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|Frances Farmer in a publicity headshot|
|Birthday/Birthplace||Frances Elena Farmer
(1913-09-19)September 19, 1913
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Deceased||August 1, 1970(1970-08-01)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Cause of death||Esophageal cancer|
|Resting place||Oaklawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery|
|School(s)||West Seattle High School|
|College(s)||University of Washington|
|Profession(s)||Actress, television host|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Wife/Husband||Leif Erickson (m. 1936; div. 1942)
Alfred Lobley (m. 1951; div. 1958)
Leland Mikesell (m. 1958; div. 1963)
Frances Elena Farmer (Seattle, September 19, 1913-Indianapolis, August 1, 1970) was an American film, theater and television actress.
Frances Farmer’s Biography
Frances was born on September 19, 1913 in Seattle, Washington, the youngest daughter of Ernest Melvin Farmer, a lawyer, and Lillian Farmer (née Van Ornum, 1873-1955) who ran a board and dietitian. Frances had two sisters and an older brother. After winning a literary contest in 1931 during her last year of high school with a very controversial essay, “God Dies”, she was accused of being an atheist and a communist.
He studied drama at the University of Washington and combined the studies with performances in theater plays organized by the university. In 1935 he won a contest for subscribers of the left-wing newspaper, The Voice of Action. The first prize was a trip to the Soviet Union, which she accepted despite the strong objection of her mother, to see the pioneering Moscow Art Theater. Such interest fostered the rumor that besides being an atheist, he was a Communist. Upon her return in summer of the same year, she stopped in New York, to really begin a career as a theater actress. However, she was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout who offered her a seven-year contract at Paramount; Farmer, who was twenty-two, moved to Hollywood and married actor Leif Erickson, whose proud and stubborn character quickly made her lose popularity in Hollywood, which led her back to the theater, which she would later combine with the cinema. , again in the Paramount. In 1942, he divorced Erickson.
As a result, she was caught in a spiral of scandals, arrested for drunken driving, reported by a hairdresser in the studio who allegedly dislocated her jaw with a blow, and during court hearings for such events. He physically attacked the police and the judge. She was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Los Angeles, where she was diagnosed with manic-depressive psychosis and later with paranoid schizophrenia. She underwent insulin injections and remained in detention for nine months until she escaped from the center.
She returned to Seattle with her parents again, but the discussions with her mother were continuous and, after physically assaulting her, she was re-confined for three months in a psychiatric hospital in Washington, where she received a harsh treatment based on electroshocks.
At the age of 32, he would return to the same psychiatric center, where he would stay for five years, in which, in addition to electroshock therapy, he was allegedly raped repeatedly with the consent of the center’s doctors, and a lobotomy was performed. , although the latter is not proven. It does not appear in the hospital archives, the lobotomy was considered an innovative method then and it was not hidden, and in 1983 several Seattle newspapers interviewed former staff members of the center, including all the nurses in the lobotomy ward during the years in that Farmer was hospitalized and they all said that she was not a patient there.
The alleged lobotomy was first mentioned in 1978, by Seattle film critic William Arnold in his book Shadowland and the alleged brutalities during his five-year internship were also made public after his death in the posthumous autobiography Will There Really Be a Morning ?, published by her friend Jean Ratcliffe with suspicions that she wrote it herself or exaggerated certain parts, although she claimed that she only wrote the final part about Frances’s death.
After this, in 1954 she married Alfred H. Lobley and worked for a few years as a secretary in Eureka, California. She later met Leland C. Mikesell, who sought work from her at the Sheraton Hotel in San Francisco as a receptionist and encouraged her to write an article about her experiences, which drew attention back to her. In an interview with Modern Screen magazine he said: “I do not blame anyone for my fall …thinkwon the fight to control myself”, appeared twice on The Ed Sullivan Show and on another TV show, This is Your Life , presenter Ralph Edwards asked about his alleged alcoholism: “Other stories accuse you of being an alcoholic. Were you Frances?” she replied: “No,was never an alcoholic.” After divorcing Lobley, he married Mikesell. This third marriage would end in divorce in 1963.
After that, she worked on television, especially on the Frances Farmer Presents program (1958-1964), where she was a kind hostess. Her last performance was in the play The Visit in 1965. She had been fired from television for her erratic behavior again. Farmer and his friend Jean Ratcliffe tried to create a cosmetics company but the project failed when their investor misappropriated the funds and died in 1970, at the age of 56, of esophageal cancer due to their smoking. She is buried in the Oaklawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Fishers, Indiana.
Culture Club pay homage to him in the video “Medal Song”.
In relation to the actress the Seattle music group Nirvana dedicated a song to Farmer, entitled “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle”. Courtney Love also brought a dress that belonged to Farmer at her wedding, even though Courtney and Kurt’s daughter is Frances Bean Cobain, not because of Frances Farmer but because of The Vaselines member Frances McKee.
French singer Mylène Farmer took her surname in honor of this actress and actress Jessica Lange was nominated for an Oscar for embodying Farmer in the film Frances, from 1982.
More Facts about Frances Farmer
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