Frances Farmer, 1930s
Frances Farmer, 1930s Photographic Print
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September 19, 1913 to August 1, 1970

A very intelligent woman, Frances Farmer gained an early reputation as a "trouble maker."  In high school she wrote a paper entitled "God Dies" which was interpreted as being Atheistic.  In college she won a contest in a leftist magazine that garnered her a trip to Russia which she insisted on taking in order to experience the Moscow Art Theatre.  Quickly she was regarded as not only an atheist, but also something of a Communist.  As Frances would later admit, she had been labeled a "bad girl" and found herself trying to live up to the title.  Her true love was theatre, but when Hollywood noticed her they quickly took control signing her to a seven year contract.  Frances was often cast as a co-star and found many of her roles unchallenging.  She eventually turned to alcohol and slid downhill to a now infamous and sensationalized stint or two in mental hospitals. According to a number of sources, her treatment in the hospitals has been exaggerated and "spiced up" in books and in the film Frances which starred Jessica Lange.  The film portrayed her as having had a lobotomy, but she in fact, it appears, never received one.  Frances later starred in her own television show Frances Farmer Presents which was number one in its time slot.  In 1964 her behavior became unstable again and included an arrest for drunk driving.  Frances Farmer died of Esophageal Cancer at the age of 56.







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