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Kay Francis

Kay Francis



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TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (9)

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Also Known As: Katherine Edwina Gibbs Died: August 26, 1968
Born: January 13, 1899 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA Profession: Cast ... actor producer stenographer real estate agent


One of the most glamorous stars of the 1930s, Kay Francis spent much of her screen time dressed to the nines in a series of the latest fashions. An imposing 5'9" tall, she received her start on stage and then graduated into the movie industry as a contract player at first, Paramount Pictures, and then Warner Brothers. Despite a mild speech impediment, she swiftly became one of Hollywood's premiere leading ladies, thanks to successes like "One Way Passage" (1932), "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), "Mandalay" (1934), and "I Found Stella Parish" (1935), and was the country's highest-paid actress in 1936. No one's idea of a wallflower, Francis relished the wild life, going through several husbands and numerous lovers, which resulted in a number of unwanted pregnancies. At the height of her fame, a falling out with Warner resulted in fewer prestige assignments for Francis and her popularity diminished. Once free from their dictates, she worked for various studios and devoted much of her free time to USO tours and entertaining American troops overseas. However, by the mid-1940s, film employment had dried up and fans would only be able to catch her in a handful of stage and television productions during the years that followed. A larger-than-life personality both on and off-screen, Francis was mostly forgotten in later years, but both the actress' life and acting career were too rich and intriguing for her to languish in such undeserved obscurity.

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