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Katherine Edwina "Kay" Francis (née Gibbs, January 13, 1905 – August 26, 1968) was an American stage and film actress. After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star at the Warner Brothers studio and the highest-paid American film actress. Some of her film-related material and personal papers are available to scholars and researchers in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives.
Francis married five times. Her diaries, preserved in an academic collection at Wesleyan University, paint a picture of a woman whose personal life was often in disarray. She regularly socialized with homosexual men, one of whom, Anderson Lawler, was reportedly paid $10,000 by Warner Bros. to accompany her to Europe in 1934.
In 1966, Francis was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, but the cancer had spread and proved fatal. Having no living immediate family members, Francis left more than $1,000,000 to The Seeing Eye, which trains guide dogs for the blind. She died in 1968, aged 63, and her body was immediately cremated; her ashes were scattered.
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