Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Frances Gifford, While visiting the studios of Samuel Goldwyn to watch a film being made she was spotted by a talent scout who brought her to the attention of Goldwyn, who signed her on an acting contract. After only performing in minor roles, she moved on to RKO where she was cast in several uncredited supporting roles in the film, Stage Door (1937) starring Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers.
In 1938 at the age of 18, she married character actor James Dunn and in 1939 performed her first leading role, in Mercy Plane, opposite her husband. she performed in another uncredited role in, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). She played several more minor roles before she was, loaned to Republic Pictures and cast in the role which Frances would be best known for as the girl, Nyoka in Jungle Girl(1941), a 15-chapter movie serial, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Soon after, She left RKO for Paramount Pictures where she acted in several films including, The Glass Key (1942). In 1943 she made another Tarzan type movie with Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan Triumphs at RKO. That year she also left Paramount and moved to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.
At MGM she performed in many leading roles in such films as: Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945) and She Went to the Races (1945) and The Arnelo Affair (1947). She also played in supporting roles including, Thrill of a Romance (1945) with Esther Williams,(pictured below) and Luxury Liner (1948) with Jane Powell.