Arlene Francis

Arlene Francis

After unsuccessfully owning and operating a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City, she dropped her surname, changed the spelling of her first name and headed to Hollywood.

Although semi-retired starting 1983, Arlene was the co-host up until about 1986-87 of a local New York show that aired once a week (early Saturday nights) on WNBC-TV

Began her Broadway career in early 1928 in the flop play "La Gringa" (directed by Hamilton MacFadden and starring Claudette Colbert). She remained very active there until early 1954 when her TV commitments increased. Arlene continued to appear on Broadway with far less frequency through 1975 (see "Other Works").

Began practicing yoga in the 1950s when that was unusual for New Yorkers of her generation. She never referred to it on "What's My Line?" (1950). Arlene was able to share her interest with Jess Stearn, author of one of the first best-selling books on yoga. Dorothy Kilgallen plugged the book in her newspaper column in 1965, misspelling his first name as "Jesse." Either Dorothy or her editor placed the item immediately after one about an upcoming Las Vegas singing engagement of Johnnie Ray.

Granddaughter of Alfred Davis.

Her favorite song was "My Funny Valentine," composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

Hosted a daily radio show broadcast locally on New York's WOR from 1960 until 1985, when the station canceled it.

In 1960, her maid accidentally dropped a barbell from her apartment window or balcony, killing a passerby. Ms. Francis paid $175,000 in damages.

In 1995, when her health started to deteriorate, her son had her move to San Francisco to be near him. He was by her side at the time she died.

In many of the newspapers that carried her obituary, the wrong photograph was published.

Often wore glasses - usually tinted, and typically off-camera - as a result of various eye injuries and hyperopia (farsightedness).

On December 4, 1954, she was awarded a citation for outstanding performance in her profession by Emerson College in Boston.

On May 26, 1963, Arlene was involved in an automobile accident in which she was injured and prevented her from being on the show that night. Kitty Carlisle stood in for her on that night.

She and her husband Martin Gabel were the parents of a son, Peter Gabel born January 28, 1947.

She appeared in her only episode of the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" in 1974.

She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6432 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 1735 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

Suffered from Alzheimer's disease from mid 1980s until her death in 2001.

The heart-shaped diamond necklace she always wore was given to her by husband Martin Gabel. It triggered a heart-shaped diamond fad in the mid-50s.