A British-American actress resident in the United States, Frances Fisher has enjoyed a long career as an appreciated stage, television and screen performer. She first received recognition for playing the affluent Deborah Saxon on the soap opera “The Edge of Night” (1976-1981). She experienced a lackluster career in the 1980s and stayed that way until she was cast as Lucille Ball in the telepic Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughte, which released to strong reviews and good ratings in 1991. Since then, she has appeared in numerous television projects, including ” Becker” (1999-2000), “Titus” (2000-2001), “Glory Days” (2002) and “The Lyon’s Den” (2003). She is also notable in such television films as The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000) and Passion and Prejudice (2001).
An in-demand character player, Fisher received her break-out screen role as prostitute Strawberry Alice in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning Western Unforgiven (1992), and became famous for her role as the pedantic society-conscious mother of Kate Winslet in the Academy Award-winning smash hit Titanic (1997). Her more recent and upcoming credits include Clint Eastwood’s True Crime (1999), Steven Soderberg’s Traffic (1999), The Big Tease (1999), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Blue Car (2002), House of Sand and Fog (2003), The Night of the White Pants (2006), Peter Berg’s The Kingdom (2007), In the Valley of Elah (2007), Sex and Death 101 (2007) and My Sexiest Year (2007).
Off camera, the understanding, red-haired, porcelain-skinned Fisher married Billy Mack Hamilton from 1970 until 1972. She made headlines for her long relationship with Clint Eastwood (together from 1989 to 1994), by whom she had a daughter, Francesca Fisher-Eastwood, in 1993. In the late of 2001, the actress and her daughter ran away a fire that engulfed their home. The 8-year-old girl jumped 15 feet from a second-story window into the arms of her mother and a neighbor. Clint Eastwood flew down to visit Francesca in the hospital where she recovered from smoke breathing.
Childhood and Family:
Frances Fisher was born on May 11, 1952, in Milford-on-the-sea, Hampshire, England, to Bill Fisher and Olga Fisher (died of heart failure in 1967). Her father worked in oil refinery construction, so she moved frequently as a young girl, traveling around the world. The family eventually settled in Orange, Texas, when Frances was in 7th grade. She attended Lutcherstark High School, Orange, Texas, and after graduating worked as a secretary until she relocated to Virginia to join the Barter Theatre.
In 1970, Frances was married to Billy Mack Hamilton, but they divorced two years later. After divorcing, she moved to New York City to study drama at the Actors Studio. Frances has a daughter, Francesca Ruth Fisher (born August 7, 1993), with Clint Eastwood.
Born in England and raised there as well as in Turkey, Italy and Texas, Frances Fisher got her acting start with the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia before moving to New York City, where she spent more than ten years performing at the city’s stage with over 30 productions under her belt. Arriving in NYC in 1972, Fisher first made impression on the small screen with her role as Deborah Saxon on the ABC soap opera “The Edge of Night,” a character she had from 1976 to 1981. She moved on to the big screen with 1983’s Can She Bake a Cherry Pie, directed and written by Henry Jaglom, and returned to series TV in 1985 in the CBS soap “Guiding Light,” as record executive Suzette Saxon. During that period, she was honing her craft at the Actors Studio and appeared in a number of theatrical productions, most outstandingly Sam Shepard’s Off-Broadway hit “Fool for Love” (1984).
Fisher played the supporting roles of ex-porno star Jessica Pond on Norman Mailer’s Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987), a drama film starring Ryan O’Neal and Isabella Rossellini, and one of the kidnappers, Yolanda, in the Paul Schrader critically-acclaimed Patty Hearst (1988). Also in 1988, the actress made her way to Los Angeles to further pursue her career. She went on to appear in mostly supporting turns in such films as Bum Rap (1988), Donald Sutherland’s Lost Angels (1989) and the Clint Eastwood starring vehicle Pink Cadillac (1989), in addition to making guest appearances in shows like “Roseanne” (1988), “Newhart” (1989) and “Matlock” (1989).
After a starring role in the CBS television movie Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter (1991), playing the television icon Lucille Ball, Fisher got her breakout role as the hooker Strawberry Alice in the Western movie Unforgiven (1992), thank to her romantic relationship with the Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood. Next, she worked with Henry Jaglom in the comedy/drama Babyfever (1994), was cast as a deprived farm wife in the undervalued The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995, with Robert Duvall and Aidan Quinn), but it was her portrayal of society matron Ruth DeWitt Bukater, the mother of Kate Winslet’s Rose, in the James Cameron’s Oscar-winning blockbuster Titanic (1997) that really made the actress popular.
In 1999, Fisher rejoined Eastwood for the crime/thriller True Crime, and boarded on a fruitful career as an industrious character actress, playing roles in foremost features like the Steven Soderberg highly praised Traffic (1999), indie favorites such as Kevin Allen’s The Big Tease (1999, opposite Craig Ferguson), as well as conventional action flick such as the stolen car-themed Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000). Additionally, she ventured into the small screen, portraying Dr. Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Carson on CBS’s sitcom “Becker” (1999-2000) and a pair of mothers of superstar icons: Ella Hepburn on TV-movie The Audrey Hepburn Story and Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss on the miniseries “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis” (both 2000). In 2001, she starred as prudish and proper New England college professor Dr. Gwen Barry in the telepic Passion and Prejudice.
After a three-episodic part in “Titus” (2000-2001) as well as a regular role on the Kevin Williamson short-lived drama “Glory Days” (2002), Fisher took on the key role of Brit Hanley in the soon-cancelled NBC legal drama “The Lyon’s Den” (2003). On the wide screen, she again started making powerful performances like as the wife of David Straithairn in the Sundance-screened Blue Car (2002) and a plain-speaking lawyer in the acclaimed movie House of Sand and Fog (2003), opposite Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.
The following year, Fisher found herself appearing with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore in Laws of Attraction, and in 2006 she teamed up with Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl and Selma Blair for the comedy/drama The Night of the White Pants. Still in 2006, the stage-trained performer reappeared on the stage in Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Fisher has worked on four films due for 2007 release. They are the comedy Sex and Death 101, along side Winona Ryder and Simon Baker, Howard Himelstein’s My Sexiest Year, starring Frankie Muniz, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom, opposite Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, and the Tommy Lee Jones- Charlize Theron vehicle In the Valley of Elah, directed by Paul Haggis. She is also scheduled to play the supporting role of Janet on television project To Love and Die in L.A. (2007).