“The First Lady of Television” and daughter-in-law of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born today in 1917. Now WE know em


Faye Margaret Emerson was born July 8, 1917 in Elizabeth, Louisiana.

She moved to San Diego with her mother and took up acting.

Faye married a naval aviator in 1938, however her dream was to become a Hollywood starlet.

Then with the onset of World War II, she began to appear in films produced by Warner Brothers.

Faye’s first role was in “Nine Lives are Not Enough,” followed by the 1942 film “Murder in the Big House.”

The movie industry was not conducive to a stable marriage and realized her marriage was over.


Faye worked for Howard Hughes, appearing in 1943 films “The Desert Song” and “Destination Tokyo.”

Then in August of 1943, President Roosevelt’s son Elliot visited the Hughes Aircraft Company to evaluate the proposed Hughes XF-11.

Even though Elliott Roosevelt was married, Howard Hughes introduced him to Faye Emerson.

The two linked up, strongly urged on by the generous efforts of Howard Hughes.

Faye later asserted that despite her doubts, Howard Hughes urged her to advance the relationship, and she could not defy Hughes.

Elliott divorced his second wife as Faye finalized her divorce in time for a December 1944 wedding.

Howard Hughes provided the funding and airplanes for Faye and Elliott’s well publicized wedding at the rim of the Grand Canyon.

The intelligent and mild-mannered Faye became very popular in the Roosevelt White House, and kept up a warm connection with Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1944, Faye appeared in the film “Between Two Worlds,” and then played one of her more memorable roles as Zachary Scott’s former with in “The Mask of Dimitrios.”

After Faye appeared in the 1945 film “Hotel Berlin,” and the death of President Roosevelt, Faye and her husband Elliott resided with Eleanor Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York.

She appeared in the 1946 film “Nobody Lives Forever, however, Faye’s second marriage began breaking up by 1947.

In 1948, Faye made a move to television and began acting in various series, including The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre, The Philco Television Playhouse, and Goodyear Television Playhouse.

She served as host for several short-lived talk shows and musical/variety shows, including Paris Cavalcade of Fashions .

But her depression increased and in December of 1948, Faye slit her wrists and was briefly hospitalized.

During January of 1950, Faye and Elliott Roosevelt obtained a divorce in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Faye rebounded with her own show titled, “The Faye Emerson Show” in 1950. Although her show lasted only one season, it gave her wide exposure because her time slot immediately followed the CBS Evening News and alternated weeknights with the popular The Perry Como Show.

According to author Gabe Essoe in The Book of TV Lists, on one of her show’s segments, her low-cut gown slipped and “she exposed her ample self coast to coast.”


In 1951, Faye married her third husband, band conductor Lyle “Skitch” Henderson.

After The Faye Emerson Show, she continued with TV and other talk shows, including Faye Emerson’s Wonderful Town (1951-1952), Author Meets the Critics (1952), and Faye and Skitch (1953).

Faye also made numerous guest appearances on various variety shows and game shows.

In fact, Faye Emerson hosted or appeared on so many talk shows—usually wearing evening gowns—and game shows, such as I’ve Got a Secret, that she became known as “The First Lady of Television.”

The glamorous Faye Emerson was so popular in the early 1950s that it was rumored that the newly created Emmy Award was named after her.

After Fayes third husband Skith got into some problems involving teen-age girls, she divorced him in 1957 in Acapulco, Mexico.

Former brother-in-law James Roosevelt wrote after her divorce that “after the incident he (Skitch) was dropped from Johny Carson’s Tonight show and his career went into eclipse… Faye didn’t have much luck in her married life, but she endures, and we think of her fondly.”

Soon Faye gave up the show business spotlight, moved to Spain and spent the rest of her life in seclusion with Anne Roosevelt, the divorced first wife of Elliott and James’s brother John A. Roosevelt.

Faye Emerson died March 9, 1983 at the age of sixty-five of stomach cancer in Deià, Majorca, a village favored by retired artists and entertainers.

Now WE know em




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