Frances Fisher

My 5 Minutes with the President

Frances Fisher has enjoyed a long career as a respected stage, screen and television performer. At a young age, deciding to follow her interest in theater, she moved to New York, where she enjoyed a 14-year stage career in regional and off-Broadway productions. During this time, she also became involved with the Actors Studio, where she studied with the legendary Lee Strasberg. 

Fisher segued into screen work via television, getting her start with regular roles on a number of soap operas, including the legendary “The Edge of Night” and “Guiding Light.” 

Her numerous theater credits include, most recently, appearing in the last play written by Arthur Miller, “Finishing the Picture,” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and “The Cherry Orchard” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2006. 

Highlights of her film career include “Unforgiven,” “Titanic” and “House of Sand and Fog.” She has two films currently in theaters: “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “The Roommate.” 

Frances is a proud mother to daughter Francesca Ruth Fisher-Eastwood and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?
FRANCES FISHER: Clemency for women in prison for defending themselves against an abuser. There is no exact data on how many of the crimes women have been convicted of somehow relate to the women’s experiences of abuse in their families, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools or relationships. Nevertheless, it is clear that the state often incarcerates women for actions directly or indirectly relating to abuse against the woman. For example: When girls and young women run away from home to escape abuse and turn to theft and prostitution to support themselves; when a woman kills or seriously injures her batterer by using physical force to defend herself against an attack; when a batterer commits a crime in the presence of a woman and she is considered an accomplice. Often, women are convicted based on accountability, even though they were coerced into assisting the main perpetrator. When a batterer attacks or kills the survivor’s child and the survivor is considered accountable for her “failure to protect” the child. When a survivor begins to use illegal drugs to medicate her pain. When an abusive boyfriend or pimp forces a woman into prostitution. In many of these cases, the abuse perpetrated by the batterer against the defendant is not adequately considered at trial or sentencing.

RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be?
FF: You have got to stop advocating nuclear energy; have courage and lead our country to go full steam ahead with sun, wind and water power. 

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?
FF: Do you want to be a one-term president?

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?
FF: Never say never.

Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization.