Francine York (August 26, 1938 – ) is an American movie actress. She was born Francine Yerich, the daughter of Frank and Sophie Yerich, in Aurora, Minnesota. At an early age she developed an interest in performance. She won a local beauty contest then placed first runner-up in the Miss Minnesota pageant. After attempting a career as an airline stewardess, then winning the Miss San Francisco beauty contest and working as a model, she became an actress.
Francine was born in a small mining town in northern Minnesota called Aurora to her parents Frank and Sophie Yerich. She won all the declamation contests she entered in high school and also starred in all the class plays. Her drama coach wrote in her yearbook, "To Francine, I know someday you will be a success in Hollywood because you have the talent." Well, Hollywood was still a long way away for 17-year-old Francine. But then, an opportunity came up in a beauty contest which was part of the Miss America Pageant. Francine entered locally, became "Miss Eveleth", and Runner-up in Miss Minnesota. Her first modeling jobs started locally after that.
Moving to Minneapolis, she got a job modeling sweaters for Jane Richards Sportswear and began traveling all over the U.S., ending up in San Francisco. Taking a modeling course at the "House of Charm" School and Agency, started her off on a fabulous modeling career for all the department store ads (Macy's, Magnins, ect.) . But a new opportunity arose...the Miss San Francisco Pageant, which she entered and was Runner-up, only to take over the title because the winner got ill. The Maid of California Beauty Contest followed, which she was also Runner-up. By this time, Hollywood beckoned. She then met Mary Meade French who brought Francine to Hollywood and was her first agent.
A series of commercials followed: Chrysler, Betty Crocker, Valley Federal Bank, Chevrolet, and many more. She soon stared in her first feature called "Secret File Hollywood" which was premiered in her home town of Aurora for all the town to see. To this day, she says this was the biggest thrill of her life seeing the whole town, the press, her parents, grandparents, and all her friends, plus the high school band turned out at the airport to greet her. This was just the beginning though, as soon she was discovered by Jerry Lewis and six films followed, starting with "It's Only Money"," The Nutty Professor", "Family Jewels". "The Patsy", "Disorderly Orderly", and her last with him in 1982 where she plays a noble woman with a French accent from the 15th century called "Cracking Up". She also went on to star with Marlon Brando and David Niven in "Bedtime Story" for Universal Studios.
During this period, she also appeared in many Max Factor Cosmetic ads showing here and in Europe. Her makeup artist was Hal King who was Lucille Ball's makeup man all during the "Lucy" series. Francine's vast interest in nutrition put her on the covers of such national magazines as Let's Live, Fitness Plus, and others. Her appearances on fashion pages of the STAR, and National Enquirer have been numerous, and Mr. Blackwell's A-1 Dress List. She is also a gourmet cook and has hosted dinners for sometimes as many as 80-100 with such stars as Clint Eastwood, Peter Ustinov, Glenn Ford, Rex Harrison, and her many more. Her recipes have also appeared in both Hollywood movie magazines and health magazines.
Some of Francine's other credits are "Curse of the Swamp Creature" (now a cult film), "Tickle Me" with Elvis Presley, "Cannon for Corboda" (shot in Spain with George Peppard), George Stevens' "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "Sergeant Was A Lady for Universal, etc. She starred with Bob Hope and Eva Marie Saint in "School for Bachelors". As Venus De Milo on "Bewitched"; as the agricultural student all the men fell in love with on "Green Acres" Soon Irwin Allen, famous disaster film producer, discovered her talents and soon starred her in "Lost in Space" as the infamous Queen Niolani, "Land of the Giants" as Dr. North, "The Flood" as Robert Culp's girlfriend, "Time Traveler", a pilot for ABC which she played a scientist, "Luxury Liner" opposite Robert Stack, "Batman Soon Came Up" opposite Roddy McDowell (as Lydia Limpit) his girl . That got her a story in Saturday Evening Post and later she was known as one of the Bat Girls. "The Streets of San Francisco", "Columbo", "Kojak", "Wild Wild West", "Police Story", "Mission Impossible", "Riptide", and "Perry Mason" all followed.
Some of her other television shows were "Ohara U.S. Treasury" opposite David Janssen and "Police Story". On "Days of Our Lives" she played the notorious blackmailer Lorraine Temple, and on "General Hospital" Thelma, and infamous madam from Florida. She also starred in "Mama's Family", "Brothers", "Mr. Belvedere". "Matlock" opposite Andy Griffith, and she recently Guest Starred in "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Lois & Clark" (the new Superman) and "Marilyn Is Alive" Starring as Marilyn Monroe.
Still a striking woman even in her 70s, Francine is a regular on the sitcom "Hot in Cleveland" (2010), in which she plays a British soap opera star opposite Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli and Betty White.