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Francine York in 1966.
August 26, 1936
|Died||January 6, 2017 (aged 80)|
Francine York (born Francine Yerich; August 26, 1936 – January 6, 2017) was an American film and television actress.
Francine Yerich was born to Frank and Sophie Yerich in the small mining town Aurora, Minnesota; the elder of two sisters. Her younger sister was named Deanne. In 1941, her family moved to Cleveland, where she began to write short stories and take an interest in acting. At the age of nine, she appeared in her elementary school the Hodge School's production of Cinderella as the stepsister Griselda, at which point she wished to become an actress. At the age of twelve, her family moved back to Aurora, where she continued performing in class plays. She wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a three-act play Keen Teens or Campus Quarantine, charging five cents admission; the whole town attended. While studying journalism and drama at Aurora High School, she worked as the feature editor of her school newspaper, and she won all of the school's declamation contests with her dramatic readings. She was a baton twirling majorette for the school marching band and active in the 4-H club, where she won several blue ribbons for cooking in both county and state fairs.
At age 17, she won the local Miss Eveleth beauty contest and became a runner-up in the Miss Minnesota contest, which was hosted by former Miss America BeBe Shopp. Moving to Minneapolis, she landed a job modeling sweaters for New York-based Jane Richards Sportswear and began traveling throughout the U.S. She moved to San Francisco and took a modeling course at the House of Charm agency, which helped her begin a modeling career for major department stores, including Macy's. Her modeling got the attention of the producers of the Miss San Francisco beauty pageant. She entered the contest and was voted runner-up, but ended up taking over the title after the winner became too ill to participate.
Francine soon got a job as a showgirl at Bimbo’s nightclub in San Francisco. Bimbo’s headliner, Mary Meade French, brought Francine to Hollywood and helped get her signed with an agent. Francine worked as a showgirl at Frank Sennes' Moulin Rouge, a popular Hollywood nightclub on Sunset Blvd., where she performed in three shows a night, seven nights a week, for six months. Tired of sharing a stage with elephants, pigeons, and horses, she began taking acting classes with actor/teacher Jeff Corey. A theatrical producer cast her in a play called Whisper in God's Ear at the Circle Theatre, and she was also cast in her first movie, Secret File: Hollywood, a film about the day-to-day operations of a sleazy Hollywood tabloid.
York's first screen role was in Robert Clarke's Hollywood exploitation film Secret File Hollywood shot in 1960 but not distributed until 1962. Her big break came when Jerry Lewis cast her in It's Only Money, in which she played a tantalizing sexpot, a role which brought her much publicity. This led to Lewis hiring her for five more of his films, including The Nutty Professor, The Patsy, The Disorderly Orderly, The Family Jewels, and Cracking Up, in which she portrayed a 15th-century marquise. Other film appearances include Bedtime Story, Tickle Me, Cannon for Cordoba, and science fiction cult films such as Curse of the Swamp Creature, Mutiny in Outer Space, and Space Probe Taurus. In The Doll Squad (1973), she played CIA agent Sabrina Kincaid, leader of an elite team of gorgeous female assassins who attempt to stop a diabolical madman from destroying the world with a deadly plague virus. She portrayed Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn: Alive and Behind Bars, and in 2000, she played Nicolas Cage's mother-in-law in The Family Man.
In 1964 York appeared as Nurse Norma in My Favorite Martian S1 E37 " Uncle Martins Wisdom Tooth". York played Lillie Langtry (with Peter Whitney as Judge Roy Bean) in the 1965 episode "A Picture of a Lady" of the syndicated television anthology series, Death Valley Days. York was featured in five episodes of Burke's Law between 1964 and 1965, and made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of co-defendant Bobbi Dane in the 1966 episode "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise."
On Batman she appeared as Lydia Limpet in episodes 29 and 30 "The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns" (1966). She continued to act in films and on television, with TV appearances including Hot in Cleveland (as British matriarch Lady Natalie), and The Mindy Project. She appeared as Queen Madusa during the second season of Jason of Star Command in 1979; in episode 3 "Web of the Star Witch," in episode 10 "Little Girl Lost", and in episode 11 "Mimi's Secret". Francine York appeared on Bewitched as Venus which came to life and became Samantha and Darrin's maid in season 8 episode 5. "Bewitched, bothered and baldoni". In March 1991, York made guest appearances on All My Children, One Life to Live, and Santa Barbara.
She also appeared as Niolani, a military leader from a matriarchal society where males were subjugated, in Lost in Space Season 2 Episode 25 "The Colonists"
York also worked as a fitness/nutrition expert and a gourmet cook, making many appearances on television demonstrating her culinary skills. Many of her recipes and exercise programs were published in national health magazines.
Personal life and death
York never married. She once said, "Like Cinderella, I always wanted to marry the handsome prince...but they don't make glass slippers in size ten!" She died on January 6, 2017, in Van Nuys, California from cancer, aged 80. She had been working on her autobiography. She is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
|1961||The Right Approach||Freer's Secretary||Uncredited|
|1961||The Sergeant Was a Lady||Tina Baird|
|1962||It's Only Money||Sexy Girl|
|1962||Secret File: Hollywood||Nan Torr|
|1963||The Nutty Professor||College Student||Uncredited|
|1963||A New Kind of Love||Uncredited|
|1964||The Disorderly Orderly||Nurse||Uncredited|
|1965||Mutiny in Outer Space||Capt. Stevens|
|1965||The Family Jewels||Air Hostess|
|1965||Space Probe Taurus||Dr. Lisa Wayne|
|1967||The Ride to Hangman's Tree||Connie||Uncredited|
|1970||Cannon for Cordoba||Sophia|
|1971||Welcome Home, Soldier Boys||Lydia|
|1973||The Doll Squad||Sabrina Kincaid|
|1974||The Centerfold Girls||Melissa||(segment "The Second Story")|
|1975||Half a House||Jessica|
|1978||Zero to Sixty||Mrs. Finch|
|1983||Cracking Up||Marie Du Bois|
|1987||The Underachievers||June Patterson|
|1992||Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars||Marilyn Monroe|
|1999||The Big Tease||Elegant Woman|
|2000||The Family Man||Lorraine|
|2005||Miracle at Sage Creek||Mrs. Stanley|
|2005||Hercules in Hollywood||Hera|
|2010||Astro Zombies: M3 - Cloned||Sabrina|
|2017||Ten Violent Women: Part Two||Gloria||(final film role)|
- Barnes, Mike (January 6, 2017). "Francine York, Alluring Actress of the 1960s, Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
- Sabatino, Joe (April 23, 2012). "Exclusive Interview with Veteran Actress Francine York". actorsreporter.com. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
- Francine York on IMDb
- "Doll Squad actress Francine York passes away aged 80 after battle with cancer". dailymail.co.uk. Daily Mail. January 7, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
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