Anne Francis and Robby the Robot in a publicity still from Forbidden Planet (1956)
Anne Francis, who played the female interest in a bunch of great movies in the 1950s, has died at the age of 80. Francis might be best remembered for Forbidden Planet, where she played the daughter who brought out Walter Pidgeon's monsters from the id, but I could just as easily have recommended her first in Bad Day at Black Rock, or as Glenn Ford's wife in Blackboard Jungle. Francis was also the love interest for both Cornel Wilde and traitor Michael Wilding in The Scarlet Coat, about the Benedict Arnold affair. And how could I forget a fun stinker like The Crowded Sky.
Francis started appearing more on the small screen than the big screen in the 1960s, getting the title role as female detective Honey West in 1965, and dozens of guest appearances and TV movies. It's well known, for example, that Angela Lansbury, when she started working on Murder, She Wrote, enjoyed the people she had worked with at the beginning of her career in the 1940s, and brought a lot of those names back for guest appearances. Francis showed up three times on Murder, She Wrote, playing three different characters!
TCM has the rights to enough good movies that they could air a night of films in tribute to Francis, but I don't know if they've scheduled a tribute yet.
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