January 8, 2011

The Beautiful Blonde with a Beauty Mark: Anne Francis . . . in Memoriam

A long time heartthrob of mine is gone. Actress Anne Francis, forever iconized for her role as the unforgettable love interest in the 1950s science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" and in the 1960s for the sexy private eye in "Honey West" on TV, has died at age 80.

The beautiful blonde with a prominent beauty mark, Anne appeared opposite such stars as Spencer Tracy, Paul Newman, Robert Taylor and Glenn Ford in some of the most popular films of the 1950s.

in "Forbidden Planet"

"Forbidden Planet" was a science-fiction retelling of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." The 1956 film had Commander Leslie Nielsen and his crew land on a planet soley occupied by hermit scientist Walter Pidgeon, his daughter (Francis) and their helper, Robby the Robot.

as "Honey West" with her pet ocelot

In "Honey West," airing from 1965 to 1966, Anne was a private detective played as a female James Bond, who happened to keep a pet ocelot, bested her worst enemies with her martial arts and just as cool with a gun. It was one of the first TV series to star a woman in an action series. She won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy award for her role in "Honey West."

from "So Young So Bad "

Among Miss Francis's other films:
  • "Blackboard Jungle," the landmark 1955 film about an idealistic teacher (Ford) in a violent city school, Francis played his pregnant wife who is targeted for harassment by one of his students.
  • "Bad Day at Black Rock" with Tracy and Robert Ryan
  • "Rogue Cop" with Robert Taylor
  • "The Rack" with Paul Newman
  • "A Lion Is in the Streets" with James Cagney
  • "Hook, Line and Sinker" with Jerry Lewis
the young starlett with Jeffrey Hunter in "Dream Boat"

with Tom Ewell and her dog Smidgeon, going over the script for "The Great American Pastime"

In television, Anne appearing in dozens of series:

  • "Mission Impossible"
  • "The Virginian"
  • "My Three Sons"
  • "Ironside"
  • "Gunsmoke"
  • "The Twilight Zone"
  • "Charlie's Angels"
  • "The Golden Girls"
  • "Home Improvement"
  • "Nash Bridges"
with dark hair as Jess Belle

Born September 16, 1930 in Ossining, New York as Ann Marvak, she grew up performing for radio and television and on the Broadway stage. Anne relocated to Hollywood when she landed a movie contract at MGM (and later went to 20th Century-Fox) acting opposite the biggest male stars of the day.

According to sources, Anne had married twice and is survived by a daughter and grandchild. This last Sunday she succumbed after a long battle with lung and pancreatic cancer, in Santa Barbara at age 80.

Anne's website: http://www.annefrancis.net


Uncle Atom said...

She sure was pretty. Funny, her beauty mark sometimes shifts from one side of her face to the other in the photos on this post. I'm guessing at some point while printing photos from the negatives, the negatives for the photos showing it on her left side got flipped.

Space Commander said...

I saw that too, from what I've seen I think back then it was more common a practice to flip a photo regardless, as long as it fit an publisher's needs. Even if there was lettering in the background which was clearly backwards. They'd do tricks like that with movies too.

It seemed like in her earlier publicity shots the photographers were covering up the mark too.

melina bee said...

beauty marks are the best

Space Commander said...

Yep, Hollywood eventually caught on to that fact too ;)

Fr. Robert (Anglican) said...

She was a babe!

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