Francine was born in a small mining town in northern Minnesota called Aurora to her parents Frank and Sophie Yerich. She won all the declamation contests she entered in high school and also starred in all the class plays. Her drama coach wrote in her yearbook, “To Francine, I know someday you will be a success in Hollywood because you have the talent.” Well, Hollywood was still a long way away for 17-year-old Francine. But then, an opportunity came up in a beauty contest which was part of the Miss America Pageant. Francine entered locally, became “Miss Eveleth”, and Runner-up in Miss Minnesota. her first modeling jobs started locally after that. Moving to Minneapolis, she got a job modeling sweaters for Jane Richards Sportswear and began traveling all over the U.S., ending up in San Francisco. Taking a modeling course at the “House of Charm” School and Agency, started her off on a fabulous modeling career for all the department store ads (Macy’s, Magnins, ect.) . But a new opportunity arose…the Miss San Francisco Pageant, which she entered and was Runner-up, only to take over the title because the winner got ill. The Maid of California Beauty Contest followed, which she was also Runner-up. By this time, Hollywood beckoned. She got a job as a showgirl at “Bimbo’s” which was frowned upon by the modeling agency, but turned out to be the right choice for Francine as she met the lead singer star of the show, Mary Meade French, and she brought Francine to Hollywood and to her first agent. A series of commercials followed: Chrysler, Betty Crocker, Valley Federal Bank, Chevrolet, and many more. She soon stared in her first feature called “Secret File Hollywood” which was premiered in her home town of Aurora for all the town to see. To this day, she says this was the biggest thrill of her life seeing the whole town, the press, her parents, grandparents, and all her friends, plus the high school band turned out at the airport to greet her. This was just the beginning though, as soon she was discovered by Jerry Lewis and six films followed, starting with “It’s Only Money”,” The Nutty Professor”, “Family Jewels”. “The Patsy”, “Disorderly Orderly”, and her last with him in 1982 where she plays a noble woman with a French accent from the 15th century called “Cracking Up”. She also went on to star with Marlon Brando and David Niven in “Bedtime Story” for Universal Studios. During this period, she also appeared in many Max Factor Cosmetic ads showing here and in Europe. Her makeup artist was Hal King who was Lucille Ball’s makeup man all during the “Lucy” series. Francine’s vast interest in nutrition put her on the covers of such national magazines as Let’s Live, Fitness Plus, and others. Her appearances on fashion pages of the STAR, and National Enquirer have been numerous, and Mr. Blackwell’s A-1 Dress List. She is also a gourmet cook and has hosted dinners for sometimes as many as 80-100 with such stars as Clint Eastwood, Peter Ustinov, Glenn Ford, Rex Harrison, and her many more. Her recipes have also appeared in both Hollywood movie magazines and health magazines. Some of Francine’s other credits are “Curse of the Swamp Creature” (now a cult film), “Tickle Me” with Elvis Presley, “Cannon for Corboda” (shot in Spain with George Peppard), George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Sergeant Was A Lady for Universal, etc. She starred with Bob Hope and Eva Marie Saint in “School for Bachelors”. As Venus De Milo on “Bewitched”; as the agricultural student all the men fell in love with on “Green Acres” Soon Irwin Allen, famous disaster film producer, discovered her talents and soon starred her in “Lost in Space” as the infamous Queen Niolani, “Land of the Giants” as Dr. North, “The Flood” as Robert Culp’s girlfriend, “Time Traveler”, a pilot for ABC which she played a scientist, “Luxury Liner” opposite Robert Stack, “Batman Soon Came Up” opposite Roddy McDowell (as Lydia Limpit) his girl . That got her a story in Saturday Evening Post and later she was known as one of the Bat Girls. “The Streets of San Francisco”, “Columbo”, “Kojak”, “Wild Wild West”, “Police Story”, “Mission Impossible”, “Riptide”, and “Perry Mason” all followed. Some of her other television shows were “Ohara U.S. Treasury” opposite David Janssen and “Police Story”. On “Days of Our Lives” she played the notorious blackmailer Lorraine Temple, and on “General Hospital” Thelma, and infamous madam from Florida. She also starred in “Mama’s Family”, “Brothers”, “Mr. Belvedere”. “Matlock” opposite Andy Griffith, and she recently Guest Starred in “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Lois & Clark” (the new Superman) and “Marilyn Is Alive” Starring as Marilyn Monroe
Episode 5 - Julie Newmar
As an eleventh generation American and a Mayflower descendant, Julie Newmar has beauty, brains and a charming sense of humor. Born Julia Chalene Newmeyer in Los Angeles, her father, Donald, was an engineering professor, and her mother, Helen Jesmer, was a Ziegfeld Follies girl, said by Eddie Cantor to have the most beautiful legs in the Follies.
From an early age, Julie studied classical piano, ballet, and every form of dance her mother would drive her to lessons for, graduating high school at 15, then spending a year in Europe with her mother and brother John. On her UCLA entrance exam, she scored a 99, staying only six weeks, switching to Universal Studios as choreographer, teacher, and dance double. Not yet 18, she was the original “Golden Girl,” a statue-come-to-life dancing in “Serpent of the Nile,” often times seen on MySpace, YouTube, and was one of the brides in the classic MGM musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”
“Silk Stockings” was her first role on Broadway at 19. Then the very “Stupefyin’ Jones” in “Li’l Abner.” She won a Tony for her first speaking role in the hit comedy “Marriage-Go-Round” (Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer). A contract with 20th Century Fox provided Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield-type roles in “The Rookie,” “The Maltese Bippy,”… In London, she played the ubiquitous love interest of Zero Mostel in the unfinished film “Monsieur Le Coq.” She also toured in the National Company, opposite Joel Gray, in “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.” Her legs were insured for $10 million (except in the event of theft).
Making the transition to TV, Julie had many memorable song and dance routines (a Jonathan Winters Special, The Danny Kaye Show, Mike Douglas Show) but is best known for her comedic as well as supernatural roles. She was the complex and alluring motorcycle babe in two episodes of “Route 66” (a role created for her by Stirling Silliphant) and starred in a “Twilight Zone” episode as The Devil. She was claimed again by Jim Aubrey, President of CBS for the lead in “My Living Doll” as Rhoda the robot, still a cult sitcom favorite.
In 1966, Julie she created the role of Catwoman in “Batman.” Her sense of humor and physicality made her this show’s most popular villain. Similarly popular was her appearance as April the Laundress in “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt”. On “Wide, Wide World of Sports,” she made three parachute jumps. She was killed off in “Columbo” but slayed audiences as Lola in “Damn Yankees.” She was given a chapter in the book “Mothers of Invention” for having created “Nudemar,” a new design in pantyhose, appearing in People Magazine.
In the 1980s, Julie appeared in nine films of “presumptive” value while raising her son. A mother at 49 and divorced, she attended UCLA and took courses so she could more effectively run her own real estate business. In 1991, Julie took on the Rosalind Russel role in “The Women,” then astonished Broadway in a revival of “Li’l Abner,” 42 years after performing in the original production as Stupefyin’ Jones in the same costume. In her 60s, she became a modeling sensation in Paris for Thierry Mugler and appeared among the fashion world’s most gorgeous divas in George Michael’s music video “Too Funky.”
Few women have had a movie named after them. Julie’s name literally became box office via “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,” a film from Stephen Spielberg’s company. Literary types from John D. MacDonald to Harlan Coben have written characters based on Julie or alluding to Julie’s “special… beautiful and animated… incomparable feminine” personality. She was persuaded by Adam West to re-make Catwoman in his “Return to the Batcave.” She also appeared in her own “A&E Biography.”
From the ‘60s into the 21st century, Julie is still fascinating. “Beauty is her business” as well as her passion for art and design and gardening, which have led to a rose, day lily, and an orchid named in her honor. Her magnificent gardens are first choice for L.A.’s top charity events. “Why not? I live in Paradise.”
A book on the oft asked questions “How do you look the way you do?” The answers are few when it comes to makeup and exercise. “It’s the inner life that’s all important”. Check it out on JulieNewmar.com – her 2011 book, “The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth”. She is currently writing short stories, magazine pieces, as well as a bi-monthly memoir on the beatitudes of yes, consummate bliss.
Episode 4 - Actress Tina Cole, and Actors: Stan Livingston & Barry Livingston
Actress Tina Cole, and Actors Stan Livingston and Barry Livingston remember “My Three Sons”; Tina talks about growing up in the musical King Family and becoming one of the King Cousins.
Episode 3 - Elizabeth Montgomery
A Look at the Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery with author Herbie J. Pilato (“Twitch Upon a Star”).
Episode 2 - Veteran Actress Rose Marie
ROSE MARIE is an American actress. As a child performer she had a successful singing career as Baby Rose Marie. A veteran of vaudeville, Rose Marie’s career includes film, records, theater, night clubs, and television. Her most famous role was television comedy writer Sally Rogers on the CBS situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show. She later portrayed Myrna Gibbons on CBS’s The Doris Day Show and was also a frequent panelist on the game show Hollywood Squares.