Mia Farrow Biography

Mia Farrow, a true Hollywood princess, famous for romances with Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen.

Mia Farrow was born Maria de Lourdes Villiers Farrow on February 9, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of hard-living director John Farrow and the actress Maureen O'Sullivan, best known as "Jane" in the Tarzan films of the 1930's. Despite being one of the most notorious womanizers in Hollywood, John Farrow was a devout Catholic and the author of several critically acclaimed books on the Church.

Mia's childhood was interrupted by a bout with polio, from which she fully recovered. Her father died when she was a teenager, and she suddenly felt financially responsible for her large family. Her money problems were solved when she landed the role of heroine Alison MacKenzie on the primetime soap opera "Peyton Place," costarring with Ryan O'Neil. She moved on to film, and was cast by director Roman Polanski in "Rosemary's Baby," a horror film about a woman who gives birth to the child of Satan.

In the mid-Sixties, she met Frank Sinatra, who was thirty years her senior. Despite their age difference, they married in 1966, causing a scandal and becoming the butt of many jokes. Problems soon arose when Sinatra wanted Mia to give up her career and devote her life to travelling with him. Mia also had difficulty relating to his middle-aged, Las Vegas entourage. Like many people her age, she preferred marijuana to martinis. The marriage was over in a few years.

She met and fell in love with conductor Andre Previn while he was still married to his wife, Dory. Dory resisted divorce, and Mia gave birth to several of Previn's children before they were finally able to wed. They also adopted several children, most fatefully, a Korean orphan named Soon-Yi. The honeymoon didn't last long. Mia was bored living at Previn's country estate in England, and suspected him of infidelity when he traveled, which was almost constantly. They parted amicably in the late Seventies.

In 1982, Woody Allen cast Mia in his film, "A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy." The two fell in love, and began a very successful creative partnership. Allen tailored roles to fit Mia's ethereal beauty and quirky personality. She starred in "The Purple Rose of Cairo," the film many critics consider to be his masterpiece. Others, such as "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" were box office hits.

However, there were always problems in the Allen-Farrow relationship. Mia felt that Allen exploited her family for material, a charge that seems undeniable in the case of "Hannah and Her Sisters." Allen cast Mia's mother in the film, shot it in her apartment, and even used her children to play Hannah's children. The movie got raves from both critics and audiences, but the portrait was not flattering. O'Sullivan was caricatured as a washed-up show-biz floozy, and Mia was portrayed as an overbearing martyr.

In 1991, the situation exploded when Farrow found nude photographs of her teenage daughter, Soon-Yi, in Allen's apartment. She sent soon-Yi off to school, but, amazingly, continued to work with Allen on their latest film, "Husbands and Wives." Her hopes of a reconciliation were shattered when she found out that Allen and Soon-Yi were still in communication and planning a future together. In the huge scandal and legal battle that followed, Allen lost custody of two adopted children and the biological son he shared with Farrow. Allen and Soon-Yi married, and eventually adopted two daughters of their own.

Mia Farrow continues to work in film and television. She wrote a best-selling memoir, "What Falls Away." Mia devotes most of her time to her thirteen children, many of whom are physically handicapped. A fourteenth child, Tam, died at the age of 19 in 2000.

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