Monday, January 03, 2011

We’ll Miss You, Honey, Good-bye

Anne Francis, the New York-born actress who first gained widespread attention through her co-starring role in the 1956 science-fiction film Forbidden Planet, but later played the sexy title role in ABC-TV’s Honey West (1965-1966), died on Sunday at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California. She was 80 years old.

As the Los Angeles Times recalls,
A shapely blond with a signature beauty mark next to her lower lip, Francis was a former child model and radio actress when she first came to notice on the big screen in the early 1950s.

She had leading or supporting roles in more than 30 movies, including “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Battle Cry,” “Blackboard Jungle,” “The Hired Gun,” “Don’t Go Near the Water,” “Brainstorm,” “Funny Girl” and “Hook, Line and Sinker.”

She also achieved cult status as one of the stars of “Forbidden Planet,” the 1956 MGM movie costarring Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Nielsen and featuring a helpful robot named Robby.

Francis, however, never became a major movie star and was more frequently seen on television as a guest star on scores of series from the late ’50s and decades beyond, including an episode of “The Twilight Zone” in which she played a department store mannequin who comes to life at night.

But it’s as the star of “Honey West,” the first female detective to be featured in a weekly TV series, that Francis may be best remembered.
Francis picked up a Golden Globe award as best female TV star and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Honey West. Despite being denied another leading role in a TV series, she racked up an impressive résumé of guest-starring roles in everything from The Name of the Game and Banacek, to Ellery Queen and Columbo, Search, Assignment: Vienna, Archer, Barnaby Jones, Murder, She Wrote, Riptide, Without a Trace, and ... well, the list could go on and on.

The actress had been treated for lung cancer, but cause of death was attributed to complications of pancreatic cancer.

WATCH MORE: At least for the time being, “The After Hours,” that June 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone in which Anne Francis played a peculiarly active mannequin, can be seen in three parts on YouTube.

READ MORE:The Late Great Anne Francis,” by Mercurie (A Shroud of Thoughts); “Honey West: Anne Francis, R.I.P.,” by Jason Whiton (Spy Vibe); “Honey West Kicked Open the Door for Female Action Stars on American TV,” by Rick29 (Classic Film and TV Café).

1 comment:

Rural View said...

I remember her best from movies but was always delighted to see her on favorite shows like "Murder She Wrote." Too many of our old favorite actors are leaving us lately.