Anne Francis

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For the author, see Anne Francis (author).
Anne Francis
Black and white, with metallic-looking off-the-shoulder wrap dress, turned left, facing camera, arm draped on chair
Studio publicity photo from the 1950s
Born Ann Marvak
(1930-09-16)September 16, 1930
Ossining, New York, U.S.
Died January 2, 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 80)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Pancreatic cancer
Resting place
Cremated
Other names Anne Lloyd Francis
Ann Francis
Occupation Actress
Years active 1936–2006
Television Honey West
Spouse(s) Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr. (m. 1952–55)
Robert Abeloff (m. 1960–64) (divorced)

Anne Lloyd Francis (September 16, 1930 – January 2, 2011)[1][2] was an American actress best known for her role in the science fiction film classic Forbidden Planet (1956) and for having starred in the television series Honey West (1965–1966) which was the first TV series with a female detective character's name in the title. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the series.[3]

Background[edit]

Born Ann Marvak[3][4] in Ossining, New York, on September 16, 1930,[1] the only child of Philip and Edith Francis.[5] Anne entered show business at a young age, working as a model at age five to help her family during the Great Depression; she made her Broadway debut at the age of eleven.[6][7] Francis appeared in scores of television series and movies during her long career. She appeared on early live television, including as one of the original "Bonnie Maids" on Bonnie Maid's Versatile Varieties in 1949.

Francis made her film debut in This Time for Keeps (1947) and in her early career played supporting roles in the films Susan Slept Here, So Young, So Bad, and Bad Day at Black Rock; her first leading role was in Blackboard Jungle (1955). She is perhaps best known on film for her role as Altaira in the MGM science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956).

Her signature trademarks were her blonde hair, smouldering good-looks, and a small mole just to the right of her lower lip; said mole was even written into the script of one of her films.[7]

Television[edit]

Francis found success in television and was a frequent guest star in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s made-for-TV movies and series programs.

She guest starred twice on The Untouchables as a gangster's girlfriend and appeared twice in The Twilight Zone, including the title character in "Jess-Belle" and as Marsha White in "The After Hours". Francis appeared in two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents [TV series], "Hooked" in 1960 (as Nyla Foster) and "Keep Me Company" in 1961 (as Julia Reddy), and three episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, "What Really Happened" in 1963 (as Eve Raydon), "Blood Bargain in 1963 (as Connie Breech) and "The Trap" in 1965 (as Peg Beale).[8] Francis appeared in two episodes of the western series The Virginian and in the episode "Incident of the Shambling Man" on the CBS western, Rawhide. She was cast in an episode of Gene Kelly's ABC drama series, Going My Way, based on a 1944 film of the same name. During 1964, she guest starred in two episodes, "Hideout" and "Rachel's Mother", of the short-lived CBS drama, The Reporter, and two successive appearances the same year in NBC's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. series. In 1965, Francis was cast as Honey West, a sexy private detective with a pet ocelot; the character was initially introduced on the ABC series, Burke's Law, and then spun-off as a series. Francis made a guest appearance along with Charles Bronson in a 1967 episode of The Fugitive opposite David Janssen.

In 1968, she played the role of Georgia James in the feature film Funny Girl and one year later played Nancy Ingersoll, the wife of Jerry Lewis' character in the comedy Hook, Line and Sinker. She also co-starred in Impasse, an adventure film starring Burt Reynolds.

At the start of the final season in 1971 of CBS's My Three Sons, Francis played bowling-alley waitress Terri Dowling, who marries character Laird Fergus McBain Douglas of Sithian Bridge, Scotland, and returned to his homeland as royalty. (Fred MacMurray played the dual character roles of Steve Douglas and Fergus McBain Douglas in this four-part story arc). She appeared twice as a guest star in Columbo. The first role was as a secretary to the murder victim (played by James Gregory) and casual lover of the murderer (played by Roddy McDowall) in the episode Short fuse (1972), and the second as the murder victim in the episode A Stitch in Crime (1973), with guest star Leonard Nimoy. In 1977, she appeared as Lt. Cmdr. Gladys Hope, the head nurse in two episodes of Robert Conrad's World War II series Baa Baa Black Sheep.

During the 1980–1981 season of CBS's Dallas, Francis had a recurring role as Arliss Cooper, the mother of Mitch and Afton Cooper. She later played "Mama Jo" in the first few episodes of the 1984 TV-detective series Riptide.[9] She also appeared in Matlock, and in The Golden Girls as Trudy McMann, Dorothy's friend from high school.

In 1989 and 1990, she guest-starred in several episodes of Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote, using her full name of Anne Lloyd Francis in the show's credits. She guest starred in 1998 as Kate Walsh's mom in a two-part episode of The Drew Carey Show.

Francis' final television acting role came in a 2004 episode of the CBS series Without a Trace.

Personal life[edit]

Francis was married to United States Air Force pilot Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr.,[3] from May 1952 through April 1955 and to Robert Abeloff from 1960 through 1964; she never remarried after divorcing Abeloff.[10][11] She and Abeloff had one daughter together, Jane Elizabeth Abeloff (Uemura), born on March 21, 1962, in Los Angeles;[12] Francis later adopted Margaret "Maggie" West in 1970,[13] one of the first adoptions granted to an unmarried person in California. She was linked romantically to a number of other people including composer-conductor Buddy Bregman and director Herman Hoffman.[3]

In 1982, Francis published an autobiography, Voices from Home, subtitled An Inner Journey.[14] On its back cover, she wrote that the book "is my spiritual expose. It is about our essence of being, the inner workings of mind and spirit which contribute to the growth of the invisible and most important part of us."

Reception[edit]

In 2005, TV Guide ranked Francis # 18 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.[15]

Death[edit]

Anne Francis was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007;[1] she kept her followers informed of her progress on her official website.[16] She died on January 2, 2011, from complications due to pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California, a little more than a month after the death of her Forbidden Planet co-star Leslie Nielsen.[1][17] She was survived by her two daughters and one grandchild.

Filmography[edit]

With Leslie Nielsen in Forbidden Planet (1956)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Anne Francis dies at 80; costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'". Los Angeles Times. January 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ Some sources incorrectly cite Francis' year of birth as 1932
  3. ^ a b c d "Anne Francis". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). 2011-01-13. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Bob (2011-01-07). "Anne Francis; at 80; actress was television's 'Honey West'". The Boston Globe (Boston: NYTC). ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Wagner, Laura. Anne Francis: The Life and Career, page 5 (McFarland & Company, 2011). ISBN 978-0-7864-6365-7
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom. Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews, page 162 (McFarland & Company, 2003). ISBN 0-7864-1366-2
  7. ^ a b Corliss, Richard (2011-01-08). "Remembering Anne Francis (1930-2011)". entertainment.time.com. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  8. ^ The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki
  9. ^ Kleiner, Dick (March 20, 1984). "Anne Francis is a victim of 'Riptide'. NEA, Harlan Daily Enterprise (Harlan, KY), Vol. 68. p. 7. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  10. ^ Byrge, Duane (January 3, 2011). "‘Forbidden Planet’ Star Anne Francis Dies at Age 80 - The Hollywood Reporter". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  11. ^ "Film actress wed to UCLA student". Los Angeles Times. May 18, 1952. p. 14. Retrieved 2013-05-02 – via ProQuest.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ Michael, Paul and Parish, James Robert. The American Movies Reference Book: the Sound Era. Page 110. (Celestial Arts), 1969. ISBN 978-0130281340.
  13. ^ "Actress Adopts Child". Chicago Tribune (UPI Telephoto - via ProQuest), May 29, 1970. p. 17. Retrieved 2013-05-02. (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Actress to Introduce Her Autobiography at Round Table West Meeting Thursday". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1982. p. F3. Retrieved 2013-05-02 – via ProQuest. (subscription required)
  15. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 201. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9. 
  16. ^ Francis, Anne (2006–2008). "NewsLetters". annefrancis.net. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  17. ^ Metro, January 5, 2011

External links[edit]