The Burning Bed

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The Burning Bed
The Burning Bed (DVD cover).jpg
Genre Crime
Written by Faith McNulty (book)
Rose Leiman Goldemberg
Directed by Robert Greenwald
Starring Farrah Fawcett
Paul Le Mat
Richard Masur
Theme music composer Charles Gross
Country of origin US
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Jon Avnet (executive producer)
Rose Leiman Goldemberg (co-producer)
Carol Schreder (producer)
Steve Tisch (executive producer)
Editor(s) Richard Fetterman (as Richard W. Fetterman)
Michael A. Stevenson
Cinematography Isidore Mankofsky
Running time 95 mins
Production company(s) Tisch/Avnet Productions Inc.
Distributor NBC
Original network NBC
Original release October 8, 1984

The Burning Bed is the name of both a non-fiction book by Faith McNulty about battered housewife Francine Hughes, and the TV-movie adaptation written by Rose Leiman Goldemberg.

After thirteen years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, James Berlin ("Mickey") Hughes, she set fire to the bed he was sleeping in at their Dansville, Michigan home on March 9, 1977. Mickey Hughes was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting inferno.


On the night of the fire, Hughes told her children to put their coats on and wait for her in the car. She then started the fire with gasoline which was poured around the bed in which Mickey Hughes was sleeping. After the house had caught fire, Hughes drove with her children to the local police station in order to confess. Hughes went to court in Lansing, Michigan, and was found by a jury of her peers to be not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

Film adaptation[edit]

Having turned the book into a made-for-television movie, Goldemberg's screenplay, The Burning Bed, premiered on NBC on October 8, 1984. Directed by Robert Greenwald, the film starred Farrah Fawcett as Francine Hughes and Paul LeMat as Mickey Hughes.

The movie was filmed in Rosharon, Texas. The house that served as the house of Farrah Fawcett's character still stands today.[when?]


The movie premiered with a household share of 36.2 ranking it the 17th highest rated movie to air on network television.[1]



  1. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 805. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 

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