Monday, January 3, 2011

Remembering Anne Francis, 1930 - 2011


We've learned today of the death of lovely actress Anne Francis, gorgeous beyond belief and also an extremely talented, intelligent and classy human being. She's probably best remembered, at least by pop culture super-aficionados, for her 1956 co-starring role as Altaira in the classic science fiction movie Forbidden Planet, where she understandably caught the eye of stalwart space captain Leslie Nielsen.






Anne Francis also worked constantly in television throughout her entire career, and started many a boomer boy's heart a'thumping with her starring role (Emmy-nominated, too) as super-sexy secret agent Honey West -- remember her pet ocelot? -- in the 1965-1966 series of the same name. Though it only lasted one 30-episode season, Honey West in the super groovy form of Anne Francis lives on in sweet memory and also now in a newly-released DVD set. (Anne as Honey had been introduced in an episode of the Gene Barry-starring Burke's Law).




Outside of Honey West, what a stunning small screen career she had, studded with milestones. How about her truly unforgettable turn as the slightly bewildered department store shopper Marsha in "The After Hours" episode of Twilight Zone? More than one TZone marathon has been redeemed by this eerie half-hour, which also boasts a wonderful comic performance by the great James Millhollin. From Miss Francis' early work in TV anthologies of the period, to over one hundred or so guest roles on all the biggest series of the past fifty years, she was always a welcome sight and one of the most luscious ladies in Hollywood.

You couldn't miss her on your TV set: Route 66, Dr. Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Alfred Hitchcock, Arrest and Trial, Death Valley Days, Ben Casey, The Fugitive, The Invaders, Mission: Impossible, The Name of the Game, The Virginian, My Three Sons, Gunsmoke, Columbo, Cannon, The F.B.I., Ironside, Barnaby Jones, S.W.A.T., Black Sheep Squadron, Police Woman, Hawaii 5-O, Dallas, Fantasy Island, CHiPS, Simon and Simon, Trapper John, The Love Boat, Riptide, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Wings, Home Improvement, The Drew Carey Show, and many others.

Anne Francis was a Hollywood survivor with legions of fans and admirers. Do look her up and try to watch some of her appearances -- I'll try to link to some more in the next few days.


5 comments:

Toby O'B said...

For me, her big four in TV - Honey West, Twilight Zone, and the 2 episodes of 'Columbo'. And you pointed out two qualities that I was even able to see even through the haze of my teen lust stupefaction back then - she exuded class and intelligence. And she'll be missed....

frnklin2001 said...

Gervaise Ravel was one of the best villains on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. She was a much better actor than a woman of her beauty needed to be.

Suzi said...

I had forgotten how often she was on tv in the sixties in series episodes. Can't wait to see what else you dig up.

Kraft1963 said...

She appeared on Kraft Suspense Theatre in 1963. Click on my name and search the archives to the Kraft Suspense Theatre blog.

Peter Troyan said...

Anne Francis was cute in a sexy way.