Childhood & Early Life
Frances Fisher was born Frances Louise Fisher, on May 11, 1952, to Olga Rosine (née Moen) and William Irving “Bill” Fisher, Sr., in Milford on Sea, Hampshire, England. Her father was of Russian-Jewish and Hungarian-Jewish descent and worked in an oil refinery. Her mother was a homemaker and had Norwegian origins. She grew up with a younger brother.
Most of Frances’s childhood was spent in different countries, owing to her father’s job. As a child, she lived in countries such as Turkey, Columbia, France, Canada, and Brazil. When she was in seventh grade, her family finally settled permanently in Texas, US.
Frances graduated from ‘Lutcher Stark High School,’ Orange, Texas. When she was 15 years old, her mother passed away. This meant that she had to take care of her younger brother by herself.
During her high-school years, she became interested in acting and participated in many high-school productions. She had also made up her mind to become an actor, but the family responsibilities had her working as a nanny for sometime after she graduated high school.
Before moving to New York in 1970, she did many other odd jobs to support herself. She worked as a secretary briefly and also got married around the same time. Her marriage did not last long, and following the divorce, she moved to New York to fulfil her dreams of becoming an actor.
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She started attending ‘Actors Studio’ and studied the nuances of acting under her mentor, Lee Strasberg. She subsequently moved to Virginia and worked with the ‘Barter Theatre,’ a repertory theater.
Throughout the next decade, she poured all her energy into making a name in the New York and the East Coast theater circles and appeared in a number of important plays, gaining both name and fame.
In the mid-1970s, she auditioned for a supporting role in the ‘ABC’ daytime opera titled ‘The Edge of Night’ and was selected to play the role of ‘Detective Deborah Saxon.’ She played the role from 1976 to 1980 and appeared in 215 episodes of the show.
In 1983, she made her film debut with the comedy film ‘Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?,’ in which she played the supporting role of ‘Louise.’ The film received decent reviews, with most of the praises directed toward the performances.
In 1985, she got another major opportunity, when she was offered the role of ‘Suzette Saxon’ in the daytime opera titled ‘Guiding Light.’ It was her last stint as a daytime opera actor, and she then appeared in guest roles in series such as ‘The Equalizer’ (as ‘Francesca’ and ‘Amanda Kaufman’), ‘Roseanne’ (as ‘Savannah’), and ‘Matlock’ (‘Nancy Proctor’).
She also had a thriving film career and was seen in films such as ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance’ (as ‘Jessica Pond’) and ‘Patty Hearst’ (as ‘Yolanda’).
In 1989, she got her first major film breakthrough when she appeared in a supporting role in the Clint Eastwood-starrer comedy–action film ‘Pink Cadillac.’ She played the role of ‘Dinah’ in the film. The film, however, bombed at the box office and only managed to get lukewarm reviews. Nevertheless, the performances of the actors were praised.
In 1995, she appeared in the supporting role of ‘Angie’ in the series ‘Strange Luck.’ The series ran into trouble after the first season was aired, and it was not renewed for further seasons. Frances appeared in all 17 episodes of the first season.
After ‘Pink Cadillac,’ Frances had started dating Clint Eastwood, which resulted in her getting a meaty role in Clint’s film ‘Unforgiven.’ The 1992 film was directed by Eastwood himself and was a huge critical and commercial success. The film won four ‘Academy Awards’ and was hailed as an immediate classic. Frances’s portrayal of ‘Strawberry Alice’ in the film also received praises. It was her first full-fledged break in Hollywood.
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Following the success of ‘Unforgiven,’ Frances was offered several films, both major studio films and independent films. She starred in films such as ‘Do Me a Favor’ (as a librarian) and ‘Wild America’ (as ‘Agnes’).
However, her role as the lead character ‘Rose’s mother in the cult classic film ‘Titanic’ stood out among the rest. As the film became a roaring international success, Frances was noticed for her impeccable acting abilities.
In 1999, she appeared alongside Eastwood again, in the film ‘True Crime,’ which featured her in the role of ‘DA Cecilia Nussbaum.’
In the early 2000s, her TV career became as successful as her film career. She appeared as a guest actor and was seen in supporting roles in many series, such as ‘Titus’ (as ‘Juanita Titus’), ‘The X-Files’ (as ‘Lizzy Gill’), and ‘Glory Days’ (as ‘Mitzi Dolan’). She also appeared in the recurring role of ‘Dr. Elizabeth Carson’ in the sitcom ‘Becker.’
In 2003, she appeared in the role of ‘Connie Walsh’ in the film ‘House of Sand and Fog.’ The film was a huge success critically and commercially and was nominated for an ‘Academy Award.’ In the next year, she appeared as ‘Sara Miller,’ the mother of ‘Audrey Woods,’ the character played by Julianne Moore in the film ‘Laws of Attraction.’ Frances is only 8 years older than Julianne in real life.
She then appeared in more critically acclaimed films, such as ‘Woman in Gold’ (as ‘Barbara Schoenberg’), ‘The Host’ (as ‘Maggie’), and ‘In the Valley of Elah’ (as ‘Evie’). In 2011, she was selected as one of the judges for the ‘Noor Iranian Film Festival’ held in Los Angeles.
In 2013, she played the supporting role of ‘Nicole Farington’ in the series ‘Touch’ for five episodes. In the next year, she was seen playing a lead role (‘Lucille Langston’) in the series ‘Resurrection,’ which ran for one season.
Apart from building her film and TV career, Frances has appeared in a number of theatrical productions, too, such as ‘Finishing the Picture’ and ‘The Cherry Orchard.’
She has also served as a long-time active member of the ‘Screen Actors Guild.’
Family & Personal Life
Frances married her high-school boyfriend, Billy Mack Hamilton, on August 1, 1970, when she was 18 years old. The couple divorced 2 years later, on November 22, 1972.
Frances Fisher is known to have excellent networking skills in Hollywood. Part of it comes from the fact that she has dated two of the top most actors of Hollywood, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney.
She had started dating Hollywood superstar Clint Eastwood in the early 1990s. The couple dated for the next 6 years. They also had a daughter, Francesca Eastwood.
Following her breakup with Clint, Frances started dating another major Hollywood celebrity, George Clooney.
In the 2016 ‘US Presidential Elections,’ Frances supported Bernie Sanders.