Frances Elena Farmer (September 19, 1913—August 1, 1970) was an American actress and television hostess. She appeared in over a dozen feature films over the course of her career, though she garnered notoriety for the various sensationalized accounts of her life, especially her involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals and subsequent mental health struggles. A native of Seattle, Washington, Farmer began acting in stage productions while a student at the University of Washington. After graduating, she began performing in stock theater before signing a film contract with Paramount Pictures on her twenty-second birthday in September 1935. She made her film debut in the B film Too Many Parents (1936), followed by another B picture, Border Flight, before being given the lead role opposite Bing Crosby in the musical western, Rhythm on the Range (1936). Unhappy with the opportunities given to her by the studio, Farmer returned to stock theater in 1937 before being cast in the original Broadway production of Clifford Odets's Golden Boy, staged by New York City's Group Theatre. She followed this with two Broadway productions directed by Elia Kazan in 1939, but a battle with depression and binge drinking caused her to drop out of a subsequent Ernest Hemingway stage adaptation.
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