Frances Farmer might be a little more than I want to undertake right now, considering her complicated history, and the way my champagne headache is making my brain all fuzzy.
I mostly just want to make her my Icon because during one of my Google Image scavenges, I came upon the one above, which j’adore. It kind of looks like the type of picture you’d take of someone after you’ve been lying in bed with them for a while, falling in love. It kind of looks like Frances Farmer might take her bathrobe off in the moving second beyond this frozen frame.
Frances Farmer was goddamned beautiful.
She was also frequently interred at mental hospitals against her will.
But I’m having a hard time getting all jazzed up over her hardships. For those of you who don’t know, Frances was a B-list movie actress in the 1930s. After she crashed her car drunk driving during a World War II black out in Los Angeles, she was locked up in the looney bin. A few years later, after being released, she attacked her mother, and was committed again.
She claims that she was maltreated in the hospital, sexually abused, forced to eat her own shit, etc…
(If I had a nickel every time I heard someone complain about that!)
There were also some allegations of a lobotomy, although most people seem to think that was fabricated.
Towards the end of her life, she wrote an autobiography about her travails, entitled Will There Really Be a Morning? In it, she talks about how she had a controlling mother, about how she never really wanted to be a commercial movie star, about her loveless marriages and troubles with alcohol.
Is it just me, or do you smell a Lindsay Lohan here?
“Things were just so horrible at Promises. The orderlies tied me down to my 800-thread count Egyptian cotton bed with cashmere sweaters, and raped me. Then they made me eat animal meat. Then they cut out half of my brain, which is why I can’t act anymore. So instead, here’s my autobiography. If you don’t buy it, I’ll end up back on Long Island, driving to Dunkin’ Donuts in a leased 3-series BMW wearing sweatpants and a fake Prada bag.”
After her death, a number of people made highly sensationalized biopics about her life. The most well-known one starred Jessica Lange,and it was called…dun da dun!…Frances.
In the 1990s, Kurt Cobain fell in teen dream love with her, and wrote the song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle.” He went on to name his first and only daughter Frances.
(When did you grow up, Frances Bean Cobain?)
The funny thing about Frances Farmer is that despite all of the murkiness surrounding her life, she was really a true beauty. No one who has ever played her, or been named after her, or followed in her legacy even comes close to comparing.
(Please, daddy, please let me go to the dance!)
For you, Frances Farmer. For retiring on royalties. For the sympathy I feel for you, no matter what your real story is. For being so beautiful as to be cursed. For loving the Soviet Union, as you did in High School, and for wanting to be taken more seriously as an actress. For blonde bombs and full lips. For you, Frances Farmer, you’re my icon of the week.