Frank Eugene Beaver grew up in Statesville, North Carolina and received his BA (1960) and MA (1966) degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His PhD in Speech Communication and Theater was earned at the University of Michigan in 1970. Beaver went to Vietnam in 1962 as a part of an Army Intelligence Service unit stationed in Saigon in support of early American effort on behalf of South Vietnam. Following military service Beaver taught at Memphis State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 1969 joined the faculty of the University of Michigan where he is currently Professor of Communication and Film and Video Studies.
He has won numerous awards for teaching, and in 1989 was named Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Communication, an honor given to faculty members at Michigan who have made outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. From 1987-1991 Beaver served as Chair of the Department of Communication. He has been elected to numerous University advisory and curricular committees and has been an active participant on University of Michigan Alumni Association committees. Beaver has spoken throughout the United States to University of Michigan alumni clubs, and was film critic for 25 years on the state-wide University of Michigan public radio stations WUOM-WFUM-WVGR.
He is the author of six books on the history and art of the motion picture; recently he served as Editor-In-Chief of 100 YEARS OF AMERICAN FILM (Macmillan, 2000). Beaver's DICTIONARY OF FILM TERMS was translated into Mandarin and published in Beijing in 1993. Scholarly articles on First Amendment issues for the motion picture have been widely anthologized, and Beaver's research on the impact of new video technology on film candor was cited in a State of Oregon Supreme Court test-case decision. He serves as general editor of Simon and Schuster's Twayne Filmmakers book series, and the "Framing Film" book series for Peter Lang Publishing.
A European film specialist, Beaver has taught film in England and Italy and has frequently served as director of the University of Michigan's London Summer Abroad program. His production credits include the documentary films UNDER ONE ROOF, and IF I WERE FREE, and the television series "ART OF THE FILM" which he wrote and hosted. In his 3-plus decades at the University of Michigan Beaver has especially enjoyed his out-of-class role as a "networker" for UM graduates looking for careers in film and television. Former students include Lawrence Kasdan (THE BIG CHILL), Bonny Dore (Producer, President of Women-In-Film), Andrea Joyce (CBS Sports), John Nelson (Special Effects Oscar Winner for GLADIATOR), Kyle Rudolph (Cinematographer, THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE). Wife Gail Beaver is an Adjunct Lecturer in the University of Michigan's School of Information; daughter Julia is a director of market opinion research for National Opinion Poll-MAI in London, England; son John is a screenwriter/consultant in Los Angeles; and daughter Johanna is a violinist/violist in New York. Beaver is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and is the recipient of Hopwood Writing Awards in Essay and Playwriting. He enjoys jogging, travel, morel mushroom-hunting and cooking.