Kay Francis

“I can’t wait to be forgotten.”

Kay Francis 1941 The Man Who Lost Himself

As if that’s likely.

Here’s to Kay Francis, born on January 13, 1905 (or so).

Kay Francis’ movie career was relatively short. She enjoyed the pinnacle of her popularity in the early-to-mid 1930s during which she was one of, if not the, highest paid female movie star in Hollywood. Starting her career at Paramount Francis later became the Queen of the Warner Bros. lot until Bette Davis took over in 1938.

Francis’ career waned through the 1940s and she retired from the screen to return to the stage in 1946. Nevertheless, she left behind loads of movie gems and memorable moments. Kay Francis is a joy to watch in any number of pictures. If I were to recommend a few they would be George Cukor’s gloriously fun Girls About Town (1931), Ernst Lubitsch’s Trouble in Paradise (1932), Frank Borzage’s Living on Velvet, and Archie Mayo’s Give Me Your Heart (1936) in which Francis delivers a terrific performance. Needless to say, you simply must watch the six pictures Kay made with William Powell too. That is a memorable, fashionable, marvelous combination of sophistication, romance and wit. William Dieterle’s Jewel Robbery (1932) shines brightest for me among the Francis-Powell pairings. 

Francis with William Powell in LADIES’MAN (1931)

Alas, I can discuss the movies forever, but today I prepare to listen to Kay Francis while I work. That means on the radio. As I often do around here, I am sharing the collection, a modest one in this case, in hopes you enjoy it too. Kay Francis’ radio career was not extensive and a few of her radio performances are hard to come by, but this will offer a few hours of good clean entertainment. Let us begin…

A fantastic cast at the Screen Guid Theatre brings you “Never in This World” to start things off. Enjoy the talents of Kay Francis, Leslie Howard, Mary Nash, Virginia Weidler, Irving Pichel, and Morgan Wallace:


The Lux Radio Theatre presentation of “One Way Passage” with William Powell and Kay Francis:

Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis perform “In Name Only” on Lux Radio Theatre:

Ms. Francis joins Geroge Brent, Jean Parker and Jim Ameche for the Lux Radio Theatre presentation of “The Rains Came”:

Lux Radio Theatre brings you “My Bill” with Kay Francis and Warren William:

Also from Lux Radio Theatre, “The Lady is Willing” with Kay and George Brent:

Those radio programs are loads of fun, but they come with a huge negative, we cannot see our favorite stars. In Kay Francis’ case it is a particular loss because part of her charm, if you will, were the clothes she wore. In fact, she was called “the well-dressed manequin” because no matter what part she played Kay was dressed to the nines. Ah, the glamour of Old Hollywood.

“I can’t wait to be forgotten,” Kay Francis wrote in her private diaries in about 1938. As you can see I ignored her wish on what would have been her birthday. No doubt I will not be alone.

6 thoughts

  1. I discovered Kay Francis watching her movies on TCM and she will never be forgotten. Kay left Hollywood a star and in my heart.

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