February 1. Celebrating William Powell’s sixty-first birthday, Kay meets her old friend at the 21 Club.
March 8. Kay appears in “Let Us Be Gay” at the Sombero Playhouse in Phoenix, Arizona.
March 27. Kay appears in “Let Us Be Gay” at the Penthouse Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida.
May 14. Appearing on This is Show Business, Kay Francis makes her television debut.
May 23. Kay begins her tour in “Goodbye, My Fancy” at the Flatbush Theatre in Brooklyn.
August 14. Kay tours in “The Web and the Rock” at the Spa Theatre in Saratoga Springs, New York.
November 7. Kay appears on Prudential Family Playhouse, her second television appearance.
January 8. Kay appears on Hollywood Screen Test .
February. Kay and Patsy Ruth Miller briefly consider reviving “Windy Hill” with Joel Ashley as Kay’s leading man.
March. Kay briefly vacations in Mexico for about two weeks.
April 2. “Nothing happened and lost Somerset Maugham show—damn!” That entry in Kay’s diary was about being rejected for the infamous Sadie Thompson role in a TV production (which was never made) of Rain.
April 24. Kay breaks two toes—without ever explaining how in her diary—and is in bed for most of the following weeks.
May 10. Kay receives an award for “The Most Co-operative Star” in summer theatre at the Astor Hotel. The male recipient of the award was Basil Rathbone, Kay’s costar of two films.
May 21. Kay appears on The Betty Crocker Show .
June 19. At Bill Green’s Arena Theatre in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Kay appears in “Let Us Be Gay.”
June 26. At The Play House in Sharon, Connecticut, Kay appears in “Let Us Be Gay.”
July 9. Kay’s tour in “Mirror, Mirror” begins at the Westhampton Playhouse in Long Island.
September 3. Kay’s tour in “Mirror, Mirror” ends at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
September 8. Noting of a bad summer season in her diary, Kay describes it as a “horror season!”
October 3. Kay undergoes a surgery that she never elaborated on in her diary.
October 20. Kay appears on Beat the Clock .
October 31. Kay appears on The Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show .
November. Kay discovers and moves into an apartment at 32 East 64th Street.
November 11. Kay appears on Celebrity Time .
December 2. Kay cancels her appearance on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town.
Late December. Kay attends Katharine Cornell’s revival of Somerset Maugham’s “The Constant Wife”.
January 10. TV Host Ed Sullivan expected Kay to appear on his variety show, Toast of the Town. Sullivan had planned a tribute to Kay, who backed out because of fear. The tribute was cancelled as a result (ouch!).
January 18. Dennis Allen and Kay Francis meet for the first time about his casting in a revival of Somerset Maugham’s “Theatre.”
March 5. At the Central Florida Drama Festival in Winter Park, Florida, Kay debuts in what becomes her most successful stage project, “Theatre.” Kay’s teenage son was played by Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame) and Dennis Allen, Kay’s new love interest and final lover of her life.
April. Kay serves as a presenter for the Stock Managers Association awards at the Hotel Astor.
April 3. “Dennis and I to see ‘Don Juan in Hell’,” Kay tells her diary, “Sardi’s for one drink and then to Bon Soir—fun evening.”
May 17. Kay appears on The Ken Murray Show.
August 18. Bette Davis attends Kay’s performance in “Theatre” at the Ogonquit Playhouse in Ogonquit, Maine. After the show, Bette and Kay meet backstage and go to a local bar, where the night is spent going over their “glory years” at Warner Bros. During the evening, after Bette asks why Kay tolerated Jack Warner’s attitude so much, Kay spits out that famous quote of hers, “I didn’t give a shit. I wanted the money.”
May 19. Kay travels to Bermuda to appear in “Theatre” at the Bermudiana Theatre in Hamilton.
September 24. Because of her huge success in “Theatre,” Kay is offered the opportunity to play the “Julia Lambert” role she had immortalized in a made for television movie. She backs out and is replaced with Sylvia Sidney.
[Kay hears about her casting in Warner Bros. The Helen Morgan Story. She is rumored to play the mother of Judy Garland, who is to play the title character. Garland is replaced with Ann Blyth and the character of the mother is eliminated from the final screenplay when the movie is released in 1957.]
January. In Wichita Falls, Kay meets Dennis’ family. After their stay, Kay and Dennis relocate to New Orleans, where Kay visits old friends Clay Shaw and Eva Gabor.
March 2. A local newspaper in Pheonix, Arizona reports that Katherine Clinton (Kay’s mom) attended one of Kay’s performances of “Theatre” at the Sombrero Playhouse. “What does an actress consider the best seat in the house? Kay Francis picked sixth row center for her mama for last night’s show at the Sombrero. ‘Twas the first time her mother had been within flying distance of her stage engagements.”
July 19. Getting bored with Dennis, Kay writes in her diary, “Dull day & dull stupid people.”
August 4. Kay’s tour in “Theatre” closes at the Lakewood Playhouse in Skowhegan, Maine.
August 26. Attending a showing of Trouble in Paradise at the Museum of Modern Art, Kay describes the night as a “great evening” in her diary.
September 27. After a fight with Dennis, Kay still recognizes that he is possibly the best boyfriend she has ever had. In her diary, she writes, “Very quiet—non-speaking day!—so sick and I am an ass!”
Thanksgiving. Kay and Dennis celebrate the day at Bucks County.
December 25. Kay’s Christmas is spent sick with the stomach flu, though she and Dennis manage to see The Solid Gold Cadillac.
December 31. Kay and Dennis bring in the New Year with a quiet evening in front of the television. Kay’s diary entry for that night, which detailed her evening with Dennis, turned out to be the last one she ever wrote. After 32 years, Kay Francis ceased writing in her diary for reasons unknown, though it is possible that it represented a transition period in her life.
May 25. Kay begins the summer tour of “Theatre” with an opening show at the Biltmore Playhouse in Miami, Florida.
June 22. Kay returns to the Biltmore Playhouse in Miami to open her new show, “Black Chiffon.” Dennis was the director of the production.
July 12. Kay again revives “Theatre” at Pickwick Players in Birmingham, Alabama.
July 27. After appearing in “Theatre” at the Town and Country Playhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kay tells a reporter for the Indianapolis Star that “I’ll never—well, perhaps I shouldn’t say never—but doubt seriously if I’ll ever go back to Hollywood.”
August 9. Kay Francis—unintentionally—ends her stage career with a performance of “Theatre” at the Grove Theatre in Lake Nuangola, Pennsylvania. Ironically, Kay’s final performance had her making an unusual exit. When the play ended, she got down from the stage, walked up the isle, greeting her fans along the way, and exited through the theater doors in the main lobby. (The true end of an icon!)
December. Kay falls when she trips over a dolly track filming Strike it Rich, a CBS morning show. She files a lawsuit against the studio.
December 29. Kay’s appearance on Strike it Rich is aired.
January 13. Not only does Kay turn 50, but she celebrates a career which has spanned 30 years! Newspapers report that she has no scheduled plans for the summer season.
January 24. Despite being scheduled to appear in Travelers Joy at the Niagara Falls Theatre, Kay cancels because of her shoulder.
November 1. The New York Journal American reports that “Goldie Hawkins nearly gave Kay Francis a fast case of apoplexy the other night when she dined at his New York bistro. Kay was wearing a huge bib necklace with a five-inch bracelet to match. And Goldie complimented her with a Suth’n accented ‘Mah, what pretty beads!’ The ‘beads’ were genuine rubies and topazes—over 50 of each in the necklace alone—and, worth a maharanee’s ransom.”
[Kay considers a return to summer theater—and possibly Broadway. Projects considered are Brock Hollow, But Quite Unbowed, Obelists at Sea, Larger Than Life, and The Human Voice.]
January 29. Kay’s mother, Katherine Clinton, dies, aged 82. Before her death, she wrote a heartbreaking letter to Kay, “My Precious Babe, I want you to know what a wonderful daughter you have been but really darling I never thought I’d live on so long to be a burden to a very smiling child. I have loved you always more than anyone in this world—but you know that. I wish I could have left more as you have given so much but a very great many things have unexpectedly had to be done and I have tried to keep the place in good condition for you to dispose of as you see fit. I have no debts and the only bills will be the monthly ones. I wish I could have been of more help to my one ewe lamb but just remember me a loving and devoted mother.”
When Kay cleaned out her mother’s home, she discovered about twenty-nine scrap books, filled with clippings about Kay stretching back from about 1923 all the way to the date of her mother’s death.
June 14. Variety headlines Kay’s lawsuit against CBS for her injuries from a fall during the production of her 1954 appearance on Strike it Rich.
June 17. Billboard follows up with an article regarding the Francis v. CBS lawsuit.