco’s Father?

    On September 26, 2011, Douglas died at the age of 63, in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California. He was buried on September 30 at Alta Mesa Memorial Park. The reason behind his death hasn’t been officially revealed. However, sources suggest that he died of a heart attack.

    Wife Betsy Confirmed Her Husband’s Death Via Twitter

    A week after her husband Franco’s demise, she confirmed the news of his death through a heartfelt post on X (formerly Twitter), on Oct 4, 2021. Betsy wrote, “It is true that my sweet, generous husband passed away. He gave so much to his three sons and me, and to many other people, too.”

    Douglas Eugene Franco Was A Harvard Graduate

    Franco, himself was an educated man, who used to inspire his sons to emphasize education. He graduated from Stanford University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. Then, Doug enrolled at Harvard University and obtained an MBA in 1975.

    Married Life With Betsy Verne Franco, A Woman of Letters

    Doug and his wife Betsy were in a marital relationship for 40 years before his death. As reported, they met in a life drawing class at Stanford University and later married in 1971.

    It's been 12 years since Douglas Franco passed away
    Late Douglas with his wife Betsy

    Betsy Verne is a writer, poet, actress, and also a comedian. Some of her famous works include a novel named Naked,  a poetry collection named Counting in Dog Years, and Other Sassy Math Poems, etc. 

    Likewise, she has always worked closely with her sons James and Tom in a movie named Metamorphosis, Junior Year. The movie was based on her novel named the same.

    Late Doug’s Wife Is In A Relationship With Her Boyfriend

    Franco’s widow, Betsy, has moved on since his death. Currently, she is in a relationship with Lou Marincovich, a California native, who works as a paleontologist. Lou studied Cenozoic molluscan paleontology at the University of Southern California.

    As reported, they have been dating since September 2012, a year after Doug died.

    In September of 2022, she made an Instagram post featuring Marincovich on the occasion of their 10th anniversary, & wrote, “We celebrated our 10th anniversary as permanent boyfriend and permanent girlfriend. Lou came up with those cool terms!”

    Doug's widow Betsy is currently in a decade-long relationship with er partner Lou
    Betsy Franco and her boyfriend Lou Marincovich

    Mrs. Franco’s sons are on good terms with Lou and often share pictures of them together on social media.

    A Supportive Father With Funny Bones

    From his 4-decade-long marriage to Betsy, the late Douglas became the father of three sons, the eldest James Franco (b. April 19, 1978), Tom Franco (b. April 14, 1980), and Dave Franco (b. June 12, 1985).

    The Franco Brothers
    All 3 Franco brothers grew up to be actors

    Eldest Son James Edward Garnered Most Fame

    Douglas’ first-born James is an American actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Notably, he worked in Rise of Planet of the Apes(2011), Eat Pray Love (2010), and Spider-Man Trilogy (2002-2017). However, his career went downhill after numerous allegations were made against him during the MeToo movement.

    James was very close to his father and always spoke highly about him and credited his father for his off-beat sense of humor.

    Even though the Freaks and Geeks actor used to have a difference of opinion with his parents regarding his career choice, they later became the most supportive and encouraging. In fact, Douglas also proudly attended James’ hosting debut at the Oscars with his wife.

    Is the Middle Son More Artsy?

    Tom, the lesser-known Franco brother is an artist and an actor. He has been into art ever since his childhood. He illustrated his art on the cover of his mother Betsy’s novel, Naked.  As for his on-screen venture, he has worked in Miracle Valley (2021) and The Disaster Artist (2017), alongside his brothers.

    Tom is late Doug's and Betsy's middle child
    Tom is the co-creator and sole director of the Firehouse Art Collective

    Currently, he lives with his second wife, Iris Torres, a film producer, whom he married in 2021. Thomas’ first wife, Julia Lazar Franco, died on August 25, 2014, due to liver failure.

    Dave, The Youngest On His Way to Rise

    The youngest among the Franco brothers, David is also an actor & has worked in Now You See Me (2013), and Neighbours (2014) Day Shift (2022). Dave has been married to actress Alison Brie since 2017; they exchanged vows after 5 years of dating.

    Quick Facts
    Full Name Douglas Eugene Franco
    Popular Name Douglas Franco
    Birth Place Glencoe, Illinois
    Birthday February 20, 1948
    Death September 26, 2011
    Death Cause Heart Attack (Reportedly)
    Age 63 years
    Zodiac Pisces
    Nationality American
    Ethnicity Mixed
    Father Daniel Franco
    Mother Marjorie Franco
    Siblings Joyce Franco and Peter Franco
    College Stanford University and Harvard University
    Profession Businessman
    Sexuality Staright
    Spouse Betsy Franco (widow)
    Children James Franco, Tom Franco and Dave Franco