Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Arrest of Frances Farmer

On this day in 1942 wild child and Hollywood actress Frances Farmer was arrested in Santa Monica; she did not go peacefully...

PhotobucketFarmer was pulled over by Santa Monica Police, driving with her lights on high despite a wartime blackout; reports have her as being drunk and disorderly at the time, as well as unable to produce a driver's license, at which time she was taken into custody and spent the night in jail. She was eventually fined $500 and given a 180-day suspended sentence; upon payment of half the fine she was put on probation.

Alas, her brush with the law wasn't the wake-up call it could have been, but merely a sign of the worsening of a mental illness (not helped at all by the concomitant abuse of alcohol) that would dominate the rest of her life...

For all its inaccuracies, the 1982 film Frances, starring Jessica Lange, remains the biopic of choice when considering the life of Frances farmer in pop cultural terms.
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