Frances Lynn was born in St Mary's Hospital Paddington, and was educated at Malvern Girls' College.

Her first job was at the BBC, but left after a year in order to travel to San Francisco. When she returned to London, she did odd jobs, one of them being a showgirl at the Old Embassy club.

The Managing Director of Warner Brothers gave her a chance. Even though she had never done publicity before, he made her the Press Officer at Warner Brothers films in Wardour Street. She used her expense account wisely by wining and dining all the movie stars, including Dirk Bogarde whom she looked after while he was promoting one of the company's films.

She became a journalist when ADRIAN GEORGE, the illustrator and painter advised her she was wasting her time gossiping with her friend Celia Birtwell, the textile designer and should start writing gossip for a living. He acted as her Svengali, advising her to write a column on all the parties that Christmas, which she secretly did so without telling anyone what she was up to.

Adrian took her original and bitchy column to David Bailey's Ritz Newspaper, which was just starting in the late Seventies. Bailey loved her column and David Litchfield, the paper's editor hired her over lunch at Langan's Brasserie, anointing her as the paper's first Gossip Columnist and Film Editor.

'Ritzy Lynn. Frances Lynn (Franny to the few friends she has left) wins my accolades as the bitchiest gossip writer in town.'
BARRY FANTONI, Evening News

'As high-priestess of the single-entendre, she has assassinated everybody who is anybody in her two-page column in the bi-monthly magazine, Ritz. Her list of victims includes people like Elkie Brooks, Roman Polanski, Diana Riggs, Yves St Laurent, Elton John and the Eagles.'
Daily Mail.

'I would like to give some examples of her killing techniques, but I can't in case I get into trouble. Asked if she had, in fact, received any writs lately she replied demurely: 'of course not. In a more familiar vein, she added, 'if I had, I wouldn't tell you, dahling.'
Atticus, Sunday Times.

Frances was sued after her third column, but the injured party settled out of court enabling Ritz to continue until the Nineties.

'She was absolutely crazy in those days', said DON BOYD in The Evening Standard, Monday August 1982 after he commissioned her to write the film treatment "Gossip" about her days as a gossip columnist on Ritz.

One of the first of Frances's notoriously candid interviews was with NIGEL DEMPSTER, the gossip columnist on the Daily Mail who befriended her and promptly got her into the NUJ. She consequently became a prolific freelance journalist, moonlighting as a diary writer on the Evening Standard's Londoner's Diary when Fleet Street newspaper offices sounded like constant machine gunfire, due to the noise from the manual typewriters. She also wrote features for the Evening Standard and all the glossies including Harpers & Queen, Tatler, Cosmopolitan, Time Out, Woman's Journal, Honey, 19, and ES Magazine, and for film magazines including the defunct Cinema (Contributing Editor), Screen International, Starburst, Films & Filming, Fear, Film Review and Shivers etc.

Frances's first interview was with Sammy Davis Jr. She was having tea at the Dorchester with her teenage friend, VAL LOWNES, son of VICTOR LOWNES, the Playboy executive. When she told him she wanted to interview a Hollywood celebrity, VAL immediately set up an interview for her with Sammy Davis Jr. He wasn't officially doing any interviews at the time as he was on holiday staying in one of London's Playboy's apartments, but agreed to let Frances interview him as a favour to the LOWNES family. He taught her an invaluable interview technique by ordering her to buy his biography before she talked to him.

She went on to interview and syndicate Everybody who was Anybody in Hollywood and beyond, including: TOM HANKS, TONY CURTIS, SALLY FIELD, JANE BIRKIN, WAYNE SLEEP, JERRY HALL, DONALD SUTHERLAND, JOHN HURT, DIVINE, DEREK JARMAN, DAVID LYNCH, ROBERT ALTMAN, CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT, GEORGE ROMERO, TOM SELLECK, DENNIS HOPPER, TERENCE STAMP, BETTE MIDLER, FRAN LEBOWITZ, Studio 54's STEVE RUBELL, KEVIN KLINE, PETER BOGDANOVICH, RAQUEL WELCH, ANNIE LIEBOVITZ, PETER GALLAGHER, DEBBIE HARRY and ROBIN WILLIAMS.

Once when she was stuck for someone famous to interview for the next copy of Ritz, David Hockney advised her to fabricate an interview with GREGORY PECK.

MICKEY ROURKE made her read out aloud the first draft of his Homeboy screenplay, FRANK ZAPPA forced her to read his film treatments by locking her in his hotel suite with his bodyguard, TONY PERKINS advised her to come off sugar, DAVID CRONENBERG suggested she become one of the first women film directors and CARY GRANT forbid her to smoke or use a tape recorder, while ordering the hotel to hold all calls during their day-long interview.

FROM THE DIARY OF FRANCES LYNN in Harpers & Queen

'Lunch with JACKIE COLLINS at Langan's Brasserie, She was delightful - funny, bitchy and witty! I even got her to sign my hardback copy of Hollywood Wives. LEON BRITTAN was eating in the restaurant but he didn't rate a very good table...'

Went off to interview BEN GAZARRA in the Ritz Hotel for the 11 am slot. Some bomb had been found in the Thames and London had come to a stand-still. The publicist's entire schedule had been ruined thanks to the bomb which had been rotting away since World War II.'

Frances spent a lot of time in the late Seventies and Eighties in the dark as a film critic, sitting next to legendary film critics like the late DYLIS POWELL and ALEXANDER WALKER and also visited countless movie sets, doing production stories as well as unit publicity work on "House Of The Long Shadows" for Cannon Films.

She wrote so many film review columns that she was forced to adopt a couple of pseudonyms for two of her columns. She also reviewed soft porn for the weekly trade newspaper, Showbiz sitting next to men in raincoats in soft porn cinemas in Soho.

In 1980 Frances made her first appearance as a TV/movie presenter. She presented The Alternative Miss World by RICHARD GAYER.

'The cunning commentary of The Alternative Miss World is extremely funny but the highlight sequences features Ritz film columnist Frances Lynn, a real star who steals the show', LENDAL SCOTT-ELLIS, 19

Frances's Top Ten Films appeared in JOHN KOBAL's book, The Top 100 Movies. The majority of the book's international film critics stated their favourite film was "Citizen Kane", but Frances's top ten list consisted of horror movies with her favourite film, GEORGE ROMERO'S "Night Of The Living Dead" (the only horror movie to make her pass out, screaming) at number one. New York journalists asked KOBAL if she was being serious. She was, being a lover of Seventies horror.

Frances's play, Roopie Poopie starring JENNY RUNACRE appeared at the Man in the Moon Theatre, King's Road Chelsea in 1989.

'Frances Lynn's inspired black comedy Roopie Poopie, about a party game that misfires,'
Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail

Frances continues to freelance and recently, wrote a regular golf column for Saga Magazine. They sent her on a month's free cruise around the Caribbean in exchange for her giving lectures on one of their ships, the Saga Rose.

Willing To Die For It, Frances's biography on the scientist Dr Sammy Lee, the early human IVF pioneer (who's interested in stem cell therapy and human cloning), was published by Murrayprint in 2010.

Her novel Crushed Published by
Eiworth Publishing
October 2006, 250 pages, ISBN 10: 0-9553672-3-9, ISBN 13: 978-0-9553672-3-6

Frantic, her novel about the early Seventies (ISBN 13: 978-0-9553672-8-1) was published by Eiworth Publishing in April 2010.

Frances is currently working on her third novel.

Posted by frances on April 6, 2006 at 02:02 AM

 

© Frances Lynn 2006