80 (passed away Jan. 2nd, 2011)
Sep. 16th, 1930
Ossining, New York, USA
Anne Francis' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
One tall, cool drink of water, the beautiful, curvaceous, mole-lipped Anne Francis got into show business quite early in life. She was born Anne Lloyd Francis on September 16, 1930 in Ossining, New York (which is near Sing Sing prison), the only child of Phillip, a businessman/salesman, and Edith Francis. A natural little beauty, she became a John Robert Powers model at age 6(!) and swiftly moved into radio soap work and TV in New York. By 11, she was making her stage debut on Broadway alongside Gertrude Lawrence in the star's 1941 hit vehicle "Lady in the Dark." All the while portraying Ms. Lawrence's character as a child, Anne was attending New York's Professional Children's School.
MGM put the lovely, blue-eyed, wavy-blonde hopeful under contract during the post-war WWII years. While Anne appeared in a couple of obscure bobbysoxer bits, nothing much came of it. Frustrated at the standard cheesecake treatment she was receiving in Hollywood, the serious-minded actress trekked back to New York where she appeared to good notice on TV's "Golden Age" drama and found some summer stock work on the sly ("My Sister Eileen").
Discovered and signed by 20th Century-Fox's Darryl F. Zanuck after playing a seductive juvenile delinquent in the low budget film So Young So Bad (1950), Anne soon starred in a number of promising ingenue roles, including Elopement (1951), Lydia Bailey (1952) and Dreamboat (1952) but she still couldn't seem to rise above the starlet typecast. At MGM she found promising leading lady work in a few noteworthy 1950s classics: Bad Day at Black Rock (1955); Blackboard Jungle (1955); and the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956). While co-starring with Hollywood's hunkiest best, including Paul Newman (I), Dale Robertson (I), Glenn Ford (I) and Cornel Wilde, her roles still emphasized more her glam appeal than her acting capabilities.
In the 1960s Anne began refocusing strongly on the smaller screen, finding a comfortable niche on 60s series TV. She found a most appreciative audience in two classic "Twilight Zone" episodes and then as an Emma Peel-like detective in the short-lived cult series "Honey West" (1965), where she combined glamour and a sexy veneer with judo throws and karate chops. She returned to films only on occasion, the most controversial being Funny Girl (1968), in which her co-starring role as Barbra Streisand's pal was heartlessly reduced to a glorified cameo. Her gratuitous co-star parts opposite some of filmdom's top comics' in their lesser vehicles -- Jerry Lewis (I)' Hook, Line and Sinker (1969) and Don Knotts' The Love God? (1969) -- did little to show off her talents and upgrade her career.
For the next couple of decades Anne remained a steadfast presence in a slew of TV-movies (The Intruders (1970) (TV), Haunts of the Very Rich (1972) (TV), Little Mo (1978) (TV), A Masterpiece of Murder (1986) (TV)),) usually providing colorful, wisecracking support. For such a promising start and with such amazing stamina and longevity, the girl with the sexy mole probably deserved better. Yet, her output, especially in her character years, has been strong and varied, and her realistic take on the whole Hollywood industry quite balanced.
Twice divorced with one daughter from her second marriage, Anne adopted (as a single mother) a girl back in 1970 in California. Anne has long been involved with a metaphysical-based church, channeling her own thoughts and feelings into the inspirational 1982 book "Voices from Home: An Inner Journey". Lately she has spent more time off-camera and involved in such charitable programs as Direct Relief, Angel View and the Desert AIDS Project, among others.
Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, the actress sadly died on January 2, 2011, from complications of pancreatic cancer in a Santa Barbara (California) retirement home.
- Interviewed in Tom Weaver's book "They Fought in the Creature Features" (McFarland & Co., 1995).
- Stage: Appeared as the "young" 'Gertrude Lawrence' (qv) in the original Broadway production of "Lady in the Dark".
- First husband, 'Bamlet Lawrence Price Jr.' (qv) was a former UCLA student who was working on a film project entitled _One Way Ticket to Hell (1955)_ (qv). As part of their divorce settlement, he repaid her the $4,000 he borrowed for this film. She had one daughter, Jane Elizabeth, by her second husband, Dr. Robert Abeloff, a dentist. Both marriages lasted about three years.
- Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, despite having quit smoking nearly twenty years earlier. She immediately underwent chemotherapy and had surgery to remove the upper lobe of her right lung.
- 1953 Deb Star.
- A longtime rodeo fan, she wrote and directed the short subject film Gemini Rising (1968).
- Measurements: 34-22-35 (in 1953), 36-24-35 1/2 (shooting _"Honey West" (1965)_ (qv) at age 35), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
- Not only participated in radio programs early in her career, but she also regularly appeared on one of New York's first television stations before World War II. The CBS-owned station used television cameras from the Farnsworth Corporation because RCA, the only other U.S. manufacturer of television equipment, was affiliated with NBC. Her participation included an early experiment with color television.
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