January 2. Kay makes her test for Raffles.
January 6. Behind the Make-Up released.
January. Kay films Raffles for Samuel Goldwyn after he rejects the idea of having Bette Davis play the part. Kay has only a small, but second billed, role in what is really a Ronald Colman feature.
January 31. Street of Chance released.
March 22. Kay travels by train to New Orleans to see Katty. Unfortunately, their lesbian love affair ends and Kay goes back West.
April 10. Kay returns to Hollywood.
April 19. Paramount on Parade released.
April 25. A Notorious Affair released.
June 28. After attending a preview of A Notorious Affair, W.E. Oliver of the Los Angeles Evening Herald hails Kay’s performance as “Hollywood’s most disturbing portrayal since Hell’s Angels.”
July. Kay makes her first appearance on a movie magazine cover for the July issue of Modern Screen.
July 18. For the Defense released.
July 24. Raffles released.
July 26. Kay starts getting serious with Kenneth, who seems to be taking up much of her social life. She writes in her diary on this day, “Ken worked until 6 A.M. and then came and fucked me! God, I really do love him.”
August 20. Let’s Go Native released.
October 24. The Virtuous Sin released.
December 19. Passion Flower released.
December 24. Despite Kay’s success in Hollywood and fun with Ken, she still battles with depression and boredom. She writes in her diary, “I guess I should be very happy.”
January 11. Kenneth proposes marriage to Kay.
January 17. Kay Francis marries Kenneth MacKenna in Avalon, California.
January 21. Kay signs her first contract with Warner Bros,, which pays her $2,000 a week (at Paramount, Kay received $750 weekly). Rumors begin circulating that Paramount starts giving Kay films of lesser quality for revenge. Although she indeed signed the contract for Warner Bros. in 1931, her employment at the studio was not to start for another year.
January 23. It is announced by Louella Parsons that Kay will costar with Gary Cooper in City Streets, a film to be directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Kay is replaced with Sylvia Sidney.
February 6. Scandal Sheet released.
April. Kay is announced as George Bancroft’s costar in Rich Man’s Folly . However, she is replaced by Frances Dee.
April 30. Ladies’ Man released.
June 5. The Vice Squad released.
June 12. Transgression released.
August 28. Guilty Hands released.
September. Kay breaks up a fight between her dog and another, dropping her purse. When she breaks the dogs apart, she realizes that several pieces of jewelry are missing from her purse, including her wedding ring. Kay also attends a party at Gloria Swanson’s. Her drinking causes problems and Kay apologizes the next morning.
October 2. 24 Hours released.
October. It is announced that Kay Francis will be Fredric March’s leading lady in The Master Key, later re-titled Strangers in Love.
October 30. Girls About Town released.
January 1. Kay begins to doubt her marriage to Ken. “I wonder if Ken and I will be together a year from now?” she writes in her diary.
January 9. Kay’s last day at Paramount.
January 10. The False Madonna released.
January 11. Kay’s first day at Warner Bros..
January 23. Kay attends a party at Edmund Goulding’s, her former sex buddy back in New York. Kay comes close to having sex with Edith Head after Tallulah Bankhead calls her [Kay] a lesbian.
January 29. Warner Bros. purchases the rights to A Dangerous Brunette as Kay’s first Warner Bros. feature. The film is later re-titled Man Wanted.
March 5. Strangers in Love released.
Mid March. Ken is fired by Fox, and a few days later gets into an explosive fight with Kay, hitting her out of rage.
April 15. Man Wanted, Kay’s first movie for Warner Bros., released.
May 26. Street of Women released.
June 13. Kay is cast in Trouble in Paradise. “I do a Lubitsch picture!” she writes in her diary.
June 22. Kay’s plans to depart for Europe on this day are canceled due to her Trouble in Paradise offer.
July 21. Jewel Robbery released.
End of July. Trouble in Paradise starts filming. Kay gets annoyed that Miriam Hopkins receives top billing, though Kay has the highest salary of any actor in the film, $4,000 weekly.
July 30. Despite her success in Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage, and her recent casting in an Ernst Lubitsch picture, Kay still battles depression and boredom. “Did something and had a good time but can’t remember,” she writes in her diary.
August. It is announced that Kay will star in 42 Street. Unfortunately, because her contract was set to expire, Kay loses the part to Bebe Daniels.
October. Kay goes back to New York, reuniting with Juliana Cutting, Neysa McMein, Dwight Francis, and Kay Johnson, among others. She returns home by the end of the year.
October 13. One Way Passage released.
November 8. Trouble in Paradise released.
November 9. Kay signs a new contract with Warner Bros. She spends the rest of the day in bed getting drunk.
December 24. Cynara released.
January 19. Kay travels back to New York on the Chief, stopping in Chicago to visit friends.
January 23. Kay arrives in New York on the 20th Century. She attends the opening of Design for Living.
January 26. Kay goes to another showing of Design for Living. She enjoys the play but hears that Paramount purchased the rights for Miriam Hopkins. Kay, dissatisfied with her recent Warner Bros. assignments, begins to regret her decision to switch studios.
February 4. Kay and Ken get into an explosive argument, she spends the night at Julia Hoyt’s.
February 28. Kay returns to Hollywood.
May 20. Kay attends a cast party for Mary Stevens M.D.. She drinks too much and is carried out by Ken.
March 30. The Keyhole released.
May-June. Kay begins a brief flirtation with Gary Cooper, having sex with him at least once, though nothing really ever developed between the two.
July 21. Storm at Daybreak released.
August 3. Mary Stevens M.D. released.
September 2. Kay and Ken host a barnyard party.
September 21. I Loved a Woman released.
September 30. After an explosive fight with Ken, Kay indicates in her diary that she wants a divorce, though they made up a few days later.
October. It is announced that Kay will star in the lavish biopic Madame DuBarry. Luckily, Kay is replaced with Dolores del Rio. The film becomes a major flop with critics and audiences, bringing an end to del Rio’s career in America.
November 29. Ken leaves for New York.
December 1. The House on 56th Street released.
December 13. Kay follows Ken back East.
December 19. Kay and Ken decide that it would be best for them to separate.
End of January. Kay begins her affair with Maurice Chevalier.
February 15. Mandalay released.
February 21. Kay divorces Kenneth MacKenna.
February 28. Wonder Bar released.
March 10. Journal of a Crime, Ruth Chatterton’s last movie for Warner Bros. is released. She leaves Warner Bros. because of a slip in popularity after ridiculous film offers from the studio. Kay becomes the Queen of the Lot, though her title is not official until a new contract offer at the end of 1935.
March 11. Kay writes in her diary, “Had merciless afternoon with Maurice – four times in 2 hours.”
May 16. Still fighting depression and boredom, Kay attempts suicide by cutting the artery in her right wrist. Loosing two quarts of blood, she nearly dies, but is saved possibly by her maid.
May 31. In an effort to spice up their sex life, Maurice begins suggesting new ideas to Kay. She writes in her diary, “Swell evening – very exciting, discussing about lesbians and a threesome. Not practical, I’m afraid.”
June. Maurice returns to Europe, leaving Kay more depressed than ever. As a result, Kay travels to New York.
June 20. Dr. Monica released.
June 23. Kay, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Barthelmess, boards the Rex, an Italian cruise liner. She goes on a second European romp.
September 12. A Paris doctor confirms that Kay is again pregnant. She has an abortion again soon after.
September 20. British Agent released.
Early October. Kay returns to New York, being mobbed by press and fans. Kay also informs reporters that there is no truth to the rumors about her wedding plans with Maurice Chevalier.
October 19. Kay returns to Hollywood. Suffering from complications from an abortion, Kay spends the next few days in bed.
October 27. Kay is hospitalized due to ignoring the advice for bed rest from her physician (she attended a party at Pickfair despite doctor’s orders).
November 10. Kay’s first day back to work for her new movie, Living on Velvet, with Warren William and George Brent.
Mid November. Maurice Chevalier returns to California.
December 7. In an interview with Harrison Carroll for the Los Angeles Evening Herald , Kay names her favorite male movie stars – Jackie Cooper, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Richard Barthelmess, James Cagney, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, William Powell, and Maurice.
December 25. Kay celebrates Christmas with Mr. and Mrs. Richard Barthelmess, then heads over to Samuel Goldwyn’s for a party. She then parties into the morning with Ruth Chatterton and Jessica Barthelmess (Richard’s wife).
December 31. Kay celebrates the New Year with Maurice, attending parties at both Charles Boyer’s and Tim McCoy’s.
January 4. After performing some scenes from Living on Velvet with George Brent, Kay has a one night stand with her leading man. She writes, “He told me afterwards that I had helped him tremendously and that he appreciated that. Big fucking! And he got the jitters.”
February 5. While suffering from the flu, Kay has a miscarriage.
Mid February. Though she has not recovered from her flu, Kay hosts a major party at the Vendome restaurant, inviting 300 guests (which included James Cagney, Fredric March, and Samuel Goldwyn) to celebrate her divorce from Ken, who had just had a major Broadway comeback with Merrily We Roll Along.
March 7. Living on Velvet released.
Mid March. Maurice returns to Europe after a series of fights with Kay. A few days later, she finds a new lover in Delmer Daves after meeting him at a party hosted by Frank Borzage.
April 15. Del leaves Kay to vacation in Annapolis. Kay starts to realize that she’s fallen in love with him and out of love with Maurice.
April 16. Kay helps open the House of Westmore, a salon established by Perc Westmore. Myrna Loy, Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, and Claudette Colbert also attended.
April 20. Kay leaves for New York.
April 26. Kay leaves for Europe on the S.S. Aquitania, accompanied by Anderson Lawler, Kay’s costar in Girls About Town. While on the trip, Anderson claims that Kay showed up at his door, drunk and completely naked, and screamed, “I am not a star. I am a woman, and I want to get fucked!” The story turned legendary, though it never happened. Not only was Kay in love with Del, but Anderson was also gay, who more than likely made up the rumor to protect himself.
May 24. While in London, Kay has a successful operation to remove her salivary gland.
June 5. Kay meets with Maurice to break the news to him about Del. He takes it good and they settle for a friendship.
June 20. Kay returns to New York. Stranded released.
June 22. Del brings Kay to Lake Louise in Canada. At the time still barren, the location is still breathtaking. Kay describes the vacation as being like an unofficial honeymoon.
Early July. Del and Kay take another vacation to Washington State.
July 19. Kay and Del return to Hollywood.
September 1. Kay starts work on I Found Stella Parish.
September 12. The Goose and the Gander released.
September 25. After finding out that she was indeed pregnant, Kay undergoes another abortion.
October. Kay’s physician, Bill Branch, informs her that there are rumors going around Hollywood that she had syphilis. Surprisingly, the rumors of Kay Francis having an STD were false.
November 4. I Found Stella Parish released.
November 6. Jack Warner offers Kay a new contract, one which gets her the Queen of Warner Bros. title.
Early December. Kay meets with Samuel Goldwyn to discuss her casting in Dodsworth. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. refuses to lend Kay’s services. The part goes to her friend and former Warner Bros. star, Ruth Chatterton.
December 28. Kay writes in her diary about her trip to Del’s cabin in Lake Arrowhead, describing how happy she was.
January 1. Kay writes in her diary, “Beginning the New Year with my lover. May he be in the same bed with me next year this time.”
January 2. Kay is seriously disappointed when Warner Bros. sends her her new assignment, a biopic about Florence Nightingale titled The White Angel. “Read my new script,” she writes. “Dear God!”
January 13. Friends throw Kay a surprise birthday party.
January 14. Kay leaves for New York.
January 17. Kay signs the new contract with Warner Bros. presented to her in November. Her salary is raised to $5,250 a week. The contract is to end in 1942, by which she is to be earning $7,000 a week.
March 25. Kay’s home is surrounded by police when a young woman named Carol Lawrence delivers a note to Kay’s residence which reveals a death plot. James Crawford explained that he “had it in for K. Francis.” “K. Francis” turned out to be Kathleen Francis, a Hollywood extra.
April 3. Because of Kay’s reputation for fashion, she gives her opinion on the best-dressed women of the screen to Harrison Carroll for an article in the Los Angeles Evening Herald. She names Constance Bennett, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, and Myrna Loy.
June 12. Kay undergoes another abortion. “Jesus, it’s awful,” she writes. “Who do I always get caught and have so little fun.”
June 22. Kay has teeth extracted. She gets an infection as a result.
June 15. The White Angel released.
July 13. After a relapse with her infection, Kay goes in for surgery.
Early August. Kay’s relationship with Del becomes strained.
August 26. Kay meets David O Selznick at his home to discuss her casting in Gone With the Wind.
August 30. George Cukor tells Kay that he could see her as Scarlett O’Hara. The project drops when Selznick and Cukor change their minds for Norma Shearer.
September 11. Kay has an extreme panic attack.
September 17. Give Me Your Heart released.
October. Kay’s neighbor, David Niven, kisses her on her doorstep. Del catches them, leaving Kay for the night.
November 25. Kay boards the Normandie and sails for Europe.
December 25. While still in Europe, Kay spends the holiday sick in bed with a cold.
December 31. Kay celebrates the New Year by watching a skiing competition, then drinking the night away while fighting with Del.
Mid January. Kay returns to New York from Europe.
January 24. Kay is diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia.
January 31. Kay returns to Hollywood.
February 1. Stolen Holiday released.
February 6. Because of her sickness, which doesn’t seem to be getting any better, Kay is rushed to the hospital.
February 9. Kay returns home.
February 23. Rehearsals for Confession start.
March 3. The New York Times reports that Kay was Warner Bros. highest-paid employee of 1936.
March 6. Ginger Rogers throws a roller-skating party at Rollerdome. Kay attends with Joan Crawford. Despite Ginger’s claim that her party was the best ever thrown, Kay complained in her diary that the party was dull.
March 7. Kay’s dachshund Winnie dies.
March 9. Kay takes an absence for the first time in her entire Hollywood career to attend a showing of The Plainsman.
Mid March. Kay gives an interview to Maude Cheatham of Motion Picture. Despite her success and fortunes, Kay, while knitting during the interview, claims that her life has been “singularly uneventful.”
April 14. Confession completes production. The crew presents Kay with a box filled with gardenias, and an Eighteenth Century snuff box.
May 31. Kay has another abortion.
June 18. Another Dawn released.
Late August. Kay and Del are on the verge of a break up.
August 19. Confession released.
August 29. Women Are Like That begins production.
September 4. Kay Francis files suit against Warner Brothers to release her from her contract.
September 20. Kay writes in her diary of Del, “I am sick of his superiority.”
October 24. Kay meets Erik Barnekow at a party thrown by Dorothy di Frasso, who replaces Del in Kay’s life.
Late November. Kay and Erik get intimate for the first time.
December. A final agreement is made between lawyers, Kay’s contract would expire September 28, 1938.
December 23. First Lady released.
December 25. Kay asks Erik to spend Christmas at her house. She writes, “We baptized the library floor. Good fucking.”
Early January. Warner Bros. begins to negotiate the rights to Dark Victory with Kay in mind.
January 14. A studio memo regarding Dark Victory sent to Hal Wallis reads, “I think you would have a good Kay Francis picture in a reasonably short time and one that would not cost a fortune to make. Moreover, Kay herself is, I understand, very much in favor of it.”
February 17. Production on Lovely Lady starts. The film is completed in mid-March. For unknown reasons, the film is shelved and released later in the year as Secrets of an Actress .
March 31. The production of My Bill starts.
April 5. Kay loans Erik $1,000. “I wonder if I will ever get it back?” she writes in her diary.
April 11. Women are Like That released.
May. Warner Bros. finally purchases the rights to Dark Victory, but gives the lead to Bette Davis.
May 16. In an article titled “Dead Cats,” published in TIME, Kay is listed, along with Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, and Garbo (among others), as “Box Office Poison.” The article reads that “Kay Francis, still receiving many thousands a week, is now making B pictures.”
May 25. Production on King of the Underworld begins. Kay replaces Ann Dvorak in this remake of Doctor Socrates (1935).
June. Bette Davis turns down the lead in Curtain Call (re-titled Comet Over Broadway). Miriam Hopkins takes over, gets sick, and Kay is forced into one of the most ridiculous movies of her career.
June 28. “Worried stiff about money,” Kay writes in her diary, “about Erik being a bum, about his never wanting to go out!”
July 9. My Bill released.
July 14. Production on Comet Over Broadway begins.
July 16. Busby Berkeley, director of Comet Over Broadway, get hospitalized and is replaced with John Farrow.
July 19. Busby Berkeley returns to the production of Comet Over Broadway .
July 21. “Oh my God,” Kay writes in her diary. “What am I getting into, I have no idea! Pray that it will come out alright, that’s all!”
August 11. Production wraps on Comet Over Broadway .
September 2. Production on Women in the Wind begins. This is Kay’s last movie on her Warner Brothers contract. During the filming, Kay gives an interview to Photoplay that turns out to be her most remembered. The title of the article was a direct quote from Kay, “I Can’t Wait to be Forgotten.”
September 27. Production on Women of the Wind is completed.
September 28. Kay Francis’ employment with Warner Bros. is terminated by contract expiration.
October 8. Secrets of an Actress released.
Early December. Additional scenes for Women in the Wind are filmed. It’s unknown if Kay was called back for retakes by a studio so desperate to ditch her.
December 16. Comet Over Broadway released.
January 7. In a review for King of the Underworld in the New York Times, a critic comes to Kay’s defense about her latest backlash from Warner Brothers. “…considering the plot and everything it is our settled conviction that meaner advantage was never taken of a lady.”
January 14. King of the Underworld released.
January 16. “Had my ears pierced,” Kay wrote in her diary, “started 4-day diet-142 lbs!”
February 22. Kay is signed by RKO for the role of “Maida Walker” in In Name Only (1939). The film starred Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, and Kay, who was equally billed to Lombard and Grant, proving her stature as late as 1939.
March. This issue of Photoplay publishes the infamous “I Can’t Wait to be Forgotten” article. The article frankly quotes Kay on her career struggles.
Also this month, Erik goes up in arms about Dorothy di Frasso’s claim that he was a Nazi spy. “Someone must be mad,” di Frasso said. “I do not know what his politics are, and I must say, I couldn’t care less.”
March 6. Kay appears on Lux Radio Theatre and does her last work with William Powell. They recreate their roles in One-Way Passage (1932). Kay took over when Norma Shearer became too ill to perform.
April 13. Women in the Wind released.
April 17. Kay starts work on In Name Only (which was already filming when Kay got on board).
Summer. Kay travels to Chicago and then to Ohio, where she stays with Louis Bromfield on his farm.
August 4. In Name Only released.
September. Louella Parsons reports, “One of the most gallant women in Hollywood is Kay Francis, who has been frightfully worried over her fiance Baron Erik Barnekow.” Parsons’ report highlighted the trouble between Kay and Erik, and their romance on the rocks.
November. Kay tests for a role in My Son, My Son. The part goes to Madeleine Carroll.
December. Kay successfully tests for the second lead in It’s a Date , Universal’s new Deanna Durbin picture.
December 11. Kay appears on Lux Radio Theatre with Carole Lombard and Cary Grant to recreate their roles in In Name Only and promote the film.
December 12. Douglas Fairbanks dies. Kay spends most of the month with his widow, Lady Sylvia Ashley (Kay even interviews maids for her).
December 17. Kay appears on The Silver Theatre.
Late December. Kay attends Basil and Oudia Rathbone’s Christmas party, “A Night at St. Moritz.” It was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel and was a benefit for the Hollywood Guild. Despite having Irene Dunne, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, and other Hollywood favorites, Kay complained that the party was a loser.
Kay also attends the New York preview of Gone With the Wind.
December 24/25. Kay’s Christmas Eve/Christmas is spent crying as she decorates the Christmas tree with her mother, as the two have Christmas dinner, and as Kay gets drunk with Miriam Hopkins.
December 31. Kay’s New Year’s Eve is spent sick in bed.