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Federico Fellini
Richard Fleischer
Louise Fletcher
D.C. Fontana
Anne Francis
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Brendan Fraser
 
FRANCIS, ANNE
(1930–2011). American actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Portrait of Jennie (uncredited) (William Dieterle 1948); "The Rival Dummy" (1949), episode of Studio One; "The Faithful Heart" (1950), episode of Lights Out; The Rocket Man (Oscar Rudolph 1954); Forbidden Planet (Fred WILCOX 1956); "Hooked" (1960), "Keep Me Company" (1961), episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; "The After-Hours" (1960), "Jess-Belle" (1963), episodes of The Twilight Zone; "The Quadripartite Affair," "The Giuoco Piano Affair" (1964), episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; "What Really Happened," "Blood Bargain" (1963), "The Trap" (1965), episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; The Satan Bug (John Sturges 1965); "The Saucer" (1967), episode of The Invaders; "The Double Circle" (1969), episode of Mission: Impossible; "Night of the Owls, Day of the Doves" (1974), episode of Kung Fu; "Beauty on Parade" (1976), episode of Wonder Woman; "The Story of Moses in Egypt," "The Story of Moses and the Ten Commandments" (1978), episodes of Greatest Heroes of the Bible; "The War Games/King of the Boston Bruisers' (1978), "The Swinger/Terrors of the Mind" (1980), "Man-Beast/Ole Island Oprey" (1981), episodes of Fantasy Island; Mazes and Monsters (tv movie) (Steven Hiliard Stern 1982); Return (Andrew Silver 1986); Love Can Be Murder (tv movie) (Jack Bender 1992); "The Curse of Afka" (1997), episode of Conan; "Heroes" (1999), episode of Fantasy Island.
 
Like many young actresses, Anne Francis was very beautiful, and she was not an especially talented performer. The one role she could play well was an unusually immature adult, a child trapped in a woman's body, but such parts are not common, and one can only play them for so long. It is not surprising, then, that Francis gradually faded from prominence and settled into a career of overlooked guest roles in television series, a few of genre interest, though one must admire the energy that led her to keep seeking such employment until she was well into her seventies, as if hoping for one more moment of glory that never came. Instead, the obituaries that appeared after her death in 2011 focused exclusively on her achievements as a Hollywood ingenue.

Born in a suburb of New York City, Francis began her career as a child star on Broadway, which may have imprinted upon her the childlike demeanor she would henceforth project, and moved on a series of television and film performances, working her way up to starring roles in major films like Bad Day at Black Rock (1954) and The Blackboard Jungle (1955). However, she truly distinguished herself in MGM's singular venture into science fiction film, Forbidden Planet, wherein she was a fetching center of attention in an otherwise all-male cast, and appropriately innocent and na´ve as the sheltered daughter of the marooned Dr. Morbius who succumbs to the charms of a handsome young Leslie NIELSEN.

It would be easy to characterize her subsequent fifty years of acting as a long and steady descent from that pinnacle of her career, including more visits to Fantasy Island than any performer should have to endure (she even came back for the series' even more execrable 1998-1999 revival). One must also engage in some mythbusting regarding what some might describe as a second high point, her starring role as combative private detective Honey West, first in a 1965 episode of Burke's Law, and later in a short-lived television series (1965-1966). Despite reports to the contrary, Honey West was not a classic; it never attracted a cult; in fact, it was not a particularly good program, and Francis was not particularly good in it; intimations that she was functioning as a sort of American equivalent to Diana RIGG's Emma Peel are nothing short of blasphemous, since no thinking person would ever choose Anne Francis for a tough assignment if Diana Rigg was available; and her brief return to the role in a 1993 episode of the revived Burke's Law represented a pointless folly.

No, the real highlights of her career after Forbidden Planet were in two episodes of Rod SERLING's The Twilight Zone. Unexpectedly brunette in "Jess-Belle," she excelled as a simple country girl lured into a devilish bargain to garner the affection of the man she loved. But she was even better in what might be the series' strangest, most senseless, and most touching episode, "The After-Hours," portraying a department store mannequin briefly endowed with a normal life who has forgotten, and must be reminded of, her true nature so that she can return to immobility and pass on to another mannequin the fleeting privilege of movement. At first peeved by the odd actions of the animate mannequins around her, then poignantly recalling that she is one of them, Francis's preternatural childishness makes the episode work, and while others might look askance at the statement, I trust everyone will realize that I mean it as a sincere compliment when I say that nobody but Anne Francis could have portrayed that department store mannequin so well.

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