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Frances Dee

Born November 26, 1907
Died March 6, 2004

This page updated March 29, 2008

Frances Dee
Still image of Frances Dee from the 1934 Of Human Bondage

Frances Dee Actress

Vintage Stills is selling this 1951 promo shot [above]
from "Payment on Demand" here.


Frances Dee 500x652

The Doc Macro site has a selection of large Frances Dee images here.

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Some Links:

Absolutely the best site on Frances Dee that I have seen is the "Lovely Miss Dee" site which has been relaunched as Remembering Frances Dee - click the image or HERE to visit
Frances Dee

The Turner Classic Movie "forum" boards has a long (24 pages as of Sept 2007) number of entries about Francess Dee which can be read here.

A bio page about Frances Dee is at the Classic Image website here.

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Frances Dee


VARIETY March 15, 2004
Frances Dee

Actress Frances Dee, who was married to thespian Joel McCrea, died Saturday in Norwalk, Conn., of complications from a stroke. She was 94.

The dark-haired beauty starred opposed Maurice Chevalier in one of the first talkie musicals, "The Playboy of Paris." She also starred in the 1931 pic "An American Tragedy" in the role played by Elizabeth Taylor (news) in 1951 remake "A Place in the Sun."More at Yahoo! Variety

BBC March 9, 2004
Actress Frances Dee dies at 94

Dee was compared to the great film beauty Great Garbo
Actress Frances Dee, widow of western hero Joel McCrea and one of the last stars of Hollywood's "Golden Age", has died in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

Dee began her career in 1929, starring opposite Maurice Chevalier in Playboy of Paris. She retired in 1954 to devote herself to her husband and three sons.

Dee acted alongside the likes of Gary Cooper, Bette Davis and John Wayne.

But her beauty lost her a role in Gone with the Wind. Producer David Selznick felt she would overshadow Vivien Leigh. More at BBC

Frances Dee, 94, starred in films during '30s, '40s

LOS ANGELES -- Frances Dee, a dark-haired beauty who co-starred in the 1930s and '40s with Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman and her husband, Joel McCrea, has died at 94.

Dee died Saturday at a hospital in Norwalk, Conn., her son Peter McCrea said Monday. The actress suffered a stroke three weeks ago.Frances Dee

Dee achieved stardom in 1930 opposite Chevalier in one of the first talkie musicals, "The Playboy of Paris." Her beauty earned her leading roles in comedies and dramas, notably in the 1931 "An American Tragedy." More at the Indy Star

Frances Dee, Golden Age film star, 94

Frances Dee, the stunning actress who co-starred in the 1930s and 1940s with Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman and her husband, Joel McCrea, has died. She was 94.

Dee died Saturday at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Conn., her son, Peter McCrea, said by telephone Monday. The actress had been at the hospital since she had a stroke three weeks ago after spending the winter with her son at his home in Norwalk.

Dee achieved stardom in 1930 opposite Chevalier in one of the first talkie musicals, "The Playboy of Paris." Her refreshing beauty earned her leading roles in comedies and dramas, notably in "An American Tragedy" in 1931 in the role of Sondra Finchley, played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1951 remake "A Place in the Sun."

Dee's other memorable films include "Souls at Sea" with Cooper and George Raft; "Little Women," starring Katharine Hepburn; "If I Were King" with Colman; and "Of Human Bondage," in which she played Leslie Howard's sweetheart. More at the L. A. Daily News

March 9, 2004
Hollywood Golden Age Star Frances Dee Dies

Praised by critics -- even revered by some -- for her luminous good looks, it was probably her beauty that cost one of the film's most memorable roles, that of Melanie Hamilton in "Gone with the Wind."

he movie's original director George Cukor wanted her but Wentink said he was overruled by producer David O. Selznick who said she was too beautiful and would overshadow Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O'Hara.
So instead the role of Scarlett's rival for the affections of Ashley Wilkes went to Olivia de Havilland.

James Agee, one of the major film critics of the 1930s and 40s, said Dee was "one of the very few women in movies who really had a face .... and always used this translucent face with delicate and exciting talent." More at Reuters here.

Actress Frances Dee; Appeared in 50 Films
By Adam Bernstein

Tuesday, March 9, 2004; Page B04
Frances Dee, a wide-eyed, brunette beauty who graced more than 50 films and was the wife of one of her co-stars, Joel McCrea, died March 6 at a hospital in Norwalk, Conn., near a son's home. She died after a stroke. Her family said she was 94, but many biographical sources list her as 96.

The soft-spoken Ms. Dee, whose acting career stretched from the late 1920s to early 1950s, skillfully underplayed her roles in comedies, dramas and Westerns.

Early on, she was usually cast as a sensible, good-hearted woman opposite such screen dynamos as Katharine Hepburn (in "Little Women," 1933) and Bette Davis (in "Of Human Bondage," 1934) and Miriam Hopkins (in "Becky Sharp," 1935).

Occasionally, Ms. Dee had lead parts in prominent studio releases. In director Josef von Sternberg's "An American Tragedy" (1931), based on Theodore Dreiser's novel, she was a debutante pursued by a murderous social climber. In Frank Lloyd's raffish adventure film "If I Were King" (1938), she was an aristocratic French beauty opposite a dangerous poet played by Ronald Colman.

She starred in Jacques Tourneur's stylized, low-budget thriller "I Walked With a Zombie" (1943) as a nurse in the tropics who becomes intrigued by romantic and supernatural overtures.

"I just thought it was a terrible name," Ms. Dee told the Boston Globe last year during a showing of "Zombie." "I would turn away every time I said it. The reason I did the movie was that they offered me a sum that could buy my mother a new car. We got her the car - and it turned out to be a cult kind of picture." More at the Washington Post here.

Frances Dee Screen Shot from documentary
Screenshot of Dee from a
2003 documentary that ran
on TCM covering pre-code
Hollywood movies.

Born November 26, 1909 in Los Angeles. Born Frances Marion Dee. Her father was a career army officer, and was transferred to Chicago after Frances' birth, where she grew up and attended all of her schooling including two years at the University of Chicago. She was nicknamed "Frankie Dee". In 1929 he was again stationed in Los Angeles, were Frances began working as a film extra. Paramount signed her to a film contract after actor Maurice Chevalier insisted she be cast in his film The Playboy of Paris (1930). She married actor Joel McCrea shortly after meeting him on the set of the RKO film The Silver Cord (1933). They remained together until his death in 1990. The couple had three sons. Dee seems to have little involvement with Hollywood, however she did appear at the 1998 Memphis Film Festival. She died March 6, 2004 from complications from a stroke at Norwalk , Connecticut.

The Internet Movie Database has further biographical information available at their web site here.

Wikipedia has a bio here.

Feverland has an archive of Frances Dee images here.

Frances Dee

Frances Dee
[above] two images from I Walked with A Zombie.

Frances Dee from IF I WERE KING

(Above) Publicity still
of Frances Dee for the
1938 film
If I Were King.

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Frances Dee
[Above] With husband Joel McRea from the 1937 Wells Fargo.

(This list based on the IMDB filmography)

Gypsy Colt (1954) - appeared as Em MacWade

Mister Scoutmaster (1953) - appeared as Helen Jordan

Because of You (1952) - appeared as Susan Arnold

Reunion in Reno (1951) - appeared as Mrs. Linaker

Payment on Demand (1951) - appeared as Eileen Benson
(Story of a Divorce (1951))

Four Faces West (1948) - appeared as Fay Hollister
(UK title: They Passed This Way)

Private Affairs of Bel Ami, The (1947) - appeared as Marie de Varenne

Patrick the Great (1945) - appeared as Lynn Andrews

Happy Land (1943) - appeared as Agnes Marsh

I Walked with a Zombie (1943) - appeared as Betsy Connell

Meet the Stewarts (1942) - appeared as Candace Goodwin

Man Betrayed, A (1941) - appeared as Sabra Cameron
(UK title: Citadel of Crime)
(USA retitle: Wheel of Fortune)

So Ends Our Night (1941) - appeared as Marie Steiner

Coast Guard (1939) - appeared as Nancy Bliss

If I Were King (1938) - appeared as Katherine de Vaucelles
(From the script by Preston Sturges.)

Wells Fargo (1937) - appeared as Justine Pryor MacKay

Souls at Sea (1937) - appeared as Margaret Tarryton

Come and Get It (1936)
(USA retitle: Roaring Timbers)

Half Angel (1936) - appeared as Allison Lang

Gay Deception, The (1935) - appeared as Mirabel

Becky Sharp (1935) - appeared as Amelia Sedley
(USA edited-version retitle: Lady of Fortune)

Keep 'Em Rolling (1934) - appeared as Marjorie Deane

Coming-Out Party (1934) - appeared as Joy Stanhope

Of Human Bondage (1934)
A ppeared as Sally Athelny
Running Time: 83 minutes, Black & white
Directed by John Cromwell  
Screenplay by W. Somerset Maugham  (novel), Lester Cohen (II)  
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Original music by Max Steiner, orchestration by Bernhard Kaun
Cinematography Henry W. Gerrard, effects by Vernon L. Walke
Film Editing by William Morgan
Art Direction Carroll Clark , Van Nest Polglase  
Costume Design by Walter Plunkett  
Sound recordist Clem Portman
Cast: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Frances Dee, Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny, Alan Hale, Reginald Sheffield, Reginald Owen, Desmond Roberts, Frank Baker, Tempe Pigott, Adrian Rosley

Finishing School (1934) - appeared as Virginia 'Vergie'/'Ginny' Radcliff

Blood Money (1933) - appeared as Elaine Talbert

King of the Jungle (1933) - appeared as Anne Rogers

One Man's Journey (1933) - appeared as Joan Stockton

Silver Cord, The (1933) - appeared as Hester

Little Women (1933) RKO
Dee appeared as Margaret "Meg" March
Adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel
Running time: 115m, Black & White
Produced by David O. Selznick, Merian C. Cooper, Kenneth MacGowan
Directed by George Cukor
Screenplay by Sarah Y. Mason, Victor Heerman
Cast: Paul Lukas, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Frances Dee, Jean Parker, Spring Byington, Edna May Oliver, Douglass Montgomery, Henry Stephenson, Samuel S. Hinds, John Lodge, Nydia Westman
Academy Award: Script
Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture; George Cukor

Headline Shooter (1933) - appeared as Jane Mallory
(UK title: Evidence in Camera)

Crime of the Century, The (1933) - appeared as Doris Brandt

Night of June 13th, The (1932) - appeared as Ginger Blake

Strange Case of Clara Deane, The (1932) - appeared as Nancy

If I Had a Million (1932) (uncredited) - appeared as Mary Wallace

Love Is a Racket (1932) - appeared as Mary Wodehouse
(UK title: Such Things Happen)

Nice Women (1932) - appeared as Jerry Girard

This Reckless Age (1932) - appeared as Lois Ingals

Rich Man's Folly (1931) - appeared as Ann Trumbull

Working Girls (1931) - appeared as Louise Adams

Caught (1931)

American Tragedy, An (1931) - appeared as Sondra Finchley

June Moon (1931) - appeared as Edna Baker

Playboy of Paris, The (1930) - appeared as Yvonne Phillbert

Along Came Youth (1930) - appeared as Elinor Farrington

Follow Thru (1930) - appeared in scene at the ladies locker room

Monte Carlo (1930) (uncredited) - appeared as the Receptionist

Manslaughter (1930)

Man From Wyoming, A (1930) (uncredited) - appeared as a Nurse

True to the Navy (1930) (uncredited) - appeared as Girl at table

Words and Music (1929) (uncredited)

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Lewton Links

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Lewton RKO Films
Cat People*
I Walked With A Zombie*
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Youth Runs Wild
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Frances Dee

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