Frances Heflin

Mary Frances Heflin (September 20, 1920 June 1, 1994) was an American actress.

Frances Heflin
Mary Frances Heflin

(1920-09-20)September 20, 1920
DiedJune 1, 1994(1994-06-01) (aged 73)
OccupationActress - Motion picture, television, and broadway
Years active1941–1994
Spouse(s)Sidney Kaufman (September 9, 1944 - December 20, 1946)
Sol Kaplan (1947-1990; his death)

Early years

Heflin was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of Fanny Bleecker (née Shippey) and Dr. Emmett Evan Heflin, a dentist. She was the sister of Academy Award-winning actor Van Heflin.[1]


Heflin made her Broadway debut in her teens and was later featured in the original productions of The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), I Remember Mama (1944), and the U.S. premiere of Bertolt Brecht's Galileo on July 30, 1947 in Los Angeles.

Other Broadway credits included The Physicists, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Tempest, Sheppey, All in Favor, and The Walrus and the Carpenter.[2]

She starred in London's West End and in touring productions, including two shows opposite Farley Granger.


A life member of The Actors Studio,[3] Heflin had varying roles on many television series in the 1950s and 1960s, including small roles on Kraft Television Theatre and The Patty Duke Show. But her most notable and enduring role was of Mona Kane Tyler, mother of Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) on the soap opera All My Children. She played the role from 5 January 1970 until her death in June 1994.[4]


In 1992, when Heflin was first diagnosed with lung cancer, Mona was diagnosed with cancer on the show. Frances Heflin died in New York City in 1994 of lung cancer, aged 73. In August 1994, the soap aired a special episode, showcasing the best of Heflin's performances in the form of a memorial service for Mona.[5]


Frances Heflin was married briefly to filmmaker Sidney Kaufman, and then to film composer Sol Kaplan. She and Kaplan had three children: Jonathan Kaplan, a film director; Nora Heflin, a stage and film actress (who adopted her mother's maiden name); and Mady Kaplan, a television and soap opera actress.[5] Actress Marta Heflin was her niece.[6]


1970The Molly MaguiresMrs. Frazier
1973The Student TeachersMrs. Updegrove
1977Mr. BillionMrs. Apple Pie

Radio appearances

1947Cavalcade of AmericaThe School for Men[7]


  1. Parker, John (1952). Who's who in the theatre: Volume 17, Part 1. Pitman. p. 762.
  2. "Search for Frances Heflin". Playbill. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  3. Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  4. Frances Heflin at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. Frances Heflin on IMDb
  7. "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 42 (2): 32. Spring 2016.
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