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Remembering Forbidden Planet actress Anne Francis

Anne Francis, who is best known for her roles in Forbidden Planet and Honey West, died on January 2, 2011. Contributor Nicole Bremer Nash offers this remembrance of the actress.

Anne Lloyd Francis learned at a very young age that life is work. By age 5, she was a professional child magazine model, working to help her family survive the Great Depression. But Francis wasn't destined for a life of toil -- she grew into a woman with a knack for acting and a love of the cameras that loved her right back.

Francis is best known among geeks for her role as Altaira Morbius in the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. She won a Golden Globe for her starring role as the sexy detective in the TV show Honey West. Less frequently mentioned is that Francis played multiple roles on The Twilight Zone. Even later in life, the stately actress appeared in Murder She Wrote, Dallas, Matlock, and even had a guest appearance on The Golden Girls, among many other shows.

The beauty struggled against type-casting as she built a serious movie career. Francis later spoke about the struggle to be taken seriously as a young actress, and applauded the women in the film industry now who direct, produce, and altogether have larger roles in movie making than the attractive actress was allowed in the 1950s.

The actress retired from showbiz in 2000. From there, her efforts went to charitable causes, predominantly Direct Relief, The Desert AIDS Project, and Angel View.

Francis was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, and pronounced a lung cancer survivor by the end of 2008. Francis passed away on January 2, 2011 due to complications of pancreatic cancer. She is survived by two daughters (one of whom Francis adopted in one of California's earliest adoptions to a single parent), a son-in-law, a grandson, and a legacy that not only includes being an early science-fiction actress, but also paving the way for women to have a voice in Hollywood.

You can see Francis in one of her early roles in this trailer for Forbidden Planet.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

6 comments
Alan Shortall
Alan Shortall

She started so early and no wonder she reached what she had today because she began her career on her tender years. Anne Francis has the cutest mole in the face. She was also classy and a good actress. - Unilife Alan Shortall

JamesRL
JamesRL

Who was also a star in Forbidden Planet, during his serious leading man days.

fastfriend
fastfriend

I'm 62 years old. My parents took both my sister and I to a "drive in movie". I was 8 years old at the time. Forbidden Planet had such a profound effect on me, that for the rest of my life I was drawn time and again to science classes and every book I could get my hands on. The DVD copy of the movie is available from Turner Films. I hardily recommend you buy it and prepare yourself for a real treat of great SciFy produced in this or any other time period.

PromptJock
PromptJock

I recall seeing Ms. Francis for the first time in "Forbidden Planet" on TV. I also saw her as a "live" mannequin in a Twilight Zone episode and catching reruns of "Honey West" when I was a teenager in the late 70's. She was a classy actress, and had lots of real sex appeal, punctuated by her cute little mole near the corner of her mouth....

smichael9
smichael9

I always thought that Forbidden Planet was one of the most creative stories put on film. Great concept, and a remarkable effort for the special effects guys. Still an enjoyable film to watch today.

seravilo
seravilo

I remember her best from the original broadcasts of Honey West-- never missed an episode, not even the reruns-- and the Twilight Zone Dummies. If they'd syndicate reruns today I'd still watch 'em! Forbidden Planet was a latter-day appreciation. I will miss not having her around anymore. I can't think of a FIRST CRUSH before her....