Dee in the 1940s
Frances Marion Dee
November 26, 1909
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||March 6, 2004 (aged 94)|
Norwalk, Connecticut. U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Joel McCrea (1933–1990) his death|
|Children||Jody McCrea (1934–2009)|
David McCrea (b. 1935)
Peter McCrea (b. 1955)
Frances Marion Dee (November 26, 1909 – March 6, 2004) was an American actress. She starred opposite Maurice Chevalier in the early talkie musical, Playboy of Paris (1930). She starred in the film An American Tragedy (1931) in a role later recreated by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1951 retitled remake, A Place in the Sun. She also had a prominent role in the classic 1943 Val Lewton psychological horror film I Walked With a Zombie.
The younger daughter of Francis "Frank" Marion Dee and his wife, the former Henriette Putnam, Frances Marion Dee was born in Los Angeles, California, where her father was working as a civil-service examiner.
After graduating from Hyde Park High in 1927, of which she was vice president of her senior class, as well as voted Belle of the Year, she spent two years at the University of Chicago, where she participated in dramatic activities, before returning to California.
Following her sophomore year in 1929, she went on summer vacation with her mother and older sister to visit family in the Los Angeles, California area. She began working as a movie extra as a lark. Her big break came when, still an extra, she was offered the lead opposite Maurice Chevalier in Playboy of Paris.
The audience appeal established in two films opposite Paramount stars Charles "Buddy" Rogers and Richard Arlen, led to the co-starring role as Sondra Finchley, opposite Phillips Holmes and Sylvia Sidney, in Paramount Pictures's prestigious, and controversial, production of An American Tragedy, directed by Josef von Sternberg.
Dee's additional screen credits included June Moon, Little Women, Of Human Bondage, Becky Sharp, and Payment on Demand. She co-starred with her husband Joel McCrea in the Western Four Faces West (1948).
Dee met actor Joel McCrea on the set of the 1933 film The Silver Cord. The attractive couple married on October 20, 1933, after a whirlwind courtship, and remained married until McCrea's death in 1990. During their lifetime together, the McCreas lived, raised their children, and rode their horses on their ranch in what was then an unincorporated area of eastern Ventura County, California. They ultimately donated several hundred acres of their personal property to the newly formed Conejo Valley YMCA for the city of Thousand Oaks, California, both of which celebrated their 40th anniversaries in 2004. She, like Joel, was a Republican.
Joel McCrea died on their 57th wedding anniversary. Their three sons, including the actor Jody McCrea, and many grandchildren, also survived McCrea. She was honored at the 1998 Memphis Film Festival in Mississippi. In 2004, Frances Dee McCrea died in Norwalk, Connecticut, due to complications from a stroke at the age of 94. Jody McCrea died in 2009.
|1930||Playboy of Paris||Yvonne Phillbert|
|1931||An American Tragedy||Sondra Flinchley|
|1932||Love Is a Racket||Mary Wodehouse|
|This Reckless Age||Lois Ingals|
|If I Had a Million||Mary Wallace|
|1933||The Crime of the Century|
|Little Women||Margaret "Meg" March|
|Blood Money||Elaine Talbart|
|One Man's Journey||Joan Stockton|
|Headline Shooter||Jane Mallory|
|1934||Finishing School||Virginia Radcliff|
|Of Human Bondage||Sally Altheny|
|1935||Becky Sharp||Amelia Sedley|
|The Gay Deception||Mirabel Miller|
|1937||Souls at Sea||Margaret Tarryton|
|Wells Fargo||Justine Pryor MacKay|
|1938||If I Were King||Katherine de Vaucelles|
|1939||Coast Guard||Nancy Bliss|
|1941||A Man Betrayed||Sabra Cameron|
|1942||Meet the Stewarts||Candace Goodwin|
|1943||I Walked With a Zombie||Betsy Conell|
|Happy Land||Agnes March|
|1945||Patrick the Great||Lynn Andrews|
|1947||The Private Affairs of Bel Ami||Marie de Verenne|
|1948||Four Faces West||Fay Hollister|
|1951||Payment on Demand||Eileen Banson|
- Her birth name is given as Frances Marion Dee in the California Birth Index, 1905-1995, accessed via ancestry.com on January 13, 2011
- Frank Dee's occupation is given in the 1910 U. S. Federal Census for Los Angeles, California, in which he is listed with his wife, Henriette, and daughters Margaret and Frances. In the 1920 U. S. Federal Census for Chicago, Illinois, Frank Dee is listed as an employment manager at a packing company. In the 1930 U. S. Federal Census for Indianapolis, Indiana, he was living as a lodger in a boarding house and working as a secretary at a public utility. All census records accessed on ancestry.com on January 13, 2011.
- Soanes, Wood (June 17, 1934). "Frances Dee and Joel McCrea See Future Felicity and Freedom Upon Ranch When Studios Begin to Pall". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. p. 39. Retrieved March 19, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Bowers, Emilie (March 3, 1935). "Charming Frances Dee". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. p. 59. Retrieved March 19, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). "When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics". Cambridge University Press – via Google Books.
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