January. Production on It’s a Date is in progress.
January 13. Kay celebrates her birthday with Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell.
February 28. Production on It’s a Date is complete.
March 3. Kay appears on The Silver Theatre.
March 18. Kay appears on Lux Radio Theatre.
March 22. It’s a Date released.
May 1. After throwing a party for Charles K. Feldman, Kay takes him back to her house for sex. “Slept with him and he may be the best of them all!” she told her diary. “Christ, I am a slut!”
May 17. Probably at a social event in Hollywood, Kay and Jack Warner make up for their differences. She bluntly notes in her diary, “Made up with Jack Warner!”
June 7. On the set of When the Daltons Rode , Kay gets news that Erik has been wounded.
Summer. Kay begins her affair with Rouben Mamoulian.
Borden’s very own Elsie is loaned to RKO to appear in Kay’s newest starring picture, Little Men .
July 13. Kay begins a sexual affair with Fritz Lang.
July 23. Mary Pickford writes to Kay, congratulating her on her work for the Women’s Committee of the Motion Picture Division of the Red Cross. Pickford was the Chairman of the board.
July 26. Hearing news that Erik has recently married, Kay makes a major note of her unhappiness in her diary.
July 29. Production on Little Men begins.
August 23. When the Daltons Rode released.
September 23. Production on Play Girl begins.
Late October. Production on Play Girl wraps up.
October 25. Kay makes note of her anniversary with Erik in her diary.
December 7. Little Men released.
December 15. Kay appears on The Silver Theatre.
December 20. Kay has another hemorrhoid operation.
January 6. Kay starts work on her latest project, Brian Aherne’s leading lady in Universal’s The Man Who Lost Himself.
January 29. Play Girl released.
February 15. Production on The Man Who Lost Himself completes.
March 3. Kay appears on Lux Radio Theatre.
March 8. With a hectic work schedule and social life, Kay tells her diary that “I must get off merry-go-round.”
March 10. Noting her diary of another hectic day, Kay writes that she had a publicity photo shoot for Bundles for Bluejackets, a war charity, shopping at Saks, and lunch and dinner plans with celebrity friends.
March 21. The Man Who Lost Himself released.
May 12. Production on Charley’s Aunt begins. The film, a major production by Fox, becomes the eighth highest-grossing film of the year.
May 18. Kay appears on The Jack Benny program to promote Charley’s Aunt .
May 24. Kay is called in to begin her work on the Charley’s Aunt production.
June 24. Work on Charley’s Aunt completes.
June 19. Kay sells her house, hoping that a change of surroundings might change her mood.
July. Most of Kay’s time is spent with the Motion Picture Production Defense Committee, which entertained troops stationed in California.
July 1. Production on The Feminine Touch beings.
July 29. Production on The Feminine Touch completes.
August 1. Charley’s Aunt released.
September. Warner Bros. new contract star, Walter Huston, demands Kay as his leading lady—top billed—in his first movie for the studio, Always in My Heart . The studio is forced to satisfy him, and sign Kay for the role of ‘Marjorie Scott’ later that month—at her salary demand.
October. Kay moves into her new house at 1735 Angelo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Mid October. Production on Always in My Heart begins. There’s talk of Kay returning to Warner Bros. herself as a contract star, though her growing interest in War efforts distracts her attention. The studio even announces plans to star her in Miss Willis Goes to War , with Ann Sheridan and Olivia de Havilland. The project never materializes.
October 13. Kay appears on The Cavalcade of America.
November 8. Kay invites Grace Moore over for dinner in the new house.
Late November. Production on Always in My Heart completes.
November 26. Thanksgiving is spent with Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton.
December. Kay travels to New York for a vacation which extends throughout the Holidays.
December 7. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, drawing the US into World War II.
December 12. The Feminine Touch released.
December 24. Christmas Eve is spent with Ivan Goff.
December 25. Christmas Day is spent with her mother and two soldiers she invited to her home for dinner.
December 31. Kay brings in the New Year with the Arthur Hornblows.
January 1. Despite success throughout the previous year, Kay remains unhappy. “Crying all night,” she tells her diary, “hell of a New Year—no plans—I guess I am a pretty stupid unattractive person. Wonder if I will live the year out? Hope not!”
January 16. Carole Lombard, one of Kay’s closest friends and costar in Ladies’ Man (1931) and In Name Only (1939), dies in a tragic plane crash. For reasons unknown, Kay makes no mention in her diary, but decides to leave the screen and aid the war effort in Lombard’s memory. She turns down all offers until her return to the screen two years later in Four Jills in a Jeep (1944).
February-March. Kay works with Myrna Loy at the Long Beach Naval Auxiliary Canteen. Their usual jobs include passing out refreshments, clothing, cigarettes, games, and magazines.
February 25. Kay and Myrna are told their station was on a yellow alert and were told to quickly leave. The two became witnesses to the famous false air raid of 1942.
March 13. Always in My Heart released.
April. Kay and Constance Bennett are co-hosts of the Bluejackets Ball in Culver City. Two soldiers get into a fight over Constance, and the two stars accompanied one of the men to the hospital, then home.
April 17. Production on Between Us Girls begins.
June 6. Kay’s depression is at an all-time low. “God, I am lonely!” she tells her diary.
June 20. Kay moves into her new home, has dinner with Cole and Linda Porter, goes to a party for Elsie Mendel, then goes out for drinks with Rosalind Russell.
July. Kay begins throwing pool parties at her new home, having sex with Larry Fox in the pool itself after all the guests of one party had left that evening.
July 17. Production on Between Us Girls is completed.
August 23. Kay attends the wedding of Norma Shearer and Marti Arrouge. The star-studded event was witnessed by Kay, Greer Garson, Jack Warner, and Lady Sylvia Ashley, among others.
September. Kay begins her affair with Otto Preminger, noting that he wasn’t that great of a lover in the beginning, but made improvements over the following weeks.
September 4. Between Us Girls released.
October. Kay travels to Europe, then North Africa, for a USO tour. She is accompanied by Carole Landis, Mitzi Mayfair, and Martha Raye. The girls were slightly intimidated by Kay’s star power and popularity with the troops. At nearly every stop on their tour, Kay was mobbed for autographs and photos. The tour stretched 37,500 miles, 125 performances, and 150 personal appearances. The girls were lucky to take a bath more than once a week, and sometimes wore the same clothes as long as six days at a time.
Mid-November. The girls arrive in London, staying at the Savory Hotel. To avoid bombing, the hotel is kept as dark as possible. During their London stay, Kay is hospitalized for laryngitis.
December 4. Kay and the others put on a show for the Royal Family, though King George did not attend.
Early January. The troupe leaves Europe for North Africa.
January 13. The girls arrive in Africa on Kay’s birthday.
Late January. Kay suffers from influenza and then a torn ligament.
January 29. With the tour complete, Kay arrives in Alma, Georgia.
February 11. Kay appears on Stage Door Canteen.
February 20. Returning to Hollywood, Kay attends a party at Pickfair.
March. Kay is offered six weeks to be film a movie version of Four Jills in a Jeep, and be top-billed. Her salary offer reached as high as $30,000, but it took most of the year to settle on a suitable script. By the time the movie was released, it had become more of a marquee-musical than a recreation of the USO tour.
March 1. Kay appears on Lux Radio Theatre.
March 24. Kay appears on Stage Door Canteen.
July. Kay, for the first and only time, refuses to help out servicemen who request use of her private pool. She writes a non-confrontational, but firm letter refusing their request.
October 14. Readings for Four Jills in a Jeep begin.
October 19. Carole Landis spends the night at Kay’s after dinner.
October 25. Kay comments in her diary of Otto Preminger’s kindness to her.
November 8. Kay is hospitalized for kidney problem. Otto frequently visits her over the course of the next few days.
November 11. Kay is released from the hospital.
November 25. Kay appears on Soilders in Grease Paint.
November 28. Kay appears on The Silver Theatre.
December 11. Kay appears on Command Performance.
December 31. Bringing in the New Year with Tim Howard, her latest boyfriend, the two dinned at the Savoy and then attended a party at the Goldwyn’s.
January. Kay’s affair with Otto Preminger comes to an end when he catches her in a lie. After trying to reach Kay on the telephone, she later told him that she was at the Mocambo. In reality, she was intimate with Tim Howard. Preminger told her that he had searched the Mocambo for her with no result.
January 11. Kay’s affair with Tim ends when he returns to Washington, D.C.
January 13. Otto, realizing that Tim’s out of the picture, helps Kay bring in her thirty-ninth birthday.
January 18. Kay attends an intimate party to celebrate Cary Grant’s birthday.
Late January. Kay takes a vacation to the Arrowhead Springs resort with Charles Feldman’s wife, Jean.
February 18. Kay leaves for a USO trip with Patty Thomas, Teddi Sherman, Reginald Gardiner, and Nancy Barnes. Their destinations are Canada and Alaska. Kay finds time to meet a new lover, Don King (the pilot), on the tour.
March. The USO tour comes to an end, and Kay travels to New York.
March 22. Kay meets Tim for dinner for the last time. “Finally went to bed with him and Christ, that is the end!” she told her diary. “The worst ever! Goodbye!”
Late March. On her return to California, Kay meets Don in Chicago, has sex with him (even though he’s married to a kind woman she met on tour) then asks her diary why she always has to fall in love with the wrong guys.
March 31. Kay leaves Chicago.
April 6. Four Jills in a Jeep released.
April 7. Kay attends Mitzi Mayfair’s wedding to Charlie Henderson.
April 12. Kay and Otto break-up (again), but are back together a few weeks later.
April 21. Kay leaves for Canada on more war effort.
Early May. Tensions on the set of Laura (1944) are at an all-time high. Rouben Mamoulian and Otto Preminger, both of whom are lovers of Kay’s, refuse to speak to each other. Mamoulian eventually leaves the picture to Preminger, who completes the film himself.
May 6. Kay returns home from Canada.
Late July. Kay meets with producers at Monogram Pictures to discuss an interesting film offer—the offer to produce and star in three films for the low-budget studio. A letter written by Kay on July 25 reads, “My first one starts about the 20th of September and the tentative title is Divorce. The writers are now working on a story treatment and will begin the script while I am ‘spreading cheer’ up north.”
July 26. A doctor orders Kay to stay home after realizing she has a fractured rib. She refuses, and travels to Seattle for more tours of hospitals.
October. Kay begins attending meetings at Monogram for her first production.
November. Kay travels back to Seattle to see Don.
December 25. Kay celebrates Christmas in New York with a small group of friends, and goes to bed—alone—before midnight.
December 26. Hedda Hopper praises Kay for doing so much in “her quiet way.”
January 13. Kay celebrates her 40th birthday with a party at El Morocco. Don gives Kay forty red roses, completed with one in white.
February 19. Production on Divorce begins.
Early March. Production on Divorce completes.
March. Kay and Don are ending their relationship. Though they still talk, communication between the two is getting less and less frequent. They eventually drift out of each other’s lives completely.
April—May. Kay travels to the Caribbean and then to South America for a USO tour.
May 30. Ruth Chatterton approaches Kay about starring in her new stage production, “Windy Hill.”
June 19. Production on Allotment Wives begins.
July 2. Production on Allotment Wives completes.
July 9. Kay takes a vacation to Las Vegas with Patsy Ruth Miller.
Early August. Kay travels to New York for “Windy Hill” rehearsals.
August 13. “Windy Hill” has a tryout show in Montclair, New Jersey.
August 18. Divorce released.
September 20—May 25, 1946. Kay tours in “Windy Hill.”
December 29. Allotment Wives released.
January 3. Jetti Preminger, a “Windy Hill” costar of Kay’s, gives Kay a stylish pair of boots.
January 5. Kay discovers that the boots Jetti had given her were stolen by Jetti and given to Kay as a “gift.”
February 13. In her diary, Kay notes that the cast had grown bored with the play.
March 16. Kay tells her diary of some new habit of hers—a combination of pills and alcohol. Over the next few years, Kay’s problems with booze and pills takes a major toll on her health.
May. Kay meets with Phil Karlson in Chicago to discuss her next picture for Monogram, Wife Wanted.
May 25. “Windy Hill” closes.
May 27. Kay returns home to California.
June 19. Production on Wife Wanted begins.
June 26. Kay meets with Leland Hayword, producer of “State of the Union,” to see if Kay could replace Ruth Hussey, who had gotten pregnant. Kay accepts the offer.
July 3. Production on Wife Wanted completes.
July 4. Kay packs her bags and heads to New York.
July 7. Kay arrives in New York, moving into the Hotel New Weston at 34 East 50th Street. New Weston became Kay’s home for the next two years.
September 2. Kay begins her run in “State of the Union.” One of the first people to attend Kay’s new production is Greta Garbo.
November. Kay becomes ill with abdominal pains.
November 2. Wife Wanted released. This turns out to be Kay’s final movie.
November 30. Kay leaves “State of the Union” and returns home for medical treatment. During her absence Edith Atwater takes over.
December 3. Kay undergoes a successful hysterectomy.
December 24. Kay celebrates the Holidays at Kendall Milestone’s party.
December 25. Christmas is spent sick in bed for Kay, though she did manage to make a quick visit to her mother’s.
[Sometime during this year, Allied Artists producer Jeffrey Bernerd asks Kay to appear in The Maze, and other movies for the studio. She turns down the offer.]
January 1. Kay celebrates the New Year by listening to the Rose Bowl on the radio after turning down the offer to celebrate the New Year with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr..
January 4. Kay leaves for New York to return to “State of the Union.”
January 20. Kay makes her return to “State of the Union.”
January 26. Grace Moore, one of Kay’s closest friends, is killed in an air crash in Copenhagen.
March 23. With her new lover, Howard “Happy” Graham, aside her, Kay watches Maurice Chevalier perform at the Henry Miller Theatre.
April 13. Kay and Happy see Finian’s Rainbow.
May 18. The cast of “State of the Union” takes a vacation from the touring schedule.
June 15. The vacation for the “State of the Union” cast ends.
September 13. “State of the Union” ends its run on Broadway.
September 18. “State of the Union” begins its theatrical tour across the country the rest of her year is spent on the road.
October 12. Kay pays legal fees to bail Happy out of jail after he hit Rudolph Duro, a 22-year-old who had wanted to show Kay photographs from her African USO tour. Duro dropped all charges.
January 22. Kay writes her activities down in her diary, “Shopping—early dinner—after show all hell broke loose and me too many pills.”
January 23. Kay writes more dramatic activities down, “Out and almost for good! White Cross Hospital at 7am—ambulance—Dr. Rosoff—Hap in jail for 5 hours—murder charge!”
This day and the days following, newspapers covered the famous story of how Kay Francis almost lost her life. Kay’s lover, Howard “Hap” Graham, had discovered her in her hotel room in a semi-conscious state. When the police arrived, it was discovered that Kay had taken a lethal combination of pills and Scotch, and was covered in third-degree burns from her knees to her hips. She had been suffering from a cold, and Hap had followed doctor’s orders by giving Kay fresh air, propping her up where she accidentally burned her legs against a hot air register. To make matters worst, Hap poured hot coffee on her neck.
Both were heavily intoxicated, and Hap’s charge was dropped. Kay underwent several surgeries within the next few weeks.
March. Kay is physically recovering, though still prone to crying fits because of her chronic depression.
March 21. Kay finally leaves White Cross Hospital.
April 14. Kay interviews Joel Ashley for a role in her new stage project—a revival of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney by Frederick Lonsdale.
June 7. Kay begins her run in The Last of Mrs Cheyney with a show in Princeton, New Jersey at the McCarter Theatre.
September 20. Kay’s run of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney ends in Montclair, New Jersey.
Fall. Kay is heavily involved with Joel. Typical of Kay Francis romances, she hates him one minute and loves him the next. But Joel fit the bill for the ideal Kay Francis lover: He was married with children, had a terrible drinking problem, but, unlike the others, was remarkably younger than her—by fourteen years.
December 25. Kay begins her tour in “Favorite Stranger.”
January 9. Kay appears in “The Last of Mrs. Cheyney” at the Penthouse Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
January 14. The tour of “The Last of Mrs. Cheyney” ends its run in Atlanta.
April 1. After a performance in Pittsburgh, Kay and Joel went to the Dixon Cafe, where they foolishly brought three men back to their hotel room, where Joel got beaten up. Both Kay and Joel were heavily intoxicated.
April 2. Kay tells her diary, “Finally got a doctor for Joel—a mess!—2 shows—closed ‘Favorite Stranger’—left for New York on 12:42 AM train.”
May. Kay selects Rachel Crothers’ “Let Us Be Gay” as her next stage production. The choice for her leading man is simple, Joel.
June 3. Kay begins her tour of “Let Us Be Gay” at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
September 6. “Let Us Be Gay” ends its summer run at the Maryland Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.
September 19. Scheduled to make her television debut on Chevorlet Tele-Theatre, a fearful Kay withdraws “on orders of her physician.” She is replaced with Vicki Cummings.
October 22. Kay revives “Let Us Be Gay” at the Penthouse Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
November 7. Kay revives “Let Us Be Gay” at the Greater Hartford Drama Festival in Hartford, Connecticut.