The Cocoanuts, Kay’s second movie and only film with the Marx Brothers, was an even bigger success. After this, she moved to supporting parts in other films, playing fast-talking, professional women – holding her own against Rosalind Russell in The Feminine Touch, for example – and mothers opposite rising young stars such as Deanna Durbin. In the spring of 1925, Fran­cis went to Paris to get a di­vorce. This site features an online encyclopedia, biography, chronology, detailed information about her career on film, stage, radio, and television, and much more. Her onscreen romances with William Powell, Ian Hunter, and George Brent were watched by millions, and she reigned as the highest paid employee on the Warner Bros. lot for three years (PL). [21] From the years 1930 to 1937, Francis appeared on the covers of 38 film magazines, the most for any adult performer and second only to Shirley Temple, who appeared on 138 covers during that period. She made her Broadway debut[8] as the Player Queen in a modern-dress version of Shakespeare's Hamlet in November 1925. 1974 American Fitness journalist, trainer G: Kay Francis: 1905–1968 American Actor B: Horacio Franco: b. 37 talking about this. | Her Fall and Rise| "[7] Her Elmer costar Walter Huston had been impressed by Francis' performance and recommended and encouraged her to take a screen test for his new studio Paramount Pictures and the film Gentlemen of the Press (1929). Kay Francis emerged as the Epitome of Glamour during the peak of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Their marriage, at New York's Saint Thomas Church, ended in divorce three years later. But Katherine was not a neglectful mother. 100 talking about this. Kay Francis came of age in the Roaring Twenties and relished the era's hedonistic pursuits. But it was not easy, as Kay later elaborated: My childhood was a constantly shifting scene. For the founder of Gibbs College, see, "My life? Kay was surprisingly unenthusiastic about her film debut, suggesting that from the beginning she had opted for a movie career only because of the major increase in salary. A Facebook companion to the website KayFrancisFilms.com Declining health, aggravated by an accident in Columbus, Ohio during a tour of State of the Union in 1948 when she was badly burned by a radiator, hastened her retirement from show business. She died in 1968, aged 63, and her body was immediately cremated; her ashes were disposed of according to her will, "how the undertaker sees fit. [31] It became a popular 1944 film of the same name, with a cavalcade of stars and Martha Raye and Mitzi Mayfair joining Landis and Francis to fill out the complement of Jills. See more ideas about Kay francis, Kay, Old hollywood. [39], "Katherine Gibbs" redirects here. [6], —From Kay Francis's private diaries, c. ‘He’s talking about a light,’ a prop boy told me” (PL). I don't give a damn. I can't wait to be forgotten.". Her mother was Katherine Clinton, a former stage actress who was 28 years old when she gave birth to her daughter. (CR) The Complete Kay Francis Career Record, Lynn Kear & John Rossman, 2008, McFarland. It was after Joe Gibbs relocated his family to Salt Lake City, Utah that Katherine Clinton made the decision to leave her irresponsible husband (PL). Sources: He saw her potential, and, along with director Millard Webb recommended Kay’s casting in Paramount’s latest all-talking picture, Gentlemen of the Press. Schooling was never a priority in the eyes of Katherine Clinton, who later told interviewer Helen Starr, “Kay failed in geometry and I was pleased over that. (A rumor still persists that Joe Gibbs rode a horse through the lobby of a hotel and up the stairs to his wife’s room to greet his newborn.) She played wisecracking secretaries, saucy French floozies, walk-ons, bit parts, and heavies. [26] This, in turn, led to her demotion to programmers, such as Women in the Wind (1939), and, in the same year, to the termination of her contract. While there, she was courted by a for­mer Har­vard ath­lete and mem­ber of the Boston Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, Bill Gas­ton. [36] Francis was born Katharine Edwina Gibbs on January 13, 1905, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Francis, signed to a featured players contract with Paramount Pictures, also made the move and created an immediate impression. Francis spent the remainder of the 1940s on the stage, appearing with some success in State of the Union and touring in various productions of plays, old and new, including Windy Hill, backed by former Warner Bros. colleague Ruth Chatterton. After months of partying in Europe, Kay Francis returned to New York on September 26, with the dreary thought of her future ahead of her. (PL) Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career, Kear & Rossman, 2006, McFarland. Costar Walter Huston took immediate interest in Kay’s combination of legitimate talent and personality. “It was while we were making Gentlemen of the Press that I had my first real taste in studio jargon,” Kay later elaborated. The Independent Theatre Owners Association paid for an advertisement in The Hollywood Reporter in May 1938 that included Francis, along with Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, Mae West, Katharine Hepburn, and others, on a list of stars dubbed "box office poison". [28] Francis had a supporting role to Lombard and Cary Grant, and it offered her an opportunity to engage in some serious acting. | Later Years, Death & Legacy. A Facebook companion to the website KayFrancisFilms.com While she never discouraged rumors that her mother, Katharine (\"Kay\") Gibbs, was a pioneering businesswoman who established the \"Katharine Gibbs\" chain of vocational schools, Francis was actually raised in the hardscrabble theatrical circuit of the period. Fran­cis claimed she got the part by “lying a lot, to the right p… Katherine and Kay last saw Joe Gibbs in New York in 1908; thereafter he remarried and died on January 20, 1919 of pneumonia (PL). She signed a three-film contract with Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures that gave her production credit as well as star billing. Francis was raised in this hardscrabble theatrical circuit, often traveling with her mother. “Crime” was Kay’s first major success of her career. [7] Francis and Gaston saw each other only on occasion; he was in Boston and Francis had decided to follow her mother's footsteps and go on the stage in New York. “Shakespeare’s Hamlet (In Modern Dress)” opened on November 9, 1925 at the Booth Theater in New York. Career-slipping movie star Carole Raymond (Kay Francis) buys in as a real estate partner of Jeff Caldwell (Paul Cavanagh). Keeping Kay Francis’ legacy alive since January 1, 2010. Running for eighty-eight performances, the New York Times concluded that Kay “did not rate a mention.” After closing in early 1926, Kay was employed with the Stuart Walker Company until September of that year (CR). Francis claimed she got the part by "lying a lot, to the right people". Boarding the 20th Century Limited on April 11, 1929, Kay arrived in Hollywood on the fifteenth, and soon began her rise to the top of the Hollywood scene. [1] After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star and highest-paid actress at Warner Bros. By 1935, Francis was one of the highest-paid actors, earning a yearly salary of $115,000; compared to Bette Davis, who would one day occupy Francis' dressing room, who made $18,000. Her manager and traveling companion had arrived at Francis' hotel room, and in an attempt to revive the unconscious actress with fresh air, burned her legs on the radiator near the window. Costarring Chester Morris, Sylvia Sydney, and Douglass Montgomery, among others, reviews for Kay were largely favorable. Kay Francis is possibly the biggest of the 'forgotten stars' from Hollywood's Golden Era, yet, for a while in the 1930s, she ranked as one of the most popular actresses, tagged the 'Queen of Warner Brothers', by 1935 earning a yearly salary of $115,000 (compared to Bette Davis with $18,000). [4] She inherited her 5 foot 9 inch height from her father (who stood 6 feet 4 inches) and was to become Hollywood's tallest female lead of the 1930s. Katherine Edwina "Kay" Francis (née Gibbs, January 13, 1905 – August 26, 1968) was an American stage and film actress. 100 talking about this. Kay and Bill saw each other only on oc­ca­sion; he was in Boston and Kay had de­cided to fol­low her mother’s foot­steps and go on the stage in New York. Running for eighty-eight performances, the. She frequently co-starred with William Powell, first teaming in Street of Chance (1930) when David Selznick fought for the pairing after having seen Francis briefly in Behind the Make-up (1930), and it worked, as they appeared in as many as six to eight movies per year, making a total of 21 films between 1930 and 1932. Find the perfect Kay Francis stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. [27] After her release from Warners, she was unable to secure another studio contract. Gorgeous Kay Francis is truly one of the shining gems of the pre-Code era. At the height of her popularity, she dismissed her career and insisted she wanted to be forgotten. 1971 Canadian Novelist G: Samuel Kensinger Francis: b. In fact, Katherine had first envisioned a musical career for Kay, and was slightly disappointed when her daughter took up stenography. After getting intimate in late April, Kay aborted three of Dwight’s children before they were married on December 4, 1922. [32] The resulting films Divorce, Wife Wanted, and Allotment Wives had limited releases in 1945 and 1946. As Belinda in Give Me Your Heart (1936) with co-stars George Brent and Roland Young, her performance had "reticence and pathos" and garnered welcoming reviews from The New York Times. [34][37] She regularly socialized with homosexual men, one of whom, Anderson Lawler, was reportedly paid $10,000 by Warner Bros. to accompany her to Europe in 1934, to keep her out of mischief. [33] She recovered in an oxygen tent at the local hospital; soon retiring from acting and then, public life. At first she refused, but changed her mind and packed her bags for the West Coast. studio.[2]. And Kay Francis, well, she’s just smooth. [38], In 1966, Francis was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, but the cancer had spread and proved fatal. Her mother had been born in Nova Scotia, Canada, and was a moderately successful actress and singer under the stage name Katharine Clinton. Thought of as a quitter and sellout for decades, Kay’s memory went into a major eclipse after her death, with only knowledgeable film buffs knowing of her work. [10] Sylvia Sidney, although a teenager at the time, had the lead in Crime, but later said that Francis stole the show. After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star at the Warner Brothers … Mar 8, 2019 - Explore John Myers Art's board "Kay Frances - Actress", followed by 2039 people on Pinterest. It was an unconventional childhood, and the two were in constant financial trouble, though being raised in the theater world was excellent training for a girl who would grow up into one of the theater’s most delightful personalities. Originally titled Lady Doctor, the film was shelved then retitled Unlawful for reshoots to beef up Bogart's role. I’ve always thought it ridiculous for an attractive, glamorous woman to study Latin and Greek” (PL). Start Now enumerated on May 28, 1910 (Ancestry.com), "$209,100 TO KAY FRANCIS; Actress Topped Warner Brothers Salary Rolls Again This Year", "Style Essentials--Kay Francis Battles in Bias Cut through 1932's TROUBLE IN PARADISE", "Kay Francis Parts From Her Husband; Warner Brothers Announce 'Amicable Separation' Of Film Star And Mackenna. Her career as an actress was launched at the same time, and before her death in 1968, she had appeared on many theater stages, in more than 60 films, on radio, in USO tours, as a model, and on television. Kay Francis is the star of the day (April 9) on Turner Classic Movies, which is presenting 10 of her films.. One of the biggest Hollywood names of the decade, Kay Francis is only rarely mentioned today. The Lindsay Morison Stock Company employed Katherine in 1909, and Kay accompanied her mother throughout theater tours, growing up in hotels and boarding houses (CR). Paramount offered her a starting contract of $300 per week for five weeks. [34], Francis married three times: James Dwight Francis (1922–1925); William Gaston (1925–1927); Kenneth MacKenna (1931–1934); and it was erroneously reported by Walter Winchell her third marriage was to screenwriter John Meehan around 1929. Eight years older than Kay, Dwight was the wealthy son of Henry Francis, manager of the Pontoosuc Woolen Company. Her work in, After her divorce from Dwight, Kay went on a European jaunt that seems to rival her similar venture in, Prior to her decision to go to the stage, Kay had done some modeling for, “Shakespeare’s Hamlet (In Modern Dress)” opened on November 9, 1925 at the Booth Theater in New York. She made her Broad­way debut as the Player Queen in a mod­ern-dress ver­sion of Shake­speare's Ham­let in No­vem­ber 1925. [5] After also attending Miss Fuller's School for Young Ladies in Ossining, New York (1919) and the Cathedral School (1920), she enrolled at the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in New York City. Her onscreen romances with William Powell, Ian Hunter, and George Brent were watched by millions, and she reigned as the highest paid employee on the Warner Bros. lot for three years (PL). 128 talking about this. Katherine Edwina "Kay" Francis (née Gibbs, January 13, 1905 – August 26, 1968) was an American stage and film actress. When I die, I want to be cremated so that no sign of my existence is left on this earth. 1938. All site content is composed and monitored for non-profit purposes only. But her mother and friends seriously doubted her ability to make a successful actress of herself. | Queen of Warner Bros. | However, Kay Francis’ years as an actress weren’t without complications, often being dampened by private tragedies and an emptiness she never filled. Prior to her decision to go to the stage, Kay had done some modeling for Harper’s Bazaar and other notable portrait artists. website builder. "[6] She wanted neither services nor grave marker. This site features an online encyclopedia, biography, chronology, detailed information about her career on film, stage, radio, and television, and much more. By November 1905 the family had relocated to Santa Barbara, California, and then to Los Angeles soon after. Cridà l'atenció amb la seva elegància en una època en què les dones estatunidenques tractaven d'emular, en el bon gust, a les dames parisenques. Able to project both a sense of lavish sophistication as well as an impish side, she flourished in the permissibility and for a short time became one of the most famous and highest paid actresses in the world.Born in Oklahoma City in 1905, Kay traveled around the world with her actress mother. After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star and highest-paid actress at Warner Bros. studio. Francis' clotheshorse reputation and 5.9 feet (1.8 m) frame often led Warners' producers to concentrate resources on lavish sets and costumes, a move designed to appeal to Depression-era female audiences and capitalize on her reputation as the epitome of chic, rather than the quality of the storylines. [33] This incident was first reported as a fainting spell brought on by an accidental overdose from pills, with a complication of respiratory infection. But working on a film set was a learning experience Kay would never forget. All site content is composed and monitored for non-profit purposes only. After Francis' career skyrocketed at Warner Bros., she was loaned back to Paramount for Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932). | I Found Kay Francis | “Crime” was the production that got Kay Francis noticed, but her work in “Elmer the Great” could be written off as the stage production that made her unforgettable. “Crime” was Kay’s first major success of her career. But never mind, that's my life ... As long as they pay me my salary, they can give me a broom and I'll sweep the stage. [6] Although he made an offer of support, Francis refused and instead gained employment on the stage. [20], From 1932 through 1936, Francis was the queen of the Warners lot, and increasingly, her films were developed as star vehicles. [6] MacKenna's Hollywood career foundered, having spent more time in New York, with the couple's amicable separation in 1933, and they divorced in 1934. Mother was on the stage and we were never in one place very long. None of Kay’s work for Stuart Walker was too distinguishable, though the production of “Love Is Like That” featured an up and coming Basil Rathbone as one of Kay’s costars. Realizing that they had a possible star on their hands, Paramount’s Astoria Studio in Queens decided to transfer Kay out to Hollywood. [13] Francis made Press and the Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts (1929) at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens, New York before moving to Hollywood. Kay Frances - kay francis documentary '', followed by 2039 people on Pinterest, see ``... 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