Fate Has Smiled Upon Vera Francis — Deciding Career Is Big Question
by Nora Holt
April 17, 1954
How long does it take a young girl living in this mad and commedium [sic] for a career? Especially if the medium is show business, the most demanding, risky and heartbreaking, and yet fascinating and rewarding profession of them all.
This is the question posed for Vera Francis, still in her early 20’s, who switched from the more conservative role of nurse to probe the glamour field where she has already achieved considerable fame.
She is now mulling over the burning question and often unsolved question of “What shall I do?” which perplexes all youth of this generation no matter of what race or social position.
Since Vera was born right in the middle of this modern age she cannot escape the pattern of indecision and restlessness which stalks the destinies of all youth seeking to find a secure niche in a changing world.
Fortunately, this Boston girl of French-Haitian parents has a number of advantages that could take her to the pinnacle of success. First, she has beauty, the kind of dual Madonna and Pin-up attractiveness that makes painters sigh and talent hunters rave – ravishing red-brown skin smooth and glowing with the sunshine of youth; partician features with sculptured nose and provocative come-hither lips; large brown eyes with equal appeal; a body beautiful such as that for which Faust sold his soul; and the movement and slinky grace of a panther.
Too, she has gifts, a quick perceptive mind, and a high degree of intelligence that is always seeking the best and finest things in life. Never satisfied with some of the stellar roles and national publicity she has received, and skate on her reputation. But not Vera.
Her career to date reads like a “Who’s Who” in the register of a fabulous star. With these highlights:
High school education in Boston with class-book phropecy [sic], “Most Likely to Outshine Lena Horne;” (N.C.) college, a course at New York Foundling hospital for infant and nursing and the first infants’ nurse at Freedman hospital in Washington.
She has had special commissions as a professional art model, dramatic training in Summer theatres and USO shows, bit parts in Hollywood which led to an important role in 20th Century Fox’s “The President’s Lady,” hobnobbing on sets, location, and social functions with Hollywood stars, writers and producers such as Susan Hayward, Whitfield Connor, writer Irving Stone, producer Sol Siegel, director Harry Levin and many others.
Then there have been scads of pix by the famous photographer Tommy Kelly, whose shots helped to “sell” Marilyn Monroe, Cover build-ups by Flair magazines like Ebony, Our World, Camera, Color, Brown, Jet and feature stories by professional writers, and stage and concert appearances with Calypso singers and dancers in New York’s Townhall.
These reflect the gamut in the launching of a new star. But is Vera satisfied, her answer is “no.”
Vera has had glittering buildups and promotions by a dozen or more smart agents and quickie operators. The pattern is current and often spoils a really potential talent rather than steering it on to success through sensible and intelligent counseling.
Miss Francis is neither spoiled nor conceited by these lushes experiences. Conversely, she has been sobered to the point of self-analysis as to where it leads and the result.
In the course of an interview, she pursed her pretty lips, turned her soulful eyes upward as if retracing the past, and remarked:
“Everything has been fine and I am grateful to the press, to personal friends, and to everyone who has given me a helping hand and words of encouragement, But I am now at the point when I must make a decision on what career to pursue and begin intensive training to that end.
“To remain in the theatre I must take advanced courses in singing, acting, dancing, and languages, but these professions require financial backing, so I am accepting commissions for modeling and parts for appearances on stage, radio, or TV with groups or in a single spot.”
Then, as if recovering from a dream, she turned with a warm glow in her eyes and said: “But with all, deep down in my heart I have one burning desire. I would love to be married and have a family.”
Now that was a switch. Rather than leave the conversation dangling, I asked how many children she would like to have. “At least four,” she responded with gleaming eyes, “Two boys and two girls.”