Anne Francis

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Anne Francis
Black and white, with metallic-looking off-the-shoulder wrap dress, turned left, facing camera, arm draped on chair
Studio publicity photo from the 1950s
Born (1930-09-16)September 16, 1930
Ossining, New York, U.S.
Died January 2, 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 80)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Other names Anne Lloyd Francis
Ann Francis
Occupation Actress
Years active 1936–2006
Television Honey West
Spouse(s) Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr. (m. 1952–55)
Robert Abeloff (m. 1960–64) (divorced)

Anne Francis (also known as Anne Lloyd Francis; September 16, 1930 – January 2, 2011) was an American actress known for her role in the science fiction film classic Forbidden Planet (1956) and for having starred in the television series Honey West (1965–1966) which was the first TV series with a female detective character's name in the title. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the series.[1]


Some sources erroneously claim she was born as Ann Marvak[1][2] in Ossining, New York, on September 16, 1930.[3][4] However, based on her parents' marriage registration and census records from 1925 and 1930, her parents were Philip Ward Francis (1900-1974) and Edith (née Albertson) Francis (1901-1995).[5][6]

She entered show business at a young age, working as a model at age five to help her family during the Great Depression; she made her Broadway debut at the age of eleven.[7][8]


Francis made her film debut in This Time for Keeps (1947). In her film career, she played supporting roles in the films Susan Slept Here, So Young, So Bad, and Bad Day at Black Rock; her first leading role was in Blackboard Jungle (1955). Her best-known film role is that of Altaira in Forbidden Planet (1956). Her signature trademarks were her blonde hair, striking blue eyes, smoldering good-looks, and a small mole just to the right of her lower lip; said mole was even written into the script of one of her films.[8]


Francis found success in television and was a frequent guest star in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s made-for-TV movies and series programs. She guest starred twice on The Untouchables as a gangster's girlfriend and appeared twice in The Twilight Zone, including the title character in "Jess-Belle" and as Marsha White in "The After Hours". Francis appeared in two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and three episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.[9]

Francis also appeared in two episodes of the western series The Virginian and in 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 two episodes, "Hideout" and "Rachel's Mother" of The Reporter, and made two successive appearances in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.[9]

In 1965, Francis was cast as Honey West, a sexy private detective who drove a Cobra and had a pet ocelot; the character was initially introduced on the ABC series, Burke's Law, and then spun off as a series. She made a guest appearance in a 1967 episode of The Fugitive. She appeared in the 1967 episode, The Saucer, in The Invaders. She guest starred in a 1973 episode, "Murder In The Doll's House", of Barnaby Jones. 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' character) in Hook, Line and Sinker. She also co-starred in Impasse, an adventure film starring Burt Reynolds.[9]

At the start of the final season in 1971 of My Three Sons, Francis played bowling-alley waitress Terri Dowling, who marries 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 in Columbo. The first role was as a secretary to the murder victim and a casual lover of the murderer in the episode "Short Fuse" (1972), and the second as a murder victim in "A Stitch in Crime" (1973).[9]

In 1974, she 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 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.[9]

During the 1980-81 season of Dallas, Francis had a recurring role as Arliss Cooper, the mother of Mitch and Afton Cooper. She later played "Mama Jo" in the first few episodes of the 1984 TV-detective series Riptide.[9][10] She appeared on episodes of Matlock and The Golden Girls. In 1989 and 1990, she guest-starred in several episodes of Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote, credited as Anne Lloyd Francis. In 1996, she appeared in the Wings episode "The Lady Vanishes", as Vera, a 1940s gun moll-type character. She guest-starred in 1998 as the mother of Christa Miller's character Kate Walsh in a two-part episode of The Drew Carey Show. Her final television acting role was in a 2004 episode of Without a Trace.[9]

Personal life

Francis was married to United States Air Force pilot Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr.[1] from May 1952 through April 1955, and to Robert Abeloff from 1960 through 1964; she never remarried after divorcing Abeloff.[11][12]

She and Abeloff had one daughter, Jane Elizabeth Abeloff (Mrs. Uemura; born March 21, 1962).[13] Francis later adopted Margaret "Maggie" West in 1970,[14] one of the first adoptions granted to an unmarried person in California.[1]

In 1982, Francis published an autobiography, Voices from Home, subtitled An Inner Journey.[15] On its back cover, she wrote that the book "is my spiritual expose. 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."[citation needed]


In 2005, TV Guide ranked Francis # 18 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.[16]


Anne Francis was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007. She kept her followers informed of her progress at her website. She died on January 2, 2011, aged 80, from complications due to pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California. She was survived by her two daughters and one grandchild.[4][17]

Selected filmography

With Leslie Nielsen in Forbidden Planet (1956)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. Some sources incorrectly cite Francis' year of birth as 1932
  4. 4.0 4.1 McLellan, Dennis (January 3, 2011). "Anne Francis dies at 80; costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Yorktown Heights, New York
    Enumeration District No. 375 or 376 (illegible)
    Sheet 5B
    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)

    New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937
    Certificate Number: 6288
    Philip W Francis
    Gender: Male
    Marriage Date: 24 Feb 1923
    Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Spouse: Edith A Albertson
  6. Wagner, Laura. Anne Francis: The Life and Career, McFarland & Company, 2011; ISBN 978-0-7864-6365-7.
  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
  8. 8.0 8.1 Corliss, Richard (2011-01-08). "Remembering Anne Francis (1930-2011)". Retrieved October 14, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Anne Francis at the Internet Movie Database
  10. Kleiner, Dick (March 20, 1984). "Anne Francis is a victim of 'Riptide'. NEA, Harlan Daily Enterprise (Harlan, KY), Vol. 68. pg. 7; retrieved 2013-05-02.
  11. Byrge, Duane (January 3, 2011). "'Forbidden Planet' Star Anne Francis Dies at Age 80 - The Hollywood Reporter". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-05-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Film actress wed to UCLA student". Los Angeles Times. May 18, 1952. p. 14. Retrieved 2013-05-02 – via ProQuest.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  13. Michael, Paul and Parish, James Robert. The American Movies Reference Book: the Sound Era, p. 110. (Celestial Arts), 1969; ISBN 978-0130281340.
  14. "Actress Adopts Child". Chicago Tribune (UPI Telephoto - via ProQuest), May 29, 1970. p. 17; retrieved 2013-05-02. (subscription required)
  15. "Actress to Introduce Her Autobiography at Round Table West Meeting Thursday". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1982. p. F3. Retrieved 2013-05-02 – via ProQuest.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  16. TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 201. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Anne Francis at Find a Grave

External links