Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

Overview

Kay Francis came of age in the Roaring Twenties and relished the era's hedonistic pursuits. 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. The tall, stylish actress had a husky voice and dark beauty that was striking on film. Despite her financial success, relaxed morals, and life as a socialite, the millionaire actress shunned luxuries such as limousines ...
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Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

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Overview

Kay Francis came of age in the Roaring Twenties and relished the era's hedonistic pursuits. 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. The tall, stylish actress had a husky voice and dark beauty that was striking on film. Despite her financial success, relaxed morals, and life as a socialite, the millionaire actress shunned luxuries such as limousines and sprawling estates popular among Hollywood elite.

The actress who insisted she wanted to be forgotten left behind scrapbooks, boxes of memorabilia and detailed diaries. These rich resources help provide an exhaustive look at the life of one of Hollywood's most intriguing early stars.

Francis' biography is the heart of this book, beginning with her family background and her upbringing by a vaudevillian actress mother. The story of her extensive career and never-ending romantic pursuits is peppered with comments from the media and her own diaries, and supplemented with ample photographs. A chronology gives dates of theater openings, film releases, marriages, television and radio appearances, births and deaths. A filmography includes complete cast and credit lists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786423668
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/11/2006
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 409,341
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Kear is an award-winning biographer, playwright, and novelist. She lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Author John Rossman lives in New York. They are co-authors of the filmography The Complete Kay Francis Career Record (2007).

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Wonderful Kay Francis Bio

    Kay Francis was one the most enigmatic stars of the 30's and this book brings her back to life. Including her own diary entries, it shows a woman with intelligence and wit.It takes us through the roaring 20s where Kay came of age. Hollywood in it's golden age with Kay comments on people,places and events.Kay Francis was an independent free spirit, a modern woman ahead of her time. Anyone interested in her or her films will find this book both entertaining and informative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2006

    Great stars story finally told

    Great book on the life and career of a actress who has been forgotten. A actress who made films of women who suffered heartbreak and lost. A very glamoures actress of the studio era.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2006

    Memorable Hollywood Diva Will NOT Be Forgotten

    Finally! The definitive biography on the life of almost forgotten movie star, Kay Francis, perhaps the screen¿s most notable diva of the 1930¿s and 40¿s blessed with both an educated fashion sense and a speech impediment¿ Still a devoted legion somewhere out there, her remembering fans as well as newer devotees will be thrilled with the immense amount of research and meticulous attention to detail that obviously went into the writing of this book. Authors Lynn Kear and John Rossman have completely overshadowed any other fizzled efforts to capture this most fascinating subject, placing her back in her well deserved role as one of Hollywood¿s brightest and most beautiful cinematic stars. Brimming with historic photographs, publicity shots, and movie stills, this tremendous effort uncovers genealogical occurrences prior to Kay¿s birth, thoroughly examines the less successful stage career of her mother, actress and vaudevillian Katherine Clinton, and unravels the many financial blunders of her often absent father, Joe Gibbs. The book then follows Kay through a most unstable adolescence and reveals the ravenous details of Kay¿s meteoric rise from secretarial school and fashion savvy hopeful to the top of her chosen profession as she became, during The Great Depression no less, the highest paid film actress on the Warner Brothers¿ lot. The authors have also mined the cryptic details of calendar diaries left behind by the elusive star and in doing so, have reconstructed her extraordinary appetite for sexual escapades with both men and women, some of them legendary Hollywood icons like herself. Kay Francis¿A Passionate Life and Career, McFarland copyright 2006, captures the decadence and moral abandonment of what was undoubtedly Hollywood¿s most fascinating era with well placed poignancy and understanding. In these pages, the authors have revealed their subject as a mere mortal capable of bizarre behaviors and ethical meandering while celebrating her tremendous international success as a film star and acknowledging her passionate disdain for the entertainment industry that gave her everything. Francis¿ later years, some of them spent back on the stage in both Broadway and summer stock ventures, are also well documented as she begins to slip into the obscurity she often said she craved and finds herself living a more isolated existence and dealing with health issues, many of them brought on by the hedonistic exploits of her exotic and wayward youth. Authors Kear and Rossman have sculpted a remarkable and definitive review of the legendary life and career of this not quite forgotten movie star. They¿ve included a chronology, complete with film release dates, and a detailed filmography of all 68 of her motion pictures, as well as chapter notes acknowledging their meticulously researched sources. With apologies to ¿Miss Fwancis¿, we must acknowledge this book to be the most memorable Hollywood biography we¿ve read in recent years.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2006

    Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

    I didn't know much about Kay before and I really enjoyed learning about her life. The authors used Kay's private diaries as the source for this book. There's quite a lot of juicy stuff in there like Kay's claims about affairs with Otto Preminger and Carole Landis! What I liked best is that the authors include many of Kay's own diary entries in the book. This is really Kay finally telling her story to the world. There is also a filmography, lots of pictures, and a complete chronology of Kay's life. This is one movie star biography that is worth every penny!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2006

    Fascinating, thorough biography

    This lavishly illustrated biography is a great read. It includes great nuggets of research, including previously unknown information about Kay's parents, her bisexual relationships, and behind-the-scenes tidbits about her film roles. The diary entries are particularly revealing. Wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2006

    Finally -- a definitive bio on Kay

    What a wonderful bio on a fascinating and complicated woman sadly overlooked for decades. Exceptionally well-written and painstakingly researched, this book not only tells a full and textured account of all aspects of Kay Francis' life and work but also deftly weaves in historical content of the heady times and locales she occupied. A MUST read for Kay fans and anyone interested in the golden age of films. This juicy and revealing book is a biographical treasure and one of those rare instances of exciting, original information in an exceedingly well done package. Best thing I've read in a long time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006

    Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

    I didn't know much about Kay before and I really enjoyed learning about her life. The authors used Kay's private diaries as the source for this book. There's quite a lot of juicy stuff in there like Kay's claims about affairs with Otto Preminger and Carole Landis! What I liked best is that the authors include many of Kay's own diary entries in the book. This is really Kay finally telling her story to the world. There is also a filmography, lots of pictures, and a complete chronology of Kay's life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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