Kay Francis (January 13, 1905 â€“ August 26, 1968 - (aged 63)) was an American stage and film actress. After a brief period on Broadway in the late 1920s, she moved to film and achieved her greatest success between 1930 and 1936, when she was the number one female star at the Warner Brothers studio and the highest-paid American film actress. Some of her film-related material and personal papers are available to scholars and researchers in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives. Francis, signed to a Paramount contract, also made the move, and created an immediate impression. She frequently costarred with William Powell and appeared in as many as six to eight movies a year, making a total of 21 films between 1929 and 1931.
Francis's career flourished in spite of a slight but distinctive speech impediment (she pronounced the letters "r" and "l" as "w") that gave rise to the nickname "Wavishing Kay Fwancis."From 1932 through 1936, Francis was the queen of the Warners lot and increasingly her films were developed as star vehicles. By the mid-thirties, Francis was one of the highest-paid people in the United States. From the years 1930 to 1937, Francis appeared on the covers of 38 film magazines, the most for any adult performer and second only to Shirley Temple who appeared on 138 covers during that period.