Francine York was a prolific and successful character actress, carving out parts for herself across stage, film, and television. Born Francine Yerich on August 26, 1936, she spent the first five years of her life in the small mining town of Aurora, Minnesota, before her family picked up and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. She first caught the acting bug at the age of nine, while playing the evil stepsister Griselda in her elementary school's production of "Cinderella." When York was 17, she became a runner-up in the Miss Minnesota pageant, which kickstarted her modeling career. It took her from Minneapolis to San Francisco, where she signed with the House of Charm agency and began appearing in ads for major department stores, including Macy's, and eventually won the title of Miss San Francisco. Following a brief stint as a showgirl, York finally made it to Hollywood, where she began taking acting lessons with the actor/teacher Jeff Corey, and was cast in her big screen debut: Robert Clarke's exploitation film "Secret File Hollywood" (1962). York caught a huge break when Jerry Lewis cast her as a seductress in "It's Only Money" (1962). Lewis would go on to cast York in five more of his comedies: "The Nutty Professor" (1963), "The Patsy" (1964), "The Disorderly Orderly" (1964), "The Family Jewels" (1965), and "Cracking Up" (1983). York's most memorable film role came in "The Doll Squad" (1973), as a CIA agent who led a group of gorgeous, deadly female assassins. On television, York guest-starred on "Perry Mason" (CBS, 1957-1966) and "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). As her acting work dried up in the late 1970s, York launched a second career as a fitness expert and gourmet cook, and often showed off her culinary skills on television. She mounted a comeback late in life, appearing in the Nicolas Cage drama "The Family Man" (2000), and guesting on "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land, 2010-15) and "The Mindy Project" (Fox, 2012-15, Hulu, 2015). York died of cancer at the age of 80, on January 6, 2017 in Van Nuys, CA.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made film debut in "Secret File Hollywood"
Began long collaboration with Jerry Lewis in "It's Only Money"
Starred in action b-movie "The Doll Squad"