In the 1930s Fanchon Royer was famous for being one of the few female producers in Hollywood, but she got her start in the industry during the silent era as a journalist, publicist, and producer. She was born Fanchon Pauline Royer on January 21, 1902 in Des Moines, Iowa. Her parents, Elwood A. and Jessie Havens Royer, had a contentious relationship and they divorced in 1907, the same year as the birth of their second child, Robert (Royer 1960, 303). She had a peripatetic childhood, moving between her maternal grandmother’s house in Minneapolis, her father’s in Des Moines, and roaming with her restless mother, attending ten different schools in nine and a half years. She was allowed to remain with her father, a prosperous wholesale grocer, long enough to attend East Des Moines High School, where she acted in the senior play and served as the first female editor of the school’s monthly literary magazine, Quill (1960, 303).
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