Hoonobituary – Anne Francis

Actress Anne Francis passed away over the weekend, at age 80, due to pancreatic cancer. Some of you might remember the actress for her role in the 1956 sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet ,were she played Walter Pidgeon’s daughter and wore very short skirts. Nice legs aren’t typically criteria for getting a mention here on the Hoon, but in addition to that role, Francis was also known for her short stint on TV in 1965 as Honey West. That gig is notable for  being the first female TV detective, as well as, and potentially more importantly, a Shelby Cobra driver.

Honey West not only tamed the mighty Cobra, but also claimed an Ocelot named Bruce Biteabit. Sadly, Honey couldn’t tame the ratings and ABC dropped the show after fewer than thirty episodes. Anne Francis film career was equally brief, although during it she appeared in a number of notable films including Blackboard Jungle and the aforementioned Forbidden Planet.
There’s a long history of TV detectives and cool rides, and Honey West is no different. Her Cobra was intended, like Emma Peel’s Elan in the Avengers, to project a sense of empowerment and control. The actual Cobra – number CSX 2540 – was loaned to the production company by a public relations savvy Carroll Shelby, and was sold for $3,900 after the series was cancelled. Originally a 289 cid, most recent records indicate that engine has since been replaced with a 425 bhp 302.
Anne Francis’ TV career didn’t end with the tongue in cheek Honey West, extending to cameos well into the ’90s on such shows as Nash Bridges and the Drew Carey Show. She also one played a mannequin come to life on a memorable Twilight Zone. While Hollywood celebs are not eternal, their TV visiages practically are, and Honey West – all 30 episodes – is available on DVD today. Watching that ’60s camp, you can drool over both the lovely Francis, and her car. Just watch out for Bruce.
Image sources: [bearmanormedia, clubcobra, digitalftp]

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28 responses to “Hoonobituary – Anne Francis”

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Oooh, one of my favorite movies. Spencer Tracy kicks some serious ass.

  1. Deartháir Avatar

    Nice legs aren’t typically criteria for getting a mention here on the Hoon
    I dunno about that. I'm pretty sure that's the main reason we brought Kierstein on board.

  2. mad_science Avatar

    Man, I love those 289 Cobras.
    Also, this is the first I've heard of Ms Francis, and I'm worse for having not known of her.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Wow, I really liked Honey West. Shows how old I am. John Ericson was the other star.

  4. Alff Avatar

    I used to get her confused with Honor Blackman, another hoonworthy actress. RIP Anne.

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