Jack Oakie ♦ Merle Oberon ♦ Pat O’Brien ♦ Scott O’Brien ♦ Una O’Connor ♦ George O’Hanlon ♦ Oklahoma City ♦ Warner Oland ♦ One Hour of Romance ♦ One Way Passage ♦ Nance O’Neil ♦ Orry-Kelly ♦ Ossining ♦ Reginald Owen
Oakie, Jack. (November 12, 1903 – January 23, 1978) Popular larger-than-life comedian back in the 1930s and ‘40s. He and Jeannette MacDonald were the oddly paired leads in 1930’s Let’s Go Native (which featured Kay in a small role) and he had a leading part opposite Kay and George Bancroft in the lackluster 1940’s Little Men. In Native, Kay has one of her rare on-screen songs (which she actually sang) “I’ve Got a Yen for You”, which she sings to Oakie.
Oberon, Merle. Popular leading lady during Kay’s Hollywood years, and one of her social pals. The two were probably introduced via Norma Shearer, who was especially close to Oberon. From her first year in Hollywood, Kay had become close with Irving Thalberg and Shearer. When he died, Kay continued her friendship with Shearer, who, at that time, became especially close to Oberon.
Oberon also appeared in a less-than-successful version of One Way Passage retitled ‘Till We Meet Again.
O’Brien, Pat. (November 11, 1899 – October 15, 1983) One of Warner Bros.’ most popular male stars of the 1930s and ‘40s. He worked with Kay in 1938’s Women Are Like That. O’Brien later said of Kay, “One of the most glamorous leading ladies I played opposite was Kay Francis. Not only was she a big dark beautiful creature, but she was endowed with a wonderful sense of humor. I saw Kay a few years ago when I was playing in Falmouth, Massachusetts. She and Eloise [his wife] and I dined together and I reminded her of how completely uninhibited she was” (CR).
O’Connor, Una. Famous Irish character actress perhaps best remembered for 1931’ Invisible Man, who starred Kay’s future costar in Stolen Holiday, Claude Rains. O’Connor worked with Kay in 1933’s Mary Stevens, M.D. and 1942’s Always in My Heart.
O’Hanlon, George. Supporting actor who appeared in 1939’s Women in the Wind, Kay’s last film for Warner Bros.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kay’s city of birth. As her family frequently traveled, they did not stay here for long (see the Chronology for further info).
Oland, Warner. Swedish-American character actor who played the owner of the Rangoon brothel where Kay is sold to in 1934’s Mandalay.
One Hour of Romance. The original title of Confession and the title of the sing Kay sings in the sleazy cabaret with the memorable spoken line, “You held me near you, close to your heart. I still can hear you say ‘we never will part.'”
One Way Passage. Warner Bros., 1932. Directed by Tay Garnett. The last, and best, film William Powell and Kay Francis appeared in as a screen team. Passage was one of the most successful films Kay would ever made, and the only one she personally owned a print of that she screened for friends and lovers. The film contained what Kay herself considered some of her most beautiful photography, “And even that was more of a matter of lighting than of my face. It was beautiful because Bob Kurle, the cameraman, took so much time and trouble shifting his camera fifty different ways, experimenting with the lighting and shadow. When I saw that, I felt the one pang of pleasure I’ve ever experienced when I’ve looked at myself on the screen.”
The film was reissued in 1937 and Kay and William Powell also appeared on a radio performance of the story on March 6, 1939. The film was remade a year later with Merle Oberon and George Brent as ‘Till We Meet Again, but was less memorable for critics and audiences. That version was directed by Edmund Goulding, who Kay had a brief affair with in the 1920s.
O’Neil, Nance. Stage actress, rumored lesbian lover of accused ax-murderess Lizzie Borden. She had the part of Kay’s jealous sister-in-law in 1931’s Transgression.
Orry-Kelly. (December 31, 1897 – February 27, 1964) Suggested as a costume designer for Warner Bros. by Cary Grant. Orry-Kelly was told he’d be hired if—and only if—Ruth Chatterton and Kay approved of his designs. With the exception of 1932 (he arrived at the studio mid-way through the year), he designed all of Kay’s clothes for Warner Bros. and even some for her personal collection. He later remembered Kay as “the essence of good taste” (PL).
Years later, costume designer Dorothy Jeakins remembered the influence of the Kay Francis-Orry-Kelly team, “Kay Francis had an innate sense of style. Tall, dark, and willowy, she showcased some of the top designers in movie history. Her association with Orry-Kelly gave Hollywood and the world true glamour.”
Orry-Kelly believed Kay’s best features were her back and shoulders. Many of her gowns were designed to showcase them.