Kay Francis, Happy Birthday! 1930s Super-Star! Born January 13th


The exceptional Kay Francis was born on Friday the 13th, 1905 and died in August of 1968. She is most likely, the largest of Hollywood’s Golden era forgotten stars, although, this statement has been made repeatedly, it is true none the less. She made more than seventy movies in just seventeen years and earned an important position in Hollywood history.


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Francis was already a success on Broadway before appearing before the cameras; she started on the Great White Way, with Hamlet in 1925, Crime, and then Venus, both in 1927; she finished her pre-Hollywood career with Elmer the Great in 1928.


Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, September 25, 1928


Both Francis and Walter Huston had been in Elmer the Great on Broadway, and each made their film debuts in 1929; Elmer the Great the celluloid version was originally proposed with Huston repeating his Broadway role of Elmer Kane and it was suspected that Francis would reprise her part as Evelyn Corey as well;[1] Elmer the Great would be delayed until 1933, with Joe E. Brown and Claire Dodd in those respective roles.

Near the end of her work in movies, Francis would return to the Great White Way for one more play, State of the Union, 1945; albeit as a replacement for Ruth Hussey, who was in her first Broadway production. In celebration of the lady who was given the moniker “America’s Best Dressed Woman” (which was bestowed during her Broadway years),[2] christened with the title “Vamping with Sound” and was described as “the first menace of the talkies”[3] make it a Kay Francis day…






By C. S. Williams


[1] Film Daily, April 21, 1929

[2] Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) July 24, 1929

[3] Photoplay Magazine, October, 1934




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