Bring back some good or bad memories


January 6, 2024

Stunning Portraits of Frances Day, the Forgotten Bisexual Icon of 1930s Stage and Screen

Frances Day (born Frances Victoria Schenk; December 16, 1907 – April 29, 1984), film and stage actress and singer. The American-born actress began in New York as a nightclub singer before achieving great popularity in the 1930s on the musical stage in London.

The Australian impresario, Beaumont Alexander, brought her to London, changed her name to Frances Day, transformed her into a platinum blonde (not her natural color), sent her to elocution lessons to lose her New Jersey accent, then managed her career as one of London’s first erotic cabaret stars, dancing in West End nightclubs, where she created a sensation by performing in a G-string with only an ostrich fan for cover.

In 1932 she found stardom in the West End musical Out Of The Bottle, aged just 23. The following year, she found film stardom for her sexual performance as a notorious nightclub singer in Alexander Korda’s movie The Girl From Maxim’s.

Day was flagrantly bisexual, having affairs with Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich, and attracting the passionate admiration of Eleanor Roosevelt and George Bernard Shaw, who wrote one of his last plays for her, and was the mistress of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), his brother Prince George, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Prince Bertil of Sweden, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary and future British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden.

She bought and refurbished Wayneflete’s Tower in 1941, installing drainage and water, and a lift (to supplement the spiral staircase) found on a bombsite.

In 1965, she disappeared completely from public life, changing her name to Samta Young Johnson and denying that she was the famous Frances Day of years past.

The former star and sex symbol died in 1984 at the age of 75.

Howard McBrien, an employee in an office beneath Johnson’s apartment, who knew her only as the friendly lady who lived upstairs, was astonished to learn that she had left her house and entire £162,000 estate to him in her will.


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10