Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Frances Spears

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been following the Britney Spears meltdown, just like everyone else on this planet. One thing that really bugs me with the Britney commentary are the comparisons to Marilyn Monroe. I am a huge fan of Marilyn (I used to like Britney too. Actually I really like her new record...) and I just don't see similarities between the two, except for the fact that they're both blondes and both allegedly were/are pill poppers. Marilyn had a whole different set of psychological issues. The Anna Nicole comparisons I can sort of understand, because she does have a svengali Howard K. Stern type in her life (hello Osama Bin Lutfi!), but was Anna Nicole mentally unstable like Britney? I never got that impression from her. She seemed way too high all the time to even show signs of schizophrenia or whatever.

So the one person that keeps popping up in my head everytime I see all the Britney drama on tv (especially the whole hospital thing a couple days ago) is the late actress Frances Farmer. And apparently, I'm not the only one! I found this really interesting article from The Canadian Press that briefly compares the two:

Some observers have drawn parallels between Spears and Hollywood actress Frances Farmer.

Farmer was a beautiful but rebellious and outspoken actress of the late 1930s and early '40s who clashed with both her mother and Paramount Studios, resisting their attempts to dictate to her how she should conduct her private life. She was also a heavy drinker who was said to be unconcerned about her physical appearance, spurning the latest fashions despite pleas from Paramount.

By the mid-1940s, with her career in a shambles and in trouble with the law for driving offences and assault charges, Farmer's family, unable to cope with her behaviour, had her involuntarily institutionalized. She was treated with electro-shock therapy, although allegations she was lobotomized - something portrayed in the 1982 film "Frances" - were vehemently denied by the hospital that treated her. Farmer died in anonymity in 1970 at age 56.

I hope Britney gets the right kind of help, and soon. Very soon.

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