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Frank Beardsley dies at 97


Brock
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The real-life Frank Beardsley has died at 97, according to the Press Democrat:

 

Frank Beardsley, the resourceful and military-disciplined father of 20 whose blended family inspired a book and two Hollywood movies titled “Yours, Mine and Ours,” died Tuesday at a Santa Rosa hospital.

Beardsley, who co-raised his family in a great, orderly house in Carmel and retired to the Valley of the Moon in the mid-1980s, was 97.

His third wife, Dorothy Beardsley of Kenwood, was at his bedside when he died at Memorial Hospital. Though his name and story were known by millions, she said, the devoted golfer and Roman Catholic she married in Sonoma County 12 years ago “led a private life.”

Frank Beardsley's life became anything but that when, as a 45-year-old widowed father of 10 children, he married Helen North, a widowed mother of 8, in September of 1961. They adopted each other's children and gave birth to two more.

The first movie about their family, made in 1968 and starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, suggested that the Beardsley kids and the North kids initially resisted the marriage.

Mere fiction, said Susie Pope of Napa, whose was 8 when her dad married Helen North.

“In real truth,” said Pope, who runs a Napa Valley bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Ken, “all of us kids were so excited about the union of our parents that we actually got them to bump up their wedding date by several months, because we couldn't wait that long.”

The wedding produced a Catholic family with 18 children the youngest only a few months old and oldest 15 years. With the births of two new arrivals, there were 12 girls, 8 boys.

 

MORE AT TRHE FULL OBIT: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20121213/ARTICLES/121219767/1052/obits?Title=Obituary-Frank-Beardsley-s-blended-family-of-20-kids-inspired-book-Hollywood-movies

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Here's the passage:

 

In 1965, Helen North Beardsley wrote a book about her life, the death of her first husband, a Navy pilot, and the adventure of bringing up 20 children. “Who Gets the Drumstick” was published by Random House.

Lucille Ball, the actress best known for her TV show, ”I Love Lucy,” read the book and loved it. Her Desilu Studios bought the rights to it, and she took a trip to Carmel.

It was a thrill of all the Beardsley kids' lives to meet and get to know the actress, who brought some writers into the house and set them to the task of writing a movie script.

“Yours, Mine and Ours” opened in Monterey. Pope remembered, “We had the premiere dinner at the Pebble Beach Lodge, where Lucy was staying.”

All 22 members of the Beardsley clan dined with star that night. “She would throw her head back and cackle in her classic Lucy style and we were all enthralled,” Pope said.

Ball also treated the entire family to a VIP, five-day trip to Disneyland. Pope said, “I think she saw the sacrifice that Mom and Dad were making and she wanted to supplement that somehow.”

 

What did Renee Russo ever do for 'em?! :P LOL

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