Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1960s Starlet Fran Richards - Photos and funny story

A few months back I bought a large group of promotional photos of 1960s Fran (sometimes Fanny) Richards. They came from a North Jersey home, which is where she was from. I don't know if it was her home, because I bought the photos from someone else. So far I haven't been able to find out much about her other than what was with the photos.

One of her head shots has some of her credentials on the back. She was an aspiring model and actress who appeared in commercials for Ivory, Cannon and Dristan.
She had parts in theatre shows and musical revues, she appeared on the long-gone Soap 'Love of Life' (where Christopher Reeve got his start)
She was an extra in 'Butterfield 8' - 'Splendor in the Grass' and 'Bells are Ringing'
She studied at Quintanos' School for Young Professionals, NYU and the International Dance School. She studied drama and voice and she studied musical comedy with Charles Nelson Reilly!
Below-left are the credits on the back of one of her head shots. To the right is a photo of her that appeared on the cover of a Steve Allen LP. Steve Allen & Charles Nelson Reilly!

Below are some of her promotional photos, there were about 40 in the lot, there were my favorites - the horse she is sitting on is really cool looking. I wonder what it's made of.

Also in the group were two newspaper clippings. The first was a story that was published in June 1960, when she was an extra in 'Butterfield 8'.
According to the story, the casting director asked if any of the extras had a late model car that they could bring to the set for a scene. Fran said that she had a 1959 car and that she could bring it in. They told her they'd pay for her gas, and told her to wear a heavy coat, because the scene they were going to be filming was set in Winter.
So Fran shows up the next day in a 1959 Cadillac Convertible, wearing a full length chinchilla fur coat, a $10,000. diamond ring and a diamond bracelet. The story claims that even Liz Taylor was impressed.

The story goes on to say that the 18 year old model/actress received all the goodies, along with other furs and jewelry, as gifts from her fiance. The fiance is from Peru and he is in the import/export business. She says that she 'thinks' he is in his early 40s.

In another clipping, dated February 1968, in a story about divorce, Fran is mentioned along with her 66 year old husband Ralph Jimenez. I assume it's the same guy that she was engaged to in 1960, but it could be another rich guy. It quotes Mr. Jemenez's lawyer as saying his client is 'financially incapable' of paying $200 per week alimony to poor Fran. The story includes the photos of her below, now aged 26.

So, I wonder what happened to Fran. She didn't become a big star, I can't find anything online about her. Did she get that alimony? Did she marry more rich men? Did she have to give back the car, the furs and diamonds?

Bye for now, Carol


Anonymous said...

WOW!! Whatta find!!
MUST find out what happened to the newspaper in North Jersey, maybe their archives contain clues??
Calling all vintage detectives!!

lucitebox said...

I haven't seen the documentary about Charles Nelson Reilly, but it's possible she might have a mention in it. It's called The Life of Reilly. I wish I had gone to see it when it blew through town one weekend. Just thinking of his stint on Match Game makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

In the summer of '62 I co-starred in a production of UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE with Richards on tour courtesy of the Stanley Wolf Players during which I found her to be one of the most sexually aggressive ladies I ever met. I didn't know it at the time but the extremely old gentleman who visited her every Sunday was not her "father" as she pretended but in fact her "sugar daddy". She was obsessed with two things: money and sex, not necessarily in that order. Years later the other male lead in YUM YUM Ray Cole told me he bumped into her in New York and commented on how "worn and dilapidated" she looked which somehow came as no surprise to me. Another would be "actress" with a terrible set of values and completely without scruples and talent had met her just deserts.