The Incomparable, Kay Francis!

The Incomparable, Kay Francis!

Kay Francis is probably one of the most fabulous, but forgotten stars of the Golden Era of Hollywood. When Kay started in “the business”, she was interested in acting and men. Her career is to die-for. Kay Francis carried the nickname, the “Queen of Warner Brothers”, in the 1930’s. Her salary was over 6 times what Bette Davis was making! During the Depression, Kay was bringing in over $200,000 a year. A self-made millionaire, this woman led a rich, grand life. What F. Scott Fitzgerald would have called, “the flaming youth”. Kay starred with the best leading men of the era including, Cary Grant, Erroll Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Powell. Kay’s life is straight out of a juicy, romance novel. She had one-night stands, uninhibited bisexual liaisons, and countless affairs with some of those “biggest” stars of that era! Her films were memorable, “Trouble in Paradise”, is a classic. But, her beauty was the real star…her eyes, raven hair, and figure were remarkable. She was Orry-Kelly’s dream girl! By the end of the ’30’s Kay became dissatisfied with being a “clotheshorse” and typecast as the dying, heroine. She began to feud with her employers and in turn, they paid to have an article published that called her, “box office poison”! They also did this to Hepburn, Garbo, Astaire, and Mae West. We all know Hollywood can play dirty…Kay’s contract was terminated with Warners but, she went on acting. Francis held her own, playing supporting roles and motherly types. During World War II, Kay volunteered with the USO, along with Carole Landis (see my 10th entry, 5 days ago). Kay and Carole were two of the four Jills in, “Four Jills in a Jeep”, the best-selling, book Landis wrote. Kay retired completely from the big screen by the end of the, 1940’s. Kay Francis was the epitome of the Roaring ’20’s and she will forever live on, on celluloid!

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