Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

From 1929 to 1946, Kay Francis, movie legend-fashion goddess-millionaire investor-film producer,  appeared in more than sixty films, including at least one classic, Trouble in Paradise.  She acted with the biggest male leads of her day — Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, William Powell — and earned an astounding $200,000 a year during the Depression.

Kay also developed a legendary reputation for privacy. If they only knew…Her desire for privacy was essential to her success.

Kay, the personification of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Flaming Youth,”  began keeping a diary in 1922. Compelled to record virtually every intimate encounter, the long-forgotten, secret diary tells the story of a sexually adventurous woman who lost her virginity when she was 16 and consequently took on many lovers. She lived a rich, uninhibited bisexual life that included one-night stands with many of Hollywood’s celebrated stars, countless affairs, and carefully hidden abortions.

Her diary, uncovered in a university archive, details Kay’s fascinating life and career in New York, Paris, and Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, and the War Years. Through this diary, as well as recently declassified FBI files, interviews, and historical archives, Kay’s life has been rediscovered. Much time was spent deciphering Kay’s shockingly frank sexual diary – many of the entries were written in code.

Most of the startling details in this book are previously unknown. Illustrated with many unpublished photographs, Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career, by Lynn Kear and John Rossman, is the definitive biography on Kay Francis.

The book is available through all booksellers, including Amazon. Further information is available from my publisher’s website:


“This new book documents Kay Francis’ life and career in considerable detail….What makes the book truly fascinating…is that the authors had access to Kay Francis’ personal papers….This is a volume one can admire for its scholarship and love for its revelations.” Anthony Slide

“For ONCE, an author really delves into the roots of a personality and it seems to ‘click into place’ with the things that Kay, on and off, used to tell me and my sister Anita, in between scenes.” Sybil Jason, Warner Brothers child star and author of My Fifteen Minutes

“A solid biography….Good book about the not-so-forgotten Kay.” William Schoell, Great Old Movies

“Kear and Rossman reveal Kay’s secrets in their book by decoding a diary…that detailed her many amorous encounters with both sexes. [The] book quotes liberally from Francis’ diary…so that you feel their subject is talking directly to you.” Dan Callahan, Bright Lights Film Journal

“This may be one of the most complete and interesting biographies to come out in a very long time…” Dan Scapperotti, Femme Fatales Magazine

“I’m so impressed by the meticulous details. Lynn and John have certainly done their homework and in the process helped to preserve Kay for the ages.” James Robert Parish

“There’s quite a lot of juicy stuff in there…This is really Kay finally telling her story
to the world. There is also a filmography, lots of pictures, and a complete chronology of Kay’s life. This is one movie star biography that is worth every penny!” Elizabeth Nocera, classicactresses.com

“If you are looking to penetrate beyond the Max Factor makeup and lighting and shadows…then Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career is the choice. Kear and Rossman utilize Kay Francis’ extraordinary diary to reveal…well, if you are the type of person who wants to live under the illusion that Francis was in real life exactly like the long-suffering, faithful to a fault, wives she portrayed so many times on the silver screen for Warner Brothers then stop reading here. If Joan Crawford was the ultimate on-screen flapper, then Kay Francis may well have been the ultimate off-screen flapper….What emerges is a woman of strength and passion who was promised the moon by the brothers Warner, only to be handed role after the role that required little more from her than dressing up in the best clothing on the lot….Kear and Rossman bring to life what could almost have been a tragedy had it not been for the fact that Kay Francis was already so immune to the detrimental effects of fame that she was able to leave with her dignity intact. Even if you don’t think particularly highly of Kay as an actress, her biography serves as a great read if only because it deflates the myth that those great stars back in the day were morally superior to the tarts and studs of today….Peering into the often unpleasant secrets of Kay Francis not only endows her with a necessary dose of humanity, but it also provides illumination into her acting choices and, indeed, her performances.” Timothy Sexton

2 Responses to Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career

  1. Sandra says:

    I’ve never understood people who live their lives as if there is no tomorrow. Of course, the actors of yesteryear were not “morally superior to the tarts & studs of today”…however, the much-maligned studio bosses did understand that impressionable kids often emulated what they saw on screen. Yes, it was perhaps hypocritical, but why is it that today’s films cannot seem to tell a story with tits hanging out or using “fuck” every 5 seconds? There is a reason that “today” is much coarser than “yesterday” as it trickles down into every nook & cranny of America. Teens don’t have much of a filter & are exposed to actions & language that are made quaint and acceptable, which of course they copy. The “golden age” of cinema is so named for a reason–we all have the same anatomy…just back in the day, they also understood–and used to their advantage–that appealing quality called mystery.

    • Pamela Sotolongo says:

      Well said, Sandra!! Today’s films contain either violent sex, or so-called, “sexy violence” to a man-jack of them!!

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