Anne Francis (also known as Anne Lloyd Francis; September 16, 1930 – January 2, 2011) was an American actress known for her ground-breaking roles in the science-fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) and the television action-drama series Honey West (1965–1966). Forbidden Planet marked a first in color, big-budget, science-fiction-themed motion pictures. Nine years later, Francis shattered female stereotypes in Honey West, in which she played a perky blonde private investigator who was as quick with body slams as witty one-liners. It was the first weekly TV series that featured a woman in the lead role and was named after her character. She earned a Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nomination for her performance.
|Born||September 16, 1930|
Ossining, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 2, 2011 (aged 80)|
|Known for||Forbidden Planet|
Francis was well known for striking physical assets – long and shapely legs, flowing blonde hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, and a trademark mole just to the right of her lower lip. The beauty mark was even written into the script of one of her films. In 2005, TV Guide ranked Francis at number 18 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.
Yet far more existed in the preternaturally poised, immensely talented Francis than mere looks. "Her beauty cloaked her brains without obscuring them," Time magazine eulogized in 2011 shortly after her death. "In one sense, she was a blend of Hollywood's two most popular female types in the '50s: the bombshell blonds (Marilyn) Monroe and (Jayne) Mansfield — an adolescent's notion of squeaky-voiced sexuality — and smart, slim vixens like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly."
Francis was born in Ossining, New York, on September 16, 1930. Contrary to some sources, which erroneously claim she was born Ann Marvak (rather than Francis), her parents' marriage registration and census records from 1925 and 1930 confirm that their names were Philip Ward Francis (1900–1974) and Edith (née Albertson) Francis (1901–1995). She was their only child.
Francis made her first film appearance in This Time for Keeps (1947). She played supporting roles in the films So Young, So Bad (1950), Susan Slept Here (1954), and Bad Day at Black Rock (1955); her first leading role was in Blackboard Jungle (1955). Her best-known film role is that of Altaira in Forbidden Planet (1956), a science-fiction classic that was nominated for a best-effects Oscar
Francis was the star of a provocative 1960 movie about a high-priced call girl, Girl of the Night. In 1965, she had a leading role in the William Conrad film noir Brainstorm. In 1968, she played the role of Georgia James in the feature film Funny Girl, and in the following year, played Nancy Ingersoll (the wife of Jerry Lewis's character) in the comedy Hook, Line & Sinker. She also co-starred in Impasse, an adventure film starring Burt Reynolds.
When motion picture opportunities became scarcer for Francis near the close of the 1950s, she found herself at the career crossroads. At that point, she made what many critics considered to be a risky move to television. It proved to be a fortuitous one, however, as hers became a familiar face in made-for-TV movies and numerous series over the next three decades.
Francis began her new challenge as a guest on The Untouchables and the title character in The Doreen Maney Story. She moved on to The Twilight Zone (in "The After Hours" and "Jess-Belle") episodes. In "The After Hours", Francis made one of her most widely acclaimed TV appearances. In the June 10, 1960, episode, she was cast as Marsha White, a young woman shopping in a department store for a gift (a golden thimble) to give to her mother. An elevator operator takes her to the store's ninth floor, deserted except for an insulting salesgirl and just one object in the showcases – her thimble. Locked in overnight, White comes to realize her strange destiny. A gloss on the Philip K. Dick theme of the android who dreams he is human, “The After Hours” focuses every scene on Francis, monitoring her face for clues. Bafflement escalates into rage and then settles into acceptance that she, like the others around her, is actually a mannequin that is allowed to stray into the real world only on rare occasions. By most accounts, the role proved to be a vivid portrayal of Francis's persona in real life – at once friendly and doll-like, human, and otherworldly.
Francis appeared in two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Hooked" and in "Keep Me Company", as well as three episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour – "What Really Happened", "Blood Bargain", and "The Trap". In 1961, she appeared twice in Route 66, first in "Play it Glissando" and then "A Month of Sundays". Francis appeared in two episodes of the Western series The Virginian, two episodes of Columbo ("Short Fuse" and "A Stitch in Crime") and the episode "Incident of the Shambling Man" on the CBS Western Rawhide. She was cast in an episode of Gene Kelly's drama series, Going My Way, based on the 1944 film of the same name. During 1964, she guest-starred in "Hideout" and "Rachel's Mother" in The Reporter, as well as two successive appearances in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
Francis saw her career rise to another level in the 1965–66 season, when she played the star role in the Honey West action drama. Honey was a shrewd, high-energy private investigator (also known as "Private Eye-ful" to media) who collaborated with hunky assistant Sam Bolt (John Ericson) in a company that was inherited from her father. At home, she cared for her pet ocelot named Bruce, a frisky feline that was identified simply "as Himself" in the final credits. The main character was formally introduced in the April 21 episode of Burke's Law titled "Who Killed the Jackpot?", after which it was spun off as a series that lasted one season and 30 half-hour episodes.
Mixing clichés from private-eye and international-espionage stories, then flipping the gender, Honey was akin to a James Bond babe with all the gadgets – she wore earrings that could be tossed like darts to emit tear gas. Honey navigated hairpin turns on high-speed chases in her top-down Cobra sports car, and more significantly, she displayed the kind of business acumen that only men were supposed to possess in the era. All the while, Private Eye-ful captured the imagination of her many male fans with newly fluffed hair, flapping eyelashes, and omnipresent facial mole, which was featured so prominently in the opening credits that it competed with Bolt for co-star honors.
Another unique element of the series was the ability of Honey to best bad guys with an assortment of judo and karate moves, some of which she performed herself. Four months before production, Francis took up martial arts under the tutelage of Hawaiian martial arts guru Gordon Doversola at his Hollywood headquarters. While a double executed the more physical and complex maneuvers, she was proficient enough to appear in her element in the close-up shots.
Despite its pioneering main character, widespread sex appeal, frenetic pace, and slew of humorous one-liners, Honey West was cancelled largely because of budgetary considerations. ABC executives seemingly believed a similarly themed series called The Avengers could be imported from the United Kingdom at a more modest production cost, yet some critics contended that, if Honey West had been expanded to one hour and perhaps moved to another time slot, it would have had long-term impact. As it turned out, its renown lasted longer than the actual series, which would have a substantial cult following in subsequent years.
Late television careerEdit
Francis made a guest appearance in a 1967 episode of The Fugitive and one called "The Saucer", in The Invaders the same year. She guest-starred in a 1973 episode, "Murder in the Doll's House", of Barnaby Jones.
At the start of the final season of My Three Sons in 1971, Francis played bowling-alley waitress Terri Dowling, who married character Laird Fergus McBain Douglas of Sithian Bridge, Scotland, and returned to his homeland as royalty. (Fred MacMurray played the dual-character roles of Steve Douglas and Fergus McBain Douglas in this four-part story arc.) She appeared twice as a guest star on Columbo, once as the manipulated lover of the murderer ("Short Fuse", 1972) and once as the murder victim ("A Stitch in Crime", 1973).
In 1974, Francis appeared as Ida, the madame of a bawdy house on the series Kung Fu in the episode "Night of the Owls, Day of the Doves". In 1975, she appeared as Abby in an episode of Movin' On titled "The Price of Loving". In 1976, she appeared as Lola Flynn in an episode of Wonder Woman, entitled "Beauty on Parade". In 1977, she appeared as Lieutenant Commander Gladys Hope, the head nurse in two episodes of the World War II series Baa Baa Black Sheep. She portrayed Melissa Osborne in the episode "How Do I Kill Thee?" of The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978.
During the 1980–81 season of Dallas, Francis had a recurring role as Arliss Cooper, the mother of Mitch and Afton Cooper. In 1982, she played the armored car-robbing mother in "In the Best of Families" episode of CHiPs. She later played Mama Jo in the first few episodes of the 1984 TV-detective series Riptide. In that same year, she guest-starred in the premiere episode of Murder, She Wrote, credited as Anne Lloyd Francis; she went on to guest-star in two more episodes during the show's run. In December 1984 and again credited as Anne Lloyd Francis, she guest-starred in a Christmas-themed episode of The Love Boat playing the mother of Kim Lankford's character, Carol, in the storyline of "Noel's Christmas Carol". She appeared on episodes of Matlock and The Golden Girls.
In 1996, Francis appeared in the Wings episode "The Lady Vanishes", as Vera, a 1940s gun moll-type character. In 1997, in the Home Improvement episode "A Funny Valentine", she appeared as Liddy, Tim Allen's high-school classmate's mother. She guest-starred in 1998 on The Drew Carey Show as the mother of Drew's girlfriend Nicki in the episodes "Nicki's Parents" and "Nicki's Wedding". Francis' final television acting role was in "Shadows", a 2004 episode of Without a Trace.
Francis was married to United States Air Force pilot Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr., from May 1952 through April 1955, and to Robert Abeloff from 1960 through 1964; she never remarried after divorcing Abeloff.
Francis and Abeloff had one daughter, Jane Elizabeth Abeloff (born March 21, 1962). Francis later adopted Margaret "Maggie" West in 1970, one of the first adoptions granted to an unmarried person in California.
Francis studied flying toward the end of the 1960s, eventually earning her pilot's license.
In 1982, Francis published an autobiography, Voices from Home, subtitled An Inner Journey. On its cover, she wrote that the book "is my spiritual exposé. It is about our essence of being, the inner workings of mind and spirit which contribute to the growth of the invisible and most important part of us."
A moderate-to-heavy smoker for much of her adult life, Francis said that she quit the habit in the mid-1980s. Concerned about appetite and weight loss in early 2006, friends implored her to take a medical examination that summer. Blood tests and a CAT scan revealed nonsmall-cell lung cancer a short time later. In 2005, TV Guide ranked Francis number 18 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.
"I am scared – I'm not out of the woods yet," Francis confided to Globe magazine in an early 2007 interview. "I'm doing all I can to make this the year for full healing."
Francis immediately began grueling chemotherapy treatments. In September, the tumor shrank to the point that allowed for the removal of the upper lobe of her right lung. She resumed chemotherapy in December, only to encounter a setback. Despite her weakened condition, Francis continued to make appearances at TV nostalgia fan events. She also kept a legion of followers abreast of activities via her annefrancis.net website, but no sooner had the lung cancer subsided than it gradually spread to her pancreas.
"It has been an emotional and spiritual roller coaster," Francis described her ordeal. "It's hard not knowing the outcome, but I thank everyone for keeping me in their thoughts and prayers."
The 80-year-old Francis died from complications due to pancreatic cancer on January 2, 2011, at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
- 1947 This Time for Keeps as Bobby Soxer (uncredited)
- 1948 Summer Holiday as Elsie Rand
- 1948 The Pirate as Nina, Showgirl (uncredited)
- 1948 Portrait of Jennie as Teenager In Art Gallery (uncredited)
- 1950 So Young, So Bad as Loretta Wilson
- 1951 The Whistle at Eaton Falls as Jean
- 1951 Elopement as Jacqueline "Jake" Osborne
- 1952 Lydia Bailey as Lydia Bailey
- 1952 Dreamboat as Carol Sayre
- 1953 A Lion Is in the Streets as "Flamingo" McManamee
- 1954 The Rocket Man as June Brown
- 1954 Susan Slept Here as Isabella Alexander
- 1954 Rogue Cop as Nancy Corlane
- 1955 Bad Day at Black Rock as Liz Wirth
- 1955 Battle Cry as Rae
- 1955 Blackboard Jungle as Anne Dadier
- 1955 The Scarlet Coat as Sally Cameron
- 1956 Forbidden Planet as Altaira Morbius
- 1956 The Rack as Aggie Hall
- 1956 The Great American Pastime as Betty Hallerton
- 1957 The Hired Gun as Ellen Beldon
- 1957 Don't Go Near the Water as Lieutenant Alice Tomlen
- 1959 The Ten Commandments (TV Movie)
- 1960 The Untouchables (TV series) as Doreen Maney
- 1960 The Crowded Sky as Kitty Foster
- 1960 Girl of the Night as Robin "Bobbie" Williams
- 1960-1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV series) as Julia Reddy / Nyla Foster
- 1961 Route 66 (TV series) as Arline Simms (season two, episode one)
- 1960-1963 The Twilight Zone (TV series) as Jess-Belle Stone / Marsha White
- 1964 Death Valley Days (TV series) as Pearl Hart (episode from March 17, 1964, titled "The Last Stagecoach Robbery")
- 1964 The Virginian (TV series) as Victoria Greenly
- 1965 The Satan Bug as Ann Williams
- 1965 Honey West (TV series) as Honey West
- 1965 Brainstorm as Lorrie Benson
- 1968 Funny Girl as Georgia James
- 1969 More Dead Than Alive as Monica Alton
- 1969 Hook, Line & Sinker as Nancy Ingersoll
- 1969 Impasse as Bobby Jones
- 1969 The Love God? as Lisa LaMonica
- 1970 Lost Flight (TV movie) as Gina Talbott
- 1970 Wild Women (TV movie) as Jean Marshek
- 1970 The Intruders (TV movie) as Leora Garrison
- 1971 The Forgotten Man (TV movie) as Marie Hardy Forrest
- 1971 Steel Wreath (TV movie) as Angel
- 1971 Columbo (Columbo, season one, episode "Short Fuse")
- 1972 Fireball Forward (TV movie) as Helen Sawyer
- 1972 Haunts of the Very Rich (TV movie) as Annette Larrier
- 1972 Pancho Villa as Flo
- 1972 Gunsmoke (TV Series, season-18 episode "Sarah") as Sarah
- 1973 Columbo as Nurse Sharon Martin (season two, episode "A Stitch in Crime")
- 1973 Cannon as Peggy Angel (season three, episode “Murder by Proxy”)
- 1973 Barnaby Jones as Miriam Woodridge (season one, episode "Murder in a Dolls House")
- 1974 Cry Panic (TV movie) as Julie
- 1974 The F.B.I. Story: The FBI Versus Alvin Karpis, Public Enemy Number One (TV movie) as Colette
- 1975 The Last Survivors (TV movie) as Helen Dixon
- 1975 A Girl Named Sooner (TV movie) as Selma Goss
- 1976 Banjo Hackett: Roamin’ Free (TV movie) as Flora Dobbs
- 1976 Survive! as Anne
- 1978 Little Mo (TV movie) as Sophie Fisher
- 1978 Born Again as Patty Colson
- 1979 The Rebels (TV movie) as Mrs. Harris
- 1979 Beggarman, Thief (TV movie) as Teresa Kraler
- 1980 Detour to Terror (TV movie) as Sheila
- 1980 Dan August: The Jealousy Factor (TV movie) as Nina Porter
- 1982 Mazes and Monsters (TV movie) as Ellie
- 1983 O'Malley (TV movie) as Amanda O'Malley
- 1983 Charley's Aunt (TV movie) as Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez
- 1985 Return as Eileen Sedgeley
- 1986 A Masterpiece of Murder (TV movie) as Ruth Beekman
- 1987 Laguna Heat (TV movie) as Helene Long
- 1987 Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (TV movie) as Marjorie Post Hutton
- 1988 My First Love (TV movie) as Terry
- 1989 The Golden Girls as Trudy McMahon (1989, season four, episode 19 "Til Death Do We Volley")
- 1990 Little Vegas as Martha
- 1992 Love Can Be Murder (TV movie) as Maggie O'Brien
- 1992 The Double 0 Kid as Maggie O'Brien
- 1995 Lover's Knot as Marian Hunter
- 1996 Have You Seen My Son (TV movie) as Catherine Pritcher
- "Anne Francis". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 2011-01-13. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Corliss, Richard (2011-01-08). "Remembering Anne Francis (1930–2011)". entertainment.time.com. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.
- Some sources incorrectly cite Francis' year of birth as 1932
- McLellan, Dennis (January 3, 2011). "Anne Francis dies at 80; co-starred in the 1950s science-fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'". Los Angeles Times.
- Thomas, Bob (2011-01-07). "Anne Francis; at 80; actress was television's 'Honey West'". The Boston Globe. Boston, MA: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Yorktown Heights, New York
Enumeration District No. 375 or 376 (illegible)
April 8, 1930
Philip Ward Francis (aged 29)
Edith Francis (aged 29)
Edna Francis (Philip's mother; aged 59)
Helen Albertson (sister-in-law; aged 15)
New York, State Census, 1925
Philip Ward Francis (aged 24)
Edith Francis (aged 24)
Edna Francis (Philip's mother; aged 54)
PARENTS MARRIAGE INFO
New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937
Certificate Number: 6288
Philip W Francis
Marriage Date: 24 Feb 1923
Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
Spouse: Edith A Albertson
- Wagner, Laura. Anne Francis: The Life and Career, McFarland & Company, 2011; ISBN 978-0-7864-6365-7.
- Weaver, Tom. Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews, p. 162 (McFarland & Company, 2003); ISBN 0-7864-1366-2
- Full cast and crew credits for Barnaby Jones, episode: “Murder in the Doll’s House” from IMDb. 
- Kleiner, Dick (March 20, 1984). "Anne Francis is a victim of 'Riptide'. Newspaper Enterprise Association, Harlan Daily Enterprise (Harlan, Kentucky), Vol. 68. p. 7; retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Byrge, Duane (January 3, 2011). "'Forbidden Planet' Star Anne Francis Dies at Age 80". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- "Film actress wed to UCLA student". Los Angeles Times. May 18, 1952. p. 14. Retrieved May 2, 2013 – via ProQuest. (subscription required)
- Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, p. 33, Ideal Publishers
- Michael, Paul and Parish, James Robert. The American Movies Reference Book: the Sound Era, p. 110. (Celestial Arts), 1969; ISBN 978-0130281340.
- "Anne Francis – The Private Life and Times of Anne Francis. Anne Francis Pictures". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- "Actress Adopts Child". Chicago Tribune (UPI Telephoto – via ProQuest), May 29, 1970. p. 17; retrieved May 2, 2013. (subscription required)
- on YouTube
- "Actress to Introduce Her Autobiography at Round Table West Meeting Thursday". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1982. p. F3. Retrieved May 2, 2013 – via ProQuest. (subscription required)
- Francis, Anne (1982). Voices from Home: An Inner Journe (1st ed.). Celestial Arts. p. dust jacket. ISBN 978-0890873403.
Because I am an actress, I am sure the first response to my having written a book will be, "Aha, another Hollywood biography." Since the market is flooded with biographies of professional revelations from many luminaries and super stars, the next response might quite possibly be, 'Who cares?'. I care! I care because VOICES FROM HOME is not a book about hidden skeletons, social calendars, and name revealing dalliances. It is far more intimate. It is my spiritual expose. It is about our essence of being, the unexplicable reality of mysticism, psychic phenomena, and the inner workings of mind and spirit which contribute to the growth of the invisible and most important part of us; hidden from the glare of lights and the camera's eye.
- Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.