|Frances Anne Rafferty|
from YANK magazine, 1943
June 16, 1922|
Sioux City, Iowa, USA
|Died||April 18, 2004
Paso Robles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||John Harlan (married 1944; divorced 1947)
Thomas R. Baker (married 1948–2004, her death) 2 children
|Relatives||Brother Max Rafferty|
Life and career
Frances Anne Rafferty was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of Maxwell Lewis Rafferty, Sr. (born c. 1887), and the former DeEtta Cox Rafferty (born c. 1892). She was the younger sister of California conservative educator and Republican politician Max Rafferty, whose wife was also named "Frances." At the age of nine she moved with her family to Los Angeles, California. At a young age she studied dancing, and her physical attributes and dancing skills led to work in the film industry.
Signed by MGM Studios, Frances made her film debut in 1942. She appeared in minor and secondary roles, and although she had a part in the 1944 film Dragon Seed with Katharine Hepburn and Walter Huston, her significant parts were limited almost exclusively to "B" movies. For instance, in 1948, she starred with Hugh Beaumont in the Film Noir movie, Money Madness, directed by Sam Newfield. Her only 'major film' role was in Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood (1945).
In the 1950s, Rafferty turned to acting in network television shows. In 1954, she guest starred in two episodes of CBS's The Public Defender, starring Reed Hadley and based on cases of attorneys for the indigent.
From 1954 to 1959, she appeared as Ruth Ruskin Henshaw in all 156 episodes of the Desilu Studios CBS sitcom December Bride, with co-stars Spring Byington as her mother, Lily Ruskin, and Dean Miller as her husband, Matt Henshaw. Harry Morgan played the wisecracking neighbor, Pete Porter. When Harry Morgan and Cara Williams joined in another CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys in 1960, Rafferty was subsequently cast in seven episodes in the role of "Nancy".
Rafferty appeared in a number of different television programs throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Among them were two guest appearances on Perry Mason. After her retirement from acting in 1965, she made a final appearance in a 1977 episode of Karl Malden's ABC crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco.
She was married to John Harlan from 1944 until their divorce in 1947. In 1948, she married Thomas R. Baker, and together they had two children. Following her retirement from acting, Rafferty and her husband operated a ranch where they bred and raised quarter horses.
Frances Rafferty died in 2004 in Paso Robles, California, just three months after the passing of her December Bride costar Dean Miller. With the death of Harry Morgan in 2011, none of the December Bride cast is still living.
- Young Ideas (1943)
- Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945)
- Money Madness (1948)
- Rodeo (1952)
- The Shanghai Story (1954)
- Source Citation: US Federal Census Year: 1930; Census Place: Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa; Roll 690; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 55; Image: 429.0.
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