Finally! The definitive biography on the life of almost forgotten movie star, Kay Francis, perhaps the screen's most notable diva of the 1930's and 40's, blessed with both an educated fashion sense and a speech impediment... Still a devoted legion somewhere out there, her remembering fans as well as newer devotees will be thrilled with the immense amount of research and meticulous attention to detail that obviously went into the writing of this book. Authors Lynn Kear and John Rossman have completely overshadowed any other fizzled efforts to capture this most fascinating subject, placing her back in her well deserved role as one of Hollywood's brightest and most beautiful cinematic stars.
Brimming with historic photographs, publicity shots, and movie stills, this tremendous effort uncovers genealogical occurrences prior to Kay's birth, thoroughly examines the less successful stage career of her mother, actress and vaudevillian Katherine Clinton, and unravels the many financial blunders of her often absent father, Joe Gibbs. The book then follows Kay through a most unstable adolescence and reveals the ravenous details of Kay's meteoric rise from secretarial school and fashion savvy hopeful to the top of her chosen profession as she became, during The Great Depression no less, the highest paid film actress on the Warner Brothers' lot. The authors have also mined the cryptic details of calendar diaries left behind by the elusive star and in doing so, have reconstructed her extraordinary appetite for sexual escapades with both men and women, some of them legendary Hollywood icons like herself.
Kay Francis-A Passionate Life and Career, McFarland copyright 2006, captures the decadence and moral abandonment of what was undoubtedly Hollywood's most fascinating era with well placed poignancy and understanding. In these pages, the authors have revealed their subject as a mere mortal capable of bizarre behaviors and ethical meandering while celebrating her tremendous international success as a film star and acknowledging her passionate disdain for the entertainment industry that gave her everything. Francis' later years, some of them spent back on the stage in both Broadway and summer stock ventures, are also well documented as she begins to slip into the obscurity she often said she craved and finds herself living a more isolated existence and dealing with health issues, many of them brought on by the hedonistic exploits of her exotic and wayward youth.
Authors Kear and Rossman have sculpted a remarkable and definitive review of the legendary life and career of this not quite forgotten movie star. They've included a chronology, complete with film release dates, and a detailed filmography of all 68 of her motion pictures, as well as chapter notes acknowledging their meticulously researched sources. With apologies to "Miss Fwancis", we must acknowledge this book to be the most memorable Hollywood biography we've read in recent years.