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Mia Farrow: Stories Of Her Unbelievable Love Life

Icons | February 9, 2020

An early portrait of American actress Mia Farrow, ca.1960s. (Photo by Camerique/Getty Images)

Actress Mia Farrow brings to mind Rosemary's Baby, Frank Sinatra, the Maharishi and Woody Allen. She is as famous for stories of her personal life as she his for her on-screen performances. Farrow's loves, her frustrations, and her search for meaning have all happened in public, which may have dampened her acting career but increased her celebrity.

Mia Farrow Was Born Into Celebrity

A 1939 newspaper clipping shows John Farrow, Maureen O'Sullivan and their baby Michael Farrow on the eve of World War II. Source: lib.cua.edu

From birth, Mia Farrow was surrounded by entertainers. Her parents were the Oscar-winning screenwriter and director John Farrow and actress Maureen O'Sullivan, who played Jane opposite Johnny Weissmuller in six Tarzan movies. Farrow's godparents were George Cukor, one of the most prominent directors of Hollywood's Golden Age, and the widely published (and consequently powerful) gossip columinst Louella Parsons.

Young Mia Farrow Was Quarantined During A Polio Outbreak

Farrow's fantastic acting career has at times been overshadowed by her personal life (quizzclub)

Farrow started her acting career at the exceedingly young age of two in the documentary Unusual Occupations. Then, two years later, she got swept up in a large polio outbreak. For three full weeks, the nine-year-old Farrow was forced into quarantine. She has said that the isolation marked “the end of [her] childhood.” Thankfully, many good times were ahead for the future star but tragedy has sadly trailed Farrow for much of her life. 

Darkest Before Dawn

The large Farrow brood (wikipedia)

While we mentioned good times were ahead, unfortunately for Farrow, they didn’t come in her teens. After her brother Michael tragically died in an airplane crash, her father began drinking heavily, which put a strain on the entire family, to say the least. Eventually, the heavy drinking caught up to Farrow’s father and he died when she was 17.

Maureen O'Sullivan went to work on Broadway productions to support the family. When Farrow blossomed into a beautiful young woman, she began modeling to help the family make ends meet. Farrow got her first big break on the primetime soap opera, Peyton Place. Regrettably, fame didn’t fix things for her and like many young celebrities, it was difficult for her to handle.

“I didn’t take to it well,” Farrow told Elle. “You can call it pretty. Call it whatever you want, but in fact it was grotesque. When I see a very young person dealing with sudden fame now, I say a prayer for them that they don’t get lost.”

Love But At A Price

True love warped by Sinatra's view of a woman's place (pinterest)

At 21, Farrow met and fell in love with Frank Sinatra, who was 50 at the time. The love they felt for each other was real, but Sinatra was old school. Ol’ Blue Eyes firmly believed that a wife’s place was at home, not acting. So Farrow left acting and for two years played the role of a dutiful housewife.

Of course, she got bored with domestics and agreed to take the title role in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Sinatra was furious but kept a lid on his anger until Polanski’s film began running past schedule. Sinatra planned on casting his wife in his movie, The Detective. But when Polanski’s film ran overtime, Sinatra decided he'd had enough and served Farrow with divorce papers on the Rosemary's Baby set. He cast Jacqueline Bisset in Farrow’s place. 

Over But Not Finished

Farrow beautiful with any haircut (vogue)

Despite the sudden end to their marriage, Sinatra always held a candle for Farrow and vice versa. In fact, if Farrow hadn’t gotten the acting itch, they may have stayed together for many years. Farrow told Vanity Fair, “In terms of what Frank would say, I shouldn’t have done any movies. He’s on the record saying, ‘I’m a pretty good provider. I can’t see why a woman would want to do anything else.’ That’s the way men thought, and you felt pretty guilty wanting something for yourself.” Farrow went on to say, “Then he came back, over and over and over and over. I mean, we never really split up.”

There’s even a very good chance that one of her sons, Ronan, is actually Sinatra’s son. After her marriage with Woody Allen exploded, and Farrow literally feared for her life, Sinatra sent a heavy to assuage her fears.

She told the mysterious Sinatra heavy that she was afraid Allen would use his Teamster connections to have her killed. He responded, “The Teamsters? Don’t worry about it. We own the Teamsters.” He also gave her a list of numbers to call if she ever felt in danger. Farrow has also expressed her feelings for Sinatra, saying she "loved him 'til the day he died and beyond."

Love To Spare

Farrow and Previn, the start of love of family (toronto.citynews.ca)

After her divorce from Sinatra, Farrow began acting again to great success. However, her love life continued in chaotic fashion. She started dating composer Andre Previn who, at the time, was still married to singer-songwriter Dory Previn. Farrow became pregnant by Previn in 1969; Andre left his wife and they were divorced soon after Farrow gave birth to twin boys. That spawned the infamous song “Beware of Young Girls” by Dory Previn. 

Mia Farrow and Andre Previn's marriage lasted nine years, and during this time Farrow’s motherly instincts blossomed. The couple had three children of their own and adopted another three. In the end, Farrow would continue to adopt children from extremely difficult backgrounds, eventually becoming the mother to 15 total.

The Most Sordid Affair And Philanthropy

Mia Farrow, a mother to many (pinterest)

Obviously, just about everyone knows the incredibly seedy affair that took place between Woody Allen and more than one of Farrow’s adopted children. More words have been written on the terrible ins and outs of sexual abuse and alleged heinous acts by the famous director.

In the end, the judge deemed, “The credible testimony of Ms. Farrow, Dr. Coates, Dr. Leventhal and Mr. Allen does, however, prove that Mr. Allen's behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her."

Farrow, today, concentrates much of her time on philanthropy. She’s a UNICEF ambassador and has undertaken more than 20 missions to Africa, with a focus on Darfur, Sudan, and nearby Chad.

Tags: Frank Sinatra | Love Life | Mia Farrow | What Did She Do?... | Woody Allen

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Kellar Ellsworth

Writer

Kellar Ellsworth was born and raised in Hawaii. He is an avid traveler, surfer and lover of NBA basketball. He wishes he could have grown up in the free love era!