Francesca James (born January 23, 1949) is an American actress, writer, singer, composer, director and producer. She grew up in Michigan where she began her professional career in the theater at the age of sixteen.
After studying theater at Carnegie-Mellon University, she moved to New York City where she worked in theater and, for several years, in daytime dramas including The Secret Storm, As the World Turns, One Life to Live and All My Children (for which she was awarded a Best Supporting Actress Emmy in 1980).
James made an impression playing the character of Marcy Wade on One Life to Live from 1970 to 1972 and was afterward asked to join the cast of All My Children as Kitty Shea, a dancer looking for her natural mother. She initially departed that program around its expansion to a full hour to become a singer. She later met the show's creator, Agnes Nixon and expressed an interest to rejoin the show. Her character, Kitty, had died but Ms. Nixon created the character of Kelly Cole, an addicted nightclub performer who was also Kitty's long-lost twin sister. She was given a chance to sing and even composed the song "Colored Lights" when another character, Tad Martin, was suffering from addiction.
James was written off All My Children in 1980 to pursue a career in directing. Her directing credits include All My Children and Loving. She then moved to Los Angeles as a producer, where she worked on General Hospital, Santa Barbara and Days of Our Lives. While she was producing General Hospital in 1994-95, the show was twice awarded the Daytime Emmy as "Outstanding Drama Series." In 1995, James returned to New York and All My Children, which earned its second "Outstanding Daytime Drama" with her as producer.
In 1998, James left the All My Children production team, but stayed with ABC Daytime in a consulting position and as the head of their writer development program for the next year.
Awards and nominations
Daytime Emmy Awards
- WIN (2005; Best Special Class Series; Starting Over)
- WIN (1998; Best Drama Series; All My Children)
- WIN (1995, 1996; Best Drama Series; General Hospital)
- WIN (1980; Best Supporting Actress; All My Children)
- NOMINATION (1997, 1999; Best Drama Series; All My Children)
- NOMINATION (1983–1985, 1987; Best Directing; All My Children)