from the film Becky Sharp (1935)
|Born||Frances Marion Dee
November 26, 1909
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||March 6, 2004
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.
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 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. She 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.
Joel McCrea died on their 57th wedding anniversary. Their three sons, including the actor Jody McCrea, and many grandchildren, also survived McCrea. Frances Dee McCrea died in Norwalk, Connecticut due to complications from a stroke at the age of 94. Jody McCrea died in 2009.
- Playboy of Paris (1930)
- An American Tragedy (1931)
- Love Is a Racket (1932)
- This Reckless Age (1932)
- If I Had a Million (1932)
- The Crime of the Century (1933)
- Little Women (1933)
- Blood Money (1933)
- One Man's Journey (1933)
- Headline Shooter (1933)
- Finishing School (1934)
- Of Human Bondage (1934)
- Becky Sharp (1935)
- The Gay Deception (1935)
- Souls at Sea (1937)
- Wells Fargo (1937)
- If I Were King (1938)
- Coast Guard (1939)
- A Man Betrayed (1941)
- I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
- Happy Land (1943)
- Patrick the Great (1945)
- The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947)
- Four Faces West (1948)
- Payment on Demand (1951)
- Mister Scoutmaster (1953)
- Far as the Eye Can See (2006 short)
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frances Dee.|
- Frances Dee at the Internet Movie Database
- Frances Dee at the Internet Broadway Database
- Frances Dee Biography and obituary
- Photographs of Frances Dee
- Frances Dee at Find a Grave