Kay Francis

Born Jan 13, 1905

Kay Francis was an American stage and film actress. After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star at the Warner Brothers studio, and the highest-paid American film actress. Some of her film-related material and personal papers are available to scholars and researchers in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives.… Read More

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1905 Birth Francis was born Katherine Edwina Gibbs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1905. … Read More


1922 17 Years Old Their December 1922 marriage at New York's Saint Thomas Church ended in divorce.


1925 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In the spring of 1925, Francis went to Paris to get a divorce. … Read More
1927 22 Years Old By February 1927, Francis returned to Broadway in the play Crime. … Read More
1928 23 Years Old Francis was to appear in only one other Broadway production, a play called Elmer the Great in 1928. … Read More
1929 24 Years Old She frequently costarred with William Powell and appeared in as many as six to eight movies a year, making a total of 21 films between 1929 and 1931. … Read More
1930 25 Years Old …  From the years 1930 to 1937, Francis appeared on the covers of 38 film magazines, the most for any adult performer and second only to Shirley Temple who appeared on 138 covers during that period.
1931 26 Years Old She had married writer-director John Meehan in New York, but soon after her arrival in Hollywood, she consummated an affair with actor and producer Kenneth MacKenna, whom she married in January 1931. When MacKenna's Hollywood career foundered, he found himself spending more time in New York, and they divorced in 1934. … Read More


1938 33 Years Old The Independent Theatre Owners Association paid for an advertisement in the Hollywood Reporter in May 1938 that included Francis, along with Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, Mae West, Katharine Hepburn and others, on a list of stars dubbed "box office poison". … Read More
1939 34 Years Old Francis did have a lead role in the Bogart gangster film King of the Underworld, released in 1939.
1944 39 Years Old With the start of World War II, Francis did volunteer work, including extensive war-zone touring, which was first chronicled in a book attributed to fellow volunteer Carole Landis, Four Jills in a Jeep, which became a popular 1944 film of the same name, with a cavalcade of stars and Martha Raye and Mitzi Mayfair joining Landis and Francis to fill out the complement of Jills. … Read More


1945 40 Years Old The results – the films Divorce, Wife Wanted, and Allotment Wives – had limited releases in 1945 and 1946. … Read More
1948 43 Years Old Declining health, aggravated by an accident in 1948 in which she was badly burned by a radiator, hastened her retirement from show business. … Read More


1966 61 Years Old In 1966, Francis was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, but the cancer had spread and proved fatal. … Read More
1968 64 Years Old She died in 1968, aged 63, and her body was immediately cremated; her ashes were scattered. … Read More
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