Forget Reese Witherspoon. It’s All About Frances Farmer.

Frances Farmer mentalDecades before Reese Witherspoon was arrested for disorderly conduct after verbally sparring with a police officer, Frances Farmer was on probation and forgot to pay the rest of her fine. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest while concurrently, a makeup woman filed charges after Farmer slapped her so hard she dislocated the woman’s jaw. Tracked down and yanked out of the Knickerbocker Hotel, Farmer was dragged to jail and behaved so poorly at her court hearing (throwing an inkwell at the judge, bruising a prison matron, knocking down two police officers) that she was sentenced to six months in jail. As she was dragged out of the court, she screamed, “Have you ever had a broken heart?” (Blame Clifford Odets for that one.)


All of that led inexorably to her years of incarceration in mental asylums. That whole Reese thing looks pretty benign, right?



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2 thoughts on “Forget Reese Witherspoon. It’s All About Frances Farmer.

  1. I remember reading Frances Farmer’s autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning, when I was way too young to be reading it. It was harrowing, especially her description of being attacked while she was in the mental institution. I’m shuddering just remembering. That second picture is amazing in how much Jessica Lange looked like her!

    • And remember that weird moment when she’s on the boat on her way to Russia and a girl is on the deck beside her having sex with multiple men? That was back in the day when an actor knew to juice up a memoir with lots of sex, real or not. (I’m looking at you, Shelley Winters!)

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