Anne Francis began modeling as a toddler. She made her big-screen debut as a teenager in a small role in the musical This Time for Keeps with Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante. In 1955, she played a supporting role in the tense drama Bad Day at Black Rock as well as a lead role as Glenn Ford’s young wife in The Blackboard Jungle. Not one to be typecast, she was featured in Forbidden Planet, the groundbreaking science fiction film that set the stage for serious films in the previously frivolous genre. Her inclusion in the film was forever immortalized in the theme song to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Feeling trapped in a series of low-budget movies, Anne jumped to television in a starring role in her own series. Honey West followed the adventures of a shrewd and sultry private eye, a first for a female actor. She also made appearances in popular anthology series like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and a memorable segment of Twilight Zone. Anne stayed busy with guest roles in a slew of TV series throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. In the final season of the long-running sitcom My Three Sons, Anne was featured in a four-episode story arc, becoming the wife of Fergus McBain Douglas, Fred MacMurray’s Scottish cousin (also played by MacMurray).
Anne continued taking roles on television, popping up on popular shows like CHiPs, Wonder Woman, Barnaby Jones, Murder, She Wrote and an obligatory appearance on The Love Boat. She even took a guest spot on Drew Carey’s sitcom, as well as a stint on Home Improvement and Wings. Her final role was on a 2004 episode of the police procedural drama Without a Trace.
A smoker for most of her life, Anne was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. The disease took its toll in 2011. She was 80 years old.