Frances Drake

Frances Drake
William Walling Jr. / Paramount Pictures


Frances Drake
Film: North side of the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Frances Dean on Oct. 22, 1912 in New York, NY
Died Jan. 17, 2000 in Irvine, CA

Frances Drake, a leading lady of the 1930s and '40s, was one of that era's great brunet beauties of film.

Known for her striking looks and huge hazel eyes, Drake appeared in more than 20 movies with some of her generation's biggest stars, including Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Cary Grant.

She moved to Hollywood in 1934 and appeared in many productions, beginning with "Bolero," in which she starred opposite George Raft and Carole Lombard. That was followed by "Ladies Should Listen" with Cary Grant and "Les Miserables" with Fredric March and Charles Laughton.

She was best remembered as the terrified heroine in horror and mystery films. In "Mad Love," released in 1935, she was the love interest of mad scientist Peter Lorre, who cut off her pianist-husband's hands in a disastrous operation. She also starred in a 1936 production called "The Invisible Ray," with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, in which Drake played scientist Karloff's long-suffering wife.

Her last movies included "I Take This Woman," a 1940 release with Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr, and "The Affairs of Martha" in 1942.

Drake retired after marrying Cecil John Howard, the son of the 19th earl of Suffolk, because her husband hated the movie business.

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