Frances Farmer
Actor
Frances Farmer
Frances Elena Farmer was an American actress of stage and screen. She is perhaps better known for sensationalized and fictional accounts of her life, and especially her involuntary commitment to a mental hospital. Farmer was the subject of three films, three books, and numerous songs and magazine articles.
Biography
Frances Farmer's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Frances Farmer
News
News abour Frances Farmer from around the web
Missed the Frances Farmer walking tour? Special encore planned - West Seattle Blog (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Following our story about Wednesday night's Admiral District walking tour focusing on “The Life and Times of Frances Farmer,” the brilliant, beautiful, and tragic West Seattle-raised movie star, several commenters voiced regrets they'd missed it
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West Seattle history: Walking tour recalls Frances Farmer - West Seattle Blog (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
That's a clip from “Come and Get It,” featuring West Seattle-raised movie star Frances Farmer, who came back to the city for its premiere in 1936. Seventy-five years later, she remains a local legend and source of curiosity – which brought about 20
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West Seattle Wednesday: Traffic alert; sleep; veggies; kayaking - West Seattle Blog (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
HISTORY TOUR: Historian Peder Nelson, host of the “MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) Minute” series, will lead “The Life and Times of Frances Farmer,” a tour through West Seattle's Admiral neighborhood, childhood home of the tragic star. 6 – 8 pm
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Mobile movie houses, now with air conditioning and the 'crooniest, spooniest ... - Press-Register - al.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Starring Bing Crosby, Frances Farmer, Bob Burns and Martha Raye. At the Crown: "'So They Were Married,' with Mary Astor (then at the height of a divorce trial which scandalized the nation by reports of liaisons with George S. Kaufman and others,
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Noir City: Chicago features 16 flicks that shed light on gritty genre - Chicago Sun-Times
Google News - over 5 years
Also features Susan Hayward, Harry Carey and Frances Farmer. “Sorry, Wrong Number” (5:30, 9:45 pm Aug. 18): Barbara Stanwyck in a tour-de-force performance as a bedridden woman who accidentally hears a murder being planned. Directed by Anatole Litvak
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Frances Farmer, 'Ateş Olarak Geri Dönecek!' - Cumhuriyet
Google News - over 5 years
Frances Farmer ismi bir şey ifade ediyor mu size? Belki evet, belki hayır. Ama yazıyı okuduktan sonra fikriniz iyi kötü değişecek. Çünkü Hollywood'un en iyi kadın oyuncularından Farmer'ın sert hikâyesi boğazda bir düğüm bırakıyor
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KIM MORGAN: Francis (1982): Hollywood's perfect betrayal - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Oh, Frances Farmer. She died 41 years ago August 1st and for those of us who love cinema, the power of performance and brave, talented, intelligent “bad girls” who do not go gentle into that good night—we should feel a pang of sadness
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Sophomore Marilyn Schaaf Crowned 'Miss DePauw' - DePauw University
Google News - over 5 years
Frances Farmer, the film star who now hosts an afternoon program on WFBM-TV in Indianapolis, interviewed Schaaf (seen at left in photo) after she was crowned the winner. A preliminary to the Miss Indiana and Miss America pageants, the Miss DePauw
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Suggestions from a Nyack Library Patron - NyackNewsAndViews
Google News - over 5 years
The Frances Farmer Story? Freud on infantile sexuality? Tai Kwan Do for Dummies? Rock-Hard Abs in 30 Days? The placard is so generalized as to be useless. Ditto “Business and Society”. “Society” is a vastly large subject area. Shouldn't it have its own
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Agenda Cooltural: ¡Títeres Teatro y Más! - El Rancahuaso
Google News - over 5 years
Tributos en el Golden: Este viernes 8, desde las 22:30 horas, en el Pub Golden Active, se presentará la banda Frances Farmer, realizando un gran tributo a Nirvana, con una adhesión de solamente $1000. se realizará un tributo Scorpions, por parte de la
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Americana cavalcade — Neko Case, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss - The Seattle Times
Google News - over 5 years
She says she never enters the hall without thinking about the scene in the movie "Frances," in which Seattle actress Frances Farmer returns to the theater for a movie premier, years after having worked there as an usher. "She tells the MC lady to 'piss
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Los cuatro lados del espectáculo - Filmeweb
Google News - over 5 years
... biografía de una actriz rebelde de Hollywood, Frances Farmer, que le dio a ganar una nominación al Oscar de Mejor actriz en 1982, el mismo año que obtuvo otra nominación de co actuación por “Tootsie”, que filmó con Dustin Hoffman
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DiSsers recommend... Quiet/LOUD songs 14 Jun 15:24 - Drowned In Sound
Google News - over 5 years
TheoGB went for 'Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seatle', and wirdsmith this. ThirstyDog: "Scared the shite out of me first time I heard it." colossalhorse: "I love the way it explodes out of nowhere, slightly off beat
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Милен Фармер: разгадала знак бесконечности - Любимый город
Google News - over 5 years
... однако принято считать, что эта фамилия взята ею в честь американской актрисы 30-х годов Frances Farmer, которая подавала большие надежды, но из-за пристрастия к алкоголю и наркоте провела большую часть 40-х годов в психиатрической лечебнице
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Ann Arbor food & drink calendar - AnnArbor.com
Google News - over 5 years
Sacred Foods: Robust Digestive Health with Frances Farmer. 7-8:30 pm Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room, 114 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Learn how the digestive system functions and the connections between digestive health and auto-immune function,
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Britney Spears: Red Stripe in Hair! - Just Jared
Google News - over 5 years
Brit has become another Frances Farmer. who are you people to say Britney is not happy, do you know Britney, no. Do you know what is going on inside her head, don't think so. She looks amazing and FF is one of the best albums of her career
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Iván Thays y la aventura de un escritor cuarentón en Un sueño fugaz - Radio Programas del Perú
Google News - over 5 years
Iván Thays (Lima 1968), es autor del libro de cuentos Las fotografías de Frances Farmer, y las novelas Escenas de caza, El viaje interior, La disciplina de la vanidad, y Un lugar llamado orejas de perro, finalista del Premio Herralde de Novela
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Did You Know? Quentin Tarantino Asked Kurt Cobain To Play Eric Stoltz's Part ... - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Cranking up “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” to switch it up and being awed by the bass and the wickedly abrasive sounds, you noticed something in the “Thank You” notes that gave you pause. A thanks that included filmmaker Quentin
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Frances Farmer
    FIFTIES
  • 1970
    Age 56
    She died of the disease on August 1, 1970.
    More Details Hide Details She is interred at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Fishers, Indiana. The movie doesn't let us off the hook by giving us someone to blame. Instead, it insists on being a bleak tragedy, and it argues that sometimes it is quite possible for everything to go wrong. Since most movies are at least optimistic enough to provide a cause for human tragedy, this one is sort of daring... But Lange provides a strong emotional center for the film, and when it is over we're left with the feeling that Farmer never really got a chance to be who she should have been, or to do what she should have done. She had every gift she needed in life except for luck, useful friends and an instinct for survival. She might have been one of the greatest movie stars of her time.
    Farmer was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 1970, which was attributed to her life-long habit of heavy smoking.
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    In the years following Farmer's death in 1970, her treatment at Western State was the subject of serious discussion and wild speculation.
    More Details Hide Details Kenneth Anger included a chapter relating her breakdown in Hollywood Babylon. Farmer's posthumously published autobiography Will There Really Be a Morning?, described a brutal incarceration. In the book, Farmer claimed she had been brutalized and mistreated in numerous ways. Some of the claims included being forced to eat her own feces and act as a sex slave for male doctors and orderlies. Farmer recounted her stay in the state asylum as "unbearable terror": "I was raped by orderlies, gnawed on by rats and poisoned by tainted food. I was chained in padded cells, strapped into strait-jackets and half-drowned in ice baths." Farmer's close friend and housemate, writer M. Jean "Jeanira" Ratcliffe, arranged the publication of Will There Really Be a Morning? Controversy exists over what portions of the book Ratcliffe may have edited or ghostwritten. Ratcliffe claimed she only wrote the final chapter dealing with Farmer's death.
  • 1965
    Age 51
    Farmer's last acting role was in The Visit at Loeb Playhouse on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, which ran from October 22 to October 30, 1965.
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  • 1964
    Age 50
    By 1964 her behavior had turned erratic again.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer was fired, re-hired and fired from her television program. The manager of that television station later suggested (in a 1983 interview) that her turn for the worse was triggered by an appearance he had arranged for her on NBC's The Today Show. He had hoped to get her good publicity but believed Farmer had been stressed by being asked on national television about her years of institutionalization. Farmer and Jean Ratcliffe attempted to start a small company producing cosmetics, but although their products were successfully field-tested, the project failed after their funds were embezzled by the man who handled their investment portfolio.
  • FORTIES
  • 1963
    Age 49
    The former couple's divorce was finalized in Indianapolis in 1963.
    More Details Hide Details Frances Farmer Presents eventually ended at the end of the summer of 1964; the station's general manager had fired her in April of that year, hired her back two months later, but then dismissed Farmer permanently in late-August/early-September. Farmer continued her stage work and accepted a role in a Purdue Summer Theatre production of Ketti Frings' Look Homeward, Angel after the demise of her television host role. In 1962 Farmer appeared in a Purdue University production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull and then, in 1965, Farmer played the role of "Claire Zachanassian" in the university's production of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Visit; the latter production has been described in the following manner: The Purdue production wasn't to be the slick Broadway or Hollywood adaptations of the play, but the original "grotesque version." Zachanassian, the richest woman in the world, yet also weirdly handicapped (she sports a wooden leg and an ivory hand), has returned triumphantly (but as an old woman) to the impoverished village of her youth. She offers to save its citizens from poverty on one terrible condition: that they kill Albert Ill, the local grocer, who'd broken her heart when they were teenagers. Zachanassian is a charming and terrible figure—imagine the lovechild of Frankenstein and Greta Garbo.
  • 1959
    Age 45
    Shortly after, she found herself sitting in St. Joan of Arc Catholic church and petitioned that very day to begin her instructions and in 1959 was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer had a great affection for St. Joan of Arc Church and attended services there regularly. During this period, she gave up drinking. During the early 1960s Farmer was actress-in-residence at Purdue University and appeared in some campus productions.
  • 1958
    Age 44
    In the summer of 1958, one of the girls, nestling against her, whispered in her ear, "I love you so much, because you're good."
    More Details Hide Details Farmer was deeply moved: "No one had ever said that to me before. No one had probably ever thought it, for that matter, and it was there, at that moment, that a heart chiseled of stone melted." When the girl left, Farmer burst into tears and it seemed to her that all the evil that had surrounded her was being washed away. She felt that God had come into her life and sensed that she "would have to find a disciplined avenue of faith and worship".
    The show was created after a television executive from the local National Broadcasting Company (NBC) affiliate, WFBM-TV (now known as WRTV), saw her performance in The Chalk Garden in August 1958.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer's television program made her popular as an amiable host, and she subsequently received an award as a local businesswoman of the year. During this period, she divorced Lobley and married Mikesell. However, by March 1959 national wire service reports indicated that she had separated from Mikesell, and that he was suing her for breach of contract.
    Then, in the summer of 1958, Farmer accepted the lead role in a production of Yes, My Darling Daughter, due to the reciprocal arrangements that existed between one of the summer stock East Coast theaters that she performed in and venues in the Midwest; this particular role was based at a theater in Indianapolis.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer's stage work proved to be beneficial, as she received the opportunity to host her own daytime movie program, Frances Farmer Presents.
    Through the spring of 1958, Farmer appeared in several live television dramas, some of which are preserved on kinescope; the same year, she made her last film, The Party Crashers, produced by Paramount and described by one writer as "a crappy B-movie about wild teenagers and stupid adults".
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  • 1957
    Age 43
    In August 1957, Farmer returned to the stage in New Hope, Pennsylvania, for a summer stock production of Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden.
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    In 1957, Farmer met Leland C. Mikesell, an independent broadcast promoter from Indianapolis who helped her move to San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details Mikesell found employment for Farmer, as a receptionist at the Sheraton Hotel in San Francisco, and also arranged for a reporter to write an article after recognizing her—the article led to renewed interest from the entertainment world. Farmer told Modern Screen magazine, "I blame nobody for my fall... I think I have won the fight to control myself." She made two appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and also appeared on This Is Your Life, the latter program perceived by the actress as an opportunity to clarify the veracity of the publicity that she had received throughout her career thus far. Farmer explained to This is Your Lifes host, Ralph Edwards: I would very much like to correct some impressions which arose out of a lot of stories that were written—about me, I guess; but they weren't about me—suggesting things that I couldn't possibly have been doing. Which I never did. I wasn't in a position to defend myself at the time these stories were published. And I'm very happy to be here tonight to let people see that I am the kind of person I am and not a legend that arose.
  • 1954
    Age 40
    After a brief second marriage to utility worker Alfred H. Lobley, in 1954 Farmer moved to Eureka, California, where she worked anonymously for almost three years in a photo studio as a secretary/bookkeeper.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1953
    Age 39
    In 1953, at her own request, 10 years after the arrest at the Knickerbocker Hotel, a judge legally restored Farmer's competency and full civil rights.
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  • 1950
    Age 36
    On March 23, 1950, at her parents' request, Farmer was paroled back into her mother's care.
    More Details Hide Details She took a job sorting laundry at the Olympic Hotel in Seattle. This was the same hotel where Farmer had been fêted in 1936 at the world premiere of Come and Get It. Farmer believed her mother could have her institutionalized again.
  • 1945
    Age 31
    At her mother's request, at age 31, Farmer was recommitted to Western State Hospital in May 1945 and remained there almost five years, with the exception of a brief parole in 1946.
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  • 1944
    Age 30
    Farmer moved back in with her parents in West Seattle, but she and her mother fought bitterly. Within six months, Farmer physically attacked her mother. Her mother then had Frances committed to Western State Hospital at Steilacoom, Washington.Three months later, during the summer of 1944, she was pronounced "completely cured" and released.
    More Details Hide Details While traveling with her father to visit at an aunt's ranch in Reno, Nevada, Farmer ran away. She spent time with a family who had picked her up hitchhiking, but she was eventually arrested for vagrancy in Antioch, California. Her arrest received wide publicity. Offers of help came in from across the country, but Farmer ignored them all. After a long stay with her aunt in Nevada, Farmer went back to her parents.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1943
    Age 29
    By January 1943, she failed to pay the rest of the fine and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
    More Details Hide Details At almost the same time, a studio hairdresser filed an assault charge alleging that Farmer had dislocated her jaw on the set. The police traced Farmer to the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. Getting no answer, they entered her room with a pass key. They reportedly found her in bed (some stories include an episode involving the bathroom) and made her dress quickly. "By all accounts, she did not surrender peacefully." At her hearing the next morning, she behaved erratically. She claimed the police had violated her civil rights, demanded an attorney, and threw an inkwell at the judge. He immediately sentenced her to 180 days in jail. She knocked down a policeman and bruised another, along with a matron. She ran to a phone booth where she tried to call her attorney, but was subdued by the police. They physically carried her away as she shouted, "Have you ever had a broken heart?"
  • 1942
    Age 28
    On October 19, 1942, Farmer was stopped by Santa Monica Police for driving with her headlights on bright in the wartime blackout zone that affected most of the West Coast.
    More Details Hide Details Some reports say she was unable to produce a driver's license and was verbally abusive. The police suspected her of being drunk and she was jailed overnight. Farmer was fined $500 and given a 180-day suspended sentence. She immediately paid $250 and was put on probation.
    Meanwhile, her marriage to Erickson had disintegrated and ended in divorce in 1942.
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  • 1941
    Age 27
    In mid-1941 Clifford Odets attempted to lure her back to Broadway to star in his upcoming play Clash by Night, but she refused, telling him she thought she needed to stay in Hollywood to rebuild her career.
    More Details Hide Details She next appeared opposite Tyrone Power in the film Son of Fury (1942) (on loan-out to Twentieth Century-Fox) and received critical praise for her performance. Later that year, Paramount suspended her after she refused to accept a part in the film Take a Letter, Darling and eventually dropped her.
  • 1940
    Age 26
    In 1940, after abruptly quitting a Broadway production of a play by Ernest Hemingway, she starred in two major films, both loan-outs to other studios.
    More Details Hide Details A year later, however, she was again relegated to co-starring roles. These did include, however, a fine performance as Calamity Jane in the 1941 Western Badlands of Dakota.
  • 1939
    Age 25
    By 1939, her temperamental work habits and worsening alcoholism began to damage her reputation.
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  • 1938
    Age 24
    By 1938, when the production had embarked on a national tour, regional critics from Washington D.C. to Chicago gave her rave reviews.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer had an affair with Odets, but he was married to actress Luise Rainer and did not offer Farmer a commitment. Farmer felt betrayed when Odets suddenly ended the relationship; and when the Group chose another actress for its London run—an actress whose family funded the play—she came to believe that The Group had used her drawing power selfishly to further the success of the play. She returned to Hollywood, and arranged with Paramount to stay in Los Angeles for three months out of every year to make motion pictures. The rest of her time she intended to use for theater. Her next two appearances on Broadway had short runs. Farmer found herself back in Los Angeles, often loaned out by Paramount to other studios for starring roles. At her home studio, meanwhile, she was consigned to costarring appearances, which she often found unchallenging.
  • 1937
    Age 23
    Hoping to enhance her reputation as a serious actress, she left Hollywood in 1937 to do summer stock in Westchester, New York.
    More Details Hide Details There she attracted the attention of director Harold Clurman and playwright Clifford Odets. They invited her to appear in the Group Theatre production of Odets' play Golden Boy. Her performance at first received mixed reviews, with Time magazine commenting that she had been miscast. Due to Farmer's box office appeal, however, the play became the biggest hit in the Group's history.
    However, Farmer was sympathetically described in a 1937 Collier's article as being indifferent about the clothing she wore and was said to drive an older-model "green roadster".
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  • 1936
    Age 22
    During the summer of 1936, she was loaned to Samuel Goldwyn to appear in Come and Get It, based on the novel by Edna Ferber.
    More Details Hide Details Both of these films were sizable hits, and her portrayals of both the mother and daughter in Come and Get It were praised by the public and critics, with several reviews greeting Farmer as a new found star. Farmer was not entirely satisfied with her career, however. She felt stifled by Paramount's tendency to cast her in films which depended on her looks more than her talent. Her outspoken style made her seem uncooperative and contemptuous. In an age when the studios dictated every facet of a star's life, Farmer rebelled against the studio's control and resisted every attempt they made to glamorize her private life. She refused to attend Hollywood parties or to date other stars for the gossip columns.
    She wed actor Leif Erickson in February 1936 while shooting the first of the movies, Too Many Parents.
    More Details Hide Details Later that year, Farmer was cast in her first "A" feature, Rhythm on the Range.
    She had top billing in two well-received 1936 B-movies, Too Many Parents and Border Flight.
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  • 1935
    Age 21
    Returning from the Soviet Union in the summer of 1935, Farmer stopped in New York City, hoping to launch a legitimate theater career.
    More Details Hide Details Instead, she was referred to Paramount Pictures talent scout Oscar Serlin, who arranged for a screen test. Paramount offered her a seven-year contract. Farmer signed it in New York on her 22nd birthday and moved to Hollywood.
    In 1935, Farmer won a subscription contest for the leftist newspaper, The Voice of Action.
    More Details Hide Details The first prize was a trip to the Soviet Union—Farmer accepted the prize, despite her mother's strong objections, so that she could see the pioneering Moscow Art Theatre. Farmer's interest in such topics fostered speculations that Farmer was not only an atheist, but a Communist as well. The same year, she graduated from the university with a degree in journalism and drama.
  • 1934
    Age 20
    In late 1934, she starred in the UW production of Alien Corn.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1931
    Age 17
    In 1931, Farmer enrolled at the University of Washington, and worked as usherette in a cinema, a waitress, a tutor, and in a factory to pay for her tuition.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer proceeded to study drama, and, during the 1930s, the university's drama department productions were considered citywide cultural events and were frequented accordingly. While a student at UW, Farmer starred in numerous plays, including Helen of Troy, Everyman, and Uncle Vanya.
    In 1931, while a senior at West Seattle High School, Farmer entered and won $100 from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a writing contest sponsored by Scholastic Magazine, with her controversial essay "God Dies".
    More Details Hide Details It was a precocious attempt to reconcile her wish for, in her words, a "superfather" God, with her observations of a chaotic and godless world. In her autobiography, she wrote that the essay was influenced by her reading of Friedrich Nietzsche: "He expressed the same doubts, only he said it in German: 'Gott ist tot.' God is dead. This I could understand. I was not to assume that there was no God, but I could find no evidence in my life that He existed or that He had ever shown any particular interest in me. I was not an atheist, but I was surely an agnostic, and by the time I was sixteen I was well indoctrinated into this theory."
  • 1929
    Age 15
    In the fall of 1929, when Frances was sixteen, Lillian and Ernest divorced, and Lillian relocated to a cottage in Bremerton, Washington.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1913
    Born
    Farmer was born Frances Elena Farmer on September 19, 1913 in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Lillian (née Van Ornum 1873-1955), a boardinghouse operator and dietician and Ernest Melvin Farmer, a lawyer.
    More Details Hide Details Farmer was the youngest of four children; she had two older sisters, and one older brother. At age four, Farmer's parents separated, and her mother relocated with the children from their home in North Seattle to Los Angeles, where her sister lived. Two years later, Farmer and her siblings were sent back to Seattle to live with their father. Her mother returned to Seattle the following year, and the family shared a house, although Lillian and Ernest remained separated.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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