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Frances Farmer

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208873.  Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:09 pm Reply with quote

Frances Farmer was a Hollywood actress whose life was depicted (with a questionable level of accuracy) in the film Frances.

As a youngster, she won awards for two essays: One discussed the discrepancy between wanting there to be a perfect god and realising that the world is seemingly godless. The other was published in a left-wing paper while she was at university. The latter won her a trip to the Soviet Union, which she went on against her mother's wishes. Both these led to her developing a reputation as an atheist and communist.

While in Hollywood, she did not conform to the usual lifestyle, refusing to attend Hollywood parties or date other Hollywood stars.

From 1939 onwards, her behaviour became increasingly erratic, with various incidents involving the police, such as driving with headlights on during the WWII blackout, being charged with assault and throwing an inkwell at a judge in court.

She was transferred to a psychiatric ward in LA and diagnosed initially with manic-depressive psychosis, then with paranoid schizophrenia.

Although the film of her life tells of her having a frontal lobotomy, evidence suggests that this was never the case. There are no records in the medical archives of Western State Hospital, where Frances was staying, and staff at the hospital at the time report that she never underwent the procedure.

More information here and here (and the subsequent pages).

208875.  Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:12 pm Reply with quote

smiley_face wrote:
She was transferred to a psychiatric ward in LA and diagnosed initially with manic-depressive psychosis, then with paranoid schizophrenia.

Was this a case of rediagnosis, or did the paranoid schizophrenia develop later on?

Last edited by samivel on Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

208877.  Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:15 pm Reply with quote

While the article fails to make it clear, it was probably just a correction in diagnosis. Manic-depressive psychotics and paranoid schizophrenics can display very similar symptoms indeed, so it is highly likely.

I will check up on that tomorrow, though, just to confirm.

208945.  Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:19 am Reply with quote

Which all tends to the conclusion that if you're an atheist and/or Communist, you're likely to be mentally ill. Cause, though, or effect?

209060.  Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:28 am Reply with quote

Also immortalised in the song "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" from Nirvana's "In Utero" album.

209063.  Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:29 am Reply with quote

and frances bean cobain was named after her.



gerontius grumpus
209087.  Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:59 am Reply with quote

Was she persecuted by McCarthy or had she already been admitted to the psychiatric ward by then?


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