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Anne Francis

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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(1930-09-16)September 16, 1930
DiedJanuary 2, 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 80)
Other names
  • Anne Lloyd Francis
  • Ann Francis
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1936–2006
Known forForbidden Planet
Bad Day at Black Rock
Blackboard Jungle
TelevisionHoney West
  • Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr.
    (m. 1952; div. 1955)
  • Robert Abeloff
    (m. 1960; div. 1964)
James Best, Laura Devon, and Anne Francis (right) in "Jess-Belle", an episode of The Twilight Zone (1963)

Anne Francis (September 16, 1930 – January 2, 2011) was an American actress known for her ground-breaking roles in the science fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) and the television action-drama series Honey West (1965–1966). Forbidden Planet marked a first in in-color, big-budget, science-fiction-themed motion pictures. Nine years later, Francis challenged female stereotypes in Honey West, in which she played a perky blonde private investigator who was as quick with body slams as with witty one-liners. She earned a Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nomination for her performance.[1]

Francis was known largely for her physical assets, including a trademark mole near her lower lip. The beauty mark was even written into the script of one of her films.[2] In 2005, TV Guide ranked Francis at number 18 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.[3]

Early life


Francis was born in Ossining, New York, on September 16, 1930.[4][5] Contrary to some sources, which erroneously claim she was born Ann Marvak (rather than Francis),[1][6] her parents' marriage registration and census records from 1925 and 1930 confirm that their names were Philip Ward Francis and Edith (née Albertson) Francis.[7][8] She was their only child.[citation needed]

Francis entered show business as a child, working as a model at 5 years old to assist her family during the Great Depression. She made her Broadway debut at the age of 11.[9][2]





Francis made her first film appearances in This Time for Keeps (1947) and Summer Holiday (1948).[10] She played supporting roles in the films So Young, So Bad (1950), Lydia Bailey (1952), The Rocket Man (1954), Susan Slept Here (1954), and Bad Day at Black Rock (1955); her first leading role was in Blackboard Jungle (1955). Her best-known film role is that of Altaira in Forbidden Planet (1956), a science-fiction classic that was nominated for a best-effects Oscar.[11][12]

Her movie roles were then confined to low-budget efforts: a call girl in Girl of the Night (1960), a scheming trophy wife in Brainstorm (1965), as Jerry Lewis's wife in Hook, Line & Sinker (1969), and as co-star to a young Burt Reynolds in the adventure movie Impasse (1969). An exception was her role as chorine Georgia James in Funny Girl (1968).



When motion-picture opportunities became scarcer for Francis near the close of the 1950s, she moved, successfully, to television. Beginning as a guest on The Untouchables and as the title character in The Doreen Maney Story, she appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone ("The After Hours" and "Jess-Belle"), two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Hooked" and "Keep Me Company"), and three episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("What Really Happened", "Blood Bargain", and "The Trap"). In 1961, she appeared twice in Route 66, first in "Play it Glissando" and then "A Month of Sundays". Francis appeared in two episodes of the Western series The Virginian, two episodes of Columbo ("Short Fuse" and "A Stitch in Crime") and the episode "Incident of the Shambling Man" on the CBS Western Rawhide. She was cast in an episode of Gene Kelly's drama series, Going My Way, based on the 1944 film of the same name. During 1964, she guest-starred in "Hideout" and "Rachel's Mother" in The Reporter, as well as two successive appearances in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..[13] She appeared in season four, episode 10 of Mission Impossible, titled "The Double Circle".

Honey West


Honey West was an action drama; the character was formally introduced in the April 21, 1965, episode of Burke's Law titled "Who Killed the Jackpot?", after which it was spun off as a series that lasted one season of 30 half-hour episodes. Honey was a shrewd, high-energy private investigator who collaborated with assistant Sam Bolt (John Ericson) in a company that was inherited from her father. At home, she cared for her pet ocelot named Bruce.

The show was cancelled due to budgetary considerations, and ABC executives imported the similarly themed hit British show The Avengers.

Late television career


Francis made a guest appearance in a 1967 episode of The Fugitive and in The Invaders the same year. She guest-starred in a 1973 episode of Barnaby Jones, "Murder in the Doll's House".[14]

At the start of the final season of My Three Sons in 1971, Francis played bowling-alley waitress Terri Dowling, who married character Laird Fergus McBain Douglas of Sithian Bridge, Scotland, and returned to his homeland as a member of the nobility. (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 on Columbo, once as the manipulated lover of the murderer ("Short Fuse", 1972)[15] and once as the murder victim ("A Stitch in Crime", 1973).[16]

In 1974, Francis appeared as Ida, the madame of a bawdy house on the series Kung Fu in the episode "Night of the Owls, Day of the Doves". In 1975, she appeared as Abby in an episode of Movin' On titled "The Price of Loving". In 1976, she appeared as Lola Flynn in an episode of Wonder Woman, entitled "Beauty on Parade". In 1977, she appeared as Lieutenant Commander Gladys Hope, the head nurse in two episodes of the World War II series Baa Baa Black Sheep. She portrayed Melissa Osborne in the episode "How Do I Kill Thee?" of The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978.[citation needed]

During the 1980–81 season of Dallas, Francis had a recurring role as Arliss Cooper, the mother of Mitch and Afton Cooper. In 1982, she played an armored car robber and mother in "In the Best of Families" episode of CHiPs. The same year she had a cameo in the TV movie Mazes and Monsters starring Tom Hanks. She later played Mama Jo in the first few episodes (four total) of the 1984 TV-detective series Riptide.[17] In that same year, she guest-starred in the premiere episode of Murder, She Wrote, credited as Anne Lloyd Francis; she went on to guest-star in two more episodes during the show's run. In December 1984, again credited as Anne Lloyd Francis, she guest-starred in the Christmas-themed S8 E13 of The Love Boat playing the mother of Kim Lankford's character, Carol, in the vignette "Noel's Christmas Carol". She appeared on episodes of Matlock and The Golden Girls.

In 1996, Francis appeared in the Wings episode "The Lady Vanishes", as Vera, a 1940s gun moll. In 1997, in the Home Improvement episode "A Funny Valentine", she appeared as Liddy, Tim Allen's high-school classmate's mother. She guest-starred in 1998 on The Drew Carey Show as the mother of Drew's girlfriend Nicki in the episodes "Nicki's Parents" and "Nicki's Wedding". Francis's final television acting role was in "Shadows", a 2004 episode of Without a Trace.[10]

Personal life


Francis was married to United States Air Force pilot Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr.,[1] from May 1952 through April 1955, and to Robert Abeloff from 1960 through 1964. She never remarried after divorcing Abeloff.[18][11]

Francis and Abeloff had one daughter, Jane Elizabeth Abeloff (born March 21, 1962).[19] Francis later adopted Margaret "Maggie" West in 1970,[20][21] one of the first adoptions granted to an unmarried person in California.[1]

Francis studied flying toward the end of the 1960s, eventually earning her pilot's license.[22]

In 1982, Francis published an autobiography, Voices from Home: An Inner Journey.[23] On its cover, she wrote that the book "is my spiritual exposé. 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."[24] A subsequent biography titled Anne Francis: The Life and Career was written by Laura Wagner and published by McFarland & Company in 2011.[25]

A smoker for much of her adult life, Francis said that she quit the habit in the mid-1980s, but was diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer in 2006.[11]

Francis died from complications due to pancreatic cancer on January 2, 2011, at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California.[5] Her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.[26]

Partial TV/filmography

Leslie Nielsen and Francis in Forbidden Planet, 1956


  1. ^ a b c d "Anne Francis". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 2011-01-13. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Corliss, Richard (2011-01-08). "Remembering Anne Francis (1930–2011)". entertainment.time.com. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  3. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.
  4. ^ Some sources incorrectly cite Francis' year of birth as 1932
  5. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (January 3, 2011). "Anne Francis dies at 80; co-starred in the 1950s science-fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Thomas, Bob (2011-01-07). "Anne Francis; at 80; actress was television's 'Honey West'". The Boston Globe. Boston, MA: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  7. ^ Yorktown Heights, New York
    Enumeration District No. 375 or 376 (illegible)
    Sheet 5B
    April 8, 1930
    Philip Ward Francis (aged 29)
    Edith Francis (aged 29)
    Edna Francis (Philip's mother; aged 59)
    Helen Albertson (sister-in-law; aged 15)

    New York, State Census, 1925
    Philip Ward Francis (aged 24)
    Edith Francis (aged 24)
    Edna Francis (Philip's mother; aged 54)

    New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937
    Certificate Number: 6288
    Philip W Francis
    Gender: Male
    Marriage Date: 24 Feb 1923
    Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Spouse: Edith A Albertson
  8. ^ Wagner, Laura. Anne Francis: The Life and Career, McFarland & Company, 2011; ISBN 978-0-7864-6365-7.
  9. ^ Weaver, Tom. Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews, p. 162 (McFarland & Company, 2003); ISBN 0-7864-1366-2
  10. ^ a b Independent newspaper website, Anne Francis; Actress who starred alongside Leslie Nielsen in the cult scifi film Forbidden Planet, article dated January 7, 2011
  11. ^ a b c Guardian newspaper website, Anne Francis Obituary, article dated January 3, 2011
  12. ^ Oscars website, 1957
  13. ^ a b TV24 website, The Man from UNCLE, Season 1, Episode 7
  14. ^ Full cast and crew credits for Barnaby Jones, episode: “Murder in the Doll’s House” from IMDb. [1]
  15. ^ IMDB website, Short Fuse
  16. ^ IMDB website, A Stitch in Crime
  17. ^ Kleiner, Dick (March 20, 1984). "Anne Francis is a victim of 'Riptide'. Newspaper Enterprise Association, Harlan Daily Enterprise (Harlan, Kentucky), Vol. 68. p. 7; retrieved May 2, 2013.
  18. ^ Byrge, Duane (January 3, 2011). "'Forbidden Planet' Star Anne Francis Dies at Age 80". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  19. ^ Michael, Paul and Parish, James Robert. The American Movies Reference Book: the Sound Era, p. 110. (Celestial Arts), 1969; ISBN 978-0130281340.
  20. ^ "Anne Francis - The Private Life and Times of Anne Francis. Anne Francis Pictures". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
  21. ^ "Actress Adopts Child". Chicago Tribune (UPI Telephoto – via ProQuest), May 29, 1970. p. 17; retrieved May 2, 2013. (subscription required)
  22. ^ Anne Francis - Army Archerd interview on YouTube
  23. ^ "Actress to Introduce Her Autobiography at Round Table West Meeting Thursday". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1982. p. F3. Retrieved May 2, 2013 – via ProQuest. (subscription required)
  24. ^ Francis, Anne (1982). Voices from Home: An Inner Journe (1st ed.). Celestial Arts. p. dust jacket. ISBN 978-0890873403. Because I am an actress, I am sure the first response to my having written a book will be, "Aha, another Hollywood biography." Since the market is flooded with biographies of professional revelations from many luminaries and super stars, the next response might quite possibly be, 'Who cares?'. I care! I care because VOICES FROM HOME is not a book about hidden skeletons, social calendars, and name revealing dalliances. It is far more intimate. It is my spiritual expose. It is about our essence of being, the unexplicable reality of mysticism, psychic phenomena, and the inner workings of mind and spirit which contribute to the growth of the invisible and most important part of us; hidden from the glare of lights and the camera's eye.
  25. ^ Amazon website, Anne Francis: The Life and Career
  26. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ IMDB website, Shadows