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Frances Farmer Biography
- Born in Seattle, Frances Farmer studied drama at the University of Washington, Seattle. In 1935, she went to Hollywood where she secured a seven-year contract with Paramount. In 1943, she was wrongfully declared mentally incompetent and committed by her parents to a series of asylums and public mental hospitals, leading to a false rumor that she received a lobotomy. After seven years she was released, and spent some of the remaining years of her life tending the parents who had committed her and taking odd jobs. She appeared on "This Is Your Life" (1952), and then her own TV show, "Frances Farmer Presents" (1958) for six years. She died of cancer in 1970.
Frances Farmer Filmography
- (1998) E! Mysteries & Scandals as Herself (archive footage)
- (1958) Frances Farmer Presents as Hostess (1958-1964)
- (1958) The Party Crashers as Mrs. Bickford
- (1956) Playhouse 90 as Val Schmitt
- (1955) Matinee Theatre as
- (1952) This Is Your Life as Herself
- (1948) Studio One as Sarah Walker
- (1948) Toast of the Town as Herself
- (1943) I Escaped from the Gestapo as (montage sequence)
- (1942) Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake as Isabel
- (1941) Among the Living as Elaine Raden
- (1941) Badlands of Dakota as Calamity Jane
- (1941) World Premiere as Kitty Carr
- (1940) Flowing Gold as Linda Chalmers
- (1940) South of Pago Pago as Ruby Taylor
- (1938) Ride a Crooked Mile as Trina
- (1937) Ebb Tide as Faith Wishart
- (1937) Exclusive as Vina Swain
- (1937) The Toast of New York as Josie Mansfield
- (1936) Border Flight as Anne Blane
- (1936) Come and Get It as Lotta Morgan/Lotta Bostrom
- (1936) Rhythm on the Range as Doris Halloway
- (1936) Too Many Parents as Sally Colman
Frances Farmer Trivia and Facts
- Farmer was the subject of a song Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle on the album In-Utero by Nirvana.
- Contrary to popular belief, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was not named after Frances Farmer.
- Frances Farmer My Hero - The Unauthorized Biography is a rock opera based on the life of the tragic screen star.
- Stephen Cush, a member of the British group The Men They Couldnt Hang wrote a song called Lobotomy Gets Em Home in memory of Frances Farmer after he saw the biographical film Frances (1982). The song appears on the album Silvertown on Silvertone Records - now deleted.
- Singer Patterson Hood included the song Frances Farmer in his 2004 album Killers and Stars which features Farmers picture on the cover.
- Culture Club and Everything But The Girl both wrote songs about her, The Medal Song and Ugly Little Dreams respectively.
- French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer chose her stage name in homage to Frances, and her first hit song, Maman a tort, in 1984 was about the actress.
- Her rise and tragic fall were documented in the movie Frances (1982) with Jessica Lange in the lead role. She received an Oscar nomination for best actress for her performance.
- Was portrayed by Susan Blakely in Will There Really Be a Morning? (1983) .
- She inspired several literature works: "Gods Peculiar Care" (1991) by Patrick Roscoe (from the title of Farmers lost biographical novel), the thriller "The Canvas Prison" (1982) by Gordon DeMarco and the collection of short stories "Las fotografías de Frances Farmer" (1992) by Peruvian author Iván Thays.
- Her life is also profiled in the A&E documentary "Frances Farmer: Paradise Lost" (2001) directed by Lawrence Williams.
- The actress was the subject of several theater plays: The Frances Farmer Story by Sebastian Stuart , Golden Girl by Peter Occhiogrosso and Saint Frances of Hollywood by Sally Clarke .
- For her very special tribute appearance on "This Is Your Life" (1958), Frances was given an automobile - an Edsel.
- Director Howard Hawks said he considered her the best actress he ever worked with.
- Her third, and last, husband Leland C. Mikesell was born May 20, 1904 and died January 1971.
Frances Farmer Quotes
- [Regarding her experience as a mental patient] Never console yourself into believing that the terror has passed, for it looms as large and evil today as it did in the despicable era of Bedlam. But I must relate the horrors as I recall them, in the hope that some force for mankind might be moved to relieve forever the unfortunate creatures who are still imprisoned in the back wards of decaying institutions.
Frances Farmer Other Works
- Golden Boy (1937). Drama. Written by 'Clifford Odets' . Stage Manager: 'Alan Woolfson' . Assistant Stage Manager: 'Martin Ritt (I)' and Bert Conway. Directed by 'Harold Clurman' . Belasco Theatre: 4 Nov 1937- Jun 1938 (closing date unknown/250 performances). Cast: 'Luther Adler' (as "Joe Bonaparte"), 'Roman Bohnen' (as "Tom Moody"), 'Phoebe Brand' (as "Anna"), Harry Bratsburg, 'Morris Carnovsky' (as "Mr. Bonaparte"), 'Lee J. Cobb' (as "Mr. Carp"), Bert Conway, Charles Crisp, 'Howard Da Silva' (as "Lewis"), 'Frances Farmer' (as "Lorna Moon"), 'John Garfield (I)' (as "Siggie") [credited as Jules Garfield], Michael Gordon, 'Elia Kazan' (as "Eddie Fuselli"), Robert Lewis, Charles Niemeyer, John O'Malley, Martin Ritt (as "Sam"), 'Karl Malden' (as "Barker") [Broadway debut; credited as Mladen Sekulovich], Art Smith. Produced by The Group Theatre.
- Thunder Rock (1939). Drama. Written by 'Robert Ardrey' . Directed by 'Elia Kazan' . Mansfield Theatre: 14 Nov 1939- 2 Dec 1939 (23 performances). Cast: 'Frances Farmer' (as "Melanie"), 'Luther Adler' , 'Roman Bohnen' , Harry Bratsburg, Phil Brown, 'Morris Carnovsky' , 'Lee J. Cobb' , Mary Fowler, Robert Lewis, 'Myron McCormick' , Ruth Nelson, Art Smith. Produced by The Group Theatre, Inc.