Born in Verdun, France, into one of the great acting families of the Yiddish Theater, the Adlers, Francine Larrimore emigrated to the United States as a child. In 1910 she premiered in a girl role in "Where There's a Will" at Webber's Theater in New York. Honing her craft in a series of farces and rollicking musicals, she specialized in temperamental girl parts. She could sing, dance, pout, and flounce with notable skill. Her singing was clear, plangent, with a well controlled throaty sob in the sad songs. In most respects she was regarded as the second choice for this sort of role on Broadway, Madge Kennedy getting first call.
Larrimore's emergence as a first-rank stage talent took place singing the lead role in the Rudolph Friml musical, "Sometime," in 1918. Her heydey as a stage actress lasted approximately twelve years, from 1917 to 1929, ending with the hit "Let Us Be Gay." Her forte was verbal comedy and she became a master of humorous vocal inflection. Though she played in a half dozen silent features when she was on the verge of thatrical stardom in 1917, her sole important film role was in the not too successful 1937 feature "John Meade's Woman." David S. Shields/ALS