Goodrich was born in Belleville, New Jersey, the daughter of Madeleine Christy (née Lloyd) and Henry Wickes Goodrich. The family moved to nearby Nutley when Goodrich was two. She attended Collegiate School in Passaic, New Jersey, and graduated from Vassar College in 1912, and went on to the New York School of Social Work from 1912 to 1913.
Not long after marrying screenwriter Albert Hackett, the couple went to Hollywood in the late 1920s to write the screenplay for their stage success Up Pops the Devil for Paramount Pictures. In 1933 they signed a contract with MGM and remained with them until 1939. Among their earliest assignments was writing the screenplay for The Thin Man (1934). They were encouraged by the director W. S. Van Dyke to use the writing of Dashiell Hammett as a basis only, and to concentrate on providing witty exchanges for the principal characters, Nick and Nora Charles (played by William Powell and Myrna Loy). The resulting film was one of the major hits of the year, and the script, considered to show a modern relationship in a realistic manner for the first time, was considered to be groundbreaking. However this is only because it was written and released before the enactment of the Hollywood Production Code, which strictly censored movies from mid-1934 until the early 1960s (see Pre-Code). The other Nick and Nora films show a steep decline regarding the "groundbreaking maturity" of the Charles' marriage.
They received Academy Award for Screenplay nominations for The Thin Man, After the Thin Man (1936), Father of the Bride (1950) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1955). They won Writers Guild of America awards for Easter Parade (1949), Father's Little Dividend (1951), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), as well as nominations for In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Father of the Bride (1950) and The Long, Long Trailer (1954). They also won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for their original play The Diary of Anne Frank. Some of their other films include: Another Thin Man (1939) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Frances Goodrich Hackett died from lung cancer, at the age of 93.
- "Frances Goodrich Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.