Buck, Frank

Buck, (Franklyn Howard) Frank

(1884–1950) animal collector, showman; born in Gainesville, Texas. Interested in collecting animals as a boy, he knocked about in his youth and married light-opera star Lillie West (known as Amy Leslie) in 1901; they divorced in 1916. Starting in 1911, he traveled extensively to South America and Asia to buy animals, which he then sold to zoos and circuses in the U.S.A. He soon extended his operations to all continents, began to lead his own expeditions to capture exotic animals, and through his exhibits and lectures became both rich and famous. During the Great Depression he turned to writing adventure books, including Bring 'Em Back Alive (1930), which became a movie, starring Buck himself. He published several more books and appeared in several more movies. Popular with adults as well as children, he reportedly received thousands of fan letters.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.