Girls of Grindhouse: Mimsy Farmer

All mimsy were the borogoves

With delicate features and flaxen hair, this wholesome American girl paradoxically projected an aura of vulnerability and sexuality and became one of the most popular actresses in the 1970s Euro-cult era.

Mimsy Farmer was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 28th, 1945.  Her first film role came when she was just sixteen years old after a press agent spotted her and convinced her to be in pictures.  In an uncredited performance, she had one line as the "lobby girl" in the 1960's beach movie Gidgit Goes Hawaiian (1961).

Her first credited role came a couple of years later when she was cast as Claris Coleman in Delmer Daves's Spencer's Mountain (1963) alongside Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara and James McArthur.  She then had a small role in Harvey Hart's Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965) and even acted in a few scenes with screen legend Ann-Margret.  Along with these roles on the silver screen Mimsy did a lot of work in television, landing roles in iconic series like The Donna Reed Show, The Outer Limits, Lassie, and Perry Mason.

For the rest of the '60s Mimsy starred in sleazy, American exploitation biker flicks such as Hot Rods to Hell in 1967 with Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain, Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) and Daniel Holler's Devil's Angels (1967) and The Wild Racers (1968).  I like sleazy.

She essentially started her film career with these exploitation films, and exploitation is where she stayed - at least for the next decade and a half.  She would eventually branch out from biker films into other exploitation sub-genres like horror, poliziotteschi and giallo before finally finishing her acting career with appearances in crappy French television shows.  I'll get to that in a bit.

The film that would make her an international star hit theaters in 1969.  With a soundtrack by Pink Floyd, Barbet Schroder's romantic, hippie drug-odyssey More (1969) brought Mimsy to the attention of European film-goers and planted the seed of her future Euro-cult stardom, for she soon became the darling of the Italian exploitation directors.

After the release of More she went to Italy for a vacation where she met screenwriter Vincenzo Cerami who had been writing a part for her in a movie, and they fell in love.  Because of her new relationship, her growing poularity in Italy and her disillusionment with America's social policies and involvement in the Vietnam War, Mimsy decided to stay in Europe.  She packed up and moved to Rome to begin a new European phase of her film career which would last for nearly two decades.

First she was in the action-adventure film Strogoff (1970) and then the erotic mystery Road to Salina (1971) which was directed by George Lautner and referenced in Quentin Tarantino's 2004 film Kill Bill: Vol. 2 when Esteban tells The Bride that Bill's villa is on "the road to Salina."  The film was actually shot around the time of More but wasn't released until '71.  At this time she began working with the Italian giallo directors including a young Dario Argento who cast her in his 1971 murder mystery Four Flies on Grey Velvet .  With her appearance in this film, Mimsy solidified her standing as an international exploitation star and because of the film's success, she was introduced to a more mainstream audience.

In 1973 she starred in Francesco Barilli's surreal The Perfume of the Lady in Black as a traumatized industrial scientist, which is possibly her greatest performance.  Then in 1975 she put in another tour de force performance as a foresic pathologist in Armondo Crispino's Autopsy .  Mimsy's proudest role however came in 1980 when she worked with accomplished British actor Patrick Magee in one of his last films, Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat .

Amidst the heavy workload of the 1970s, Mimsy managed to take some time way from her film career to marry Vincenzo Cerami in 1974 and raise their daughter Aisha Cerami, who was born in 1970.  Aisha would eventually go on to become an actress herself.

In the mid 1980s the Italian film industry was beginning to slow from the hectic pace and success of the 1970s, and work for Mimsy also declined.   By 1986, with the demise of the Euro-cult and exploitation market she started taking roles in films that were... less than stellar, including the slasher Body Count (1986) and the short film Her Fragrant Emulsion (1987).  Also in 1986 her marriage to Vincenzo Cerami fell apart and the two divorced that year.  She and Aisha moved to France where Mimsy continued to do some work on French television.  Mimsy Farmer's last film role was in the French made for television movie Safari (1991), after which she decided to end her acting career and move on to a new phase in her life.

She married her third husband, French sculptor Francis Poirier in 1989 and they now live in Paris where Mimsy spends her time sculpting, painting and participating in the occasional theatre production. 

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