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The Burning Bed
Directed by Robert Greenwald
Written by Faith McNulty (book)
Rose Leiman Goldemberg
Starring Farrah Fawcett
Paul Le Mat
Richard Masur
Distributed by NBC network
Release date(s) October 8, 1984
Running time 95 mins

The Burning Bed is a non-fiction book by Faith McNulty about battered Dansville, Michigan, housewife Francine Hughes. After thirteen years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, James Berlin ("Mickey") Hughes, she set fire to the bed he was sleeping in on March 9, 1977. Mickey Hughes was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting inferno.


On the night of the fire, Hughes told her children to put their coats on and wait for her in the car. She then started the fire with gasoline poured around the bed Mickey Hughes was sleeping in. After the house had caught fire, Hughes drove with her three children to the local police station in order to confess.

Hughes was tried in Lansing, Michigan, and found by a jury of her peers to be not guilty by reason of insanity.

Having turned the book into a made-for-television movie, McNulty's screenplay, "The Burning Bed", premiered on NBC on October 8, 1984. The movie, directed by Robert Greenwald, starred Farrah Fawcett as Francine Hughes and Paul LeMat as Mickey Hughes.

Twenty-five years after the movie was released much has changed in the way domestic violence cases are handled. The Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) covered the story through individuals whose lives were affected by The Burning Bed. For more on the aftermath, see their project here: [1]


  • Farrah Fawcett as Francine Hughes
  • Paul Le Mat as James Berlin "Mickey" Hughes
  • Richard Masur as Aryon Greydanus
  • Grace Zabriskie as Flossie Hughes
  • Penelope Milford as Gaby
  • Christa Denton as Christy Hughes, age 12
  • James T.Callahan as Berlin Hughes
  • Gary Grubbs as District Attorney
  • David Friedman as Jimmy Hughes, age 10
  • David Andrews as Wimpy Hughes
  • Dixie K. Wade as Hazel Moran
  • Heather Rich as Christy age 6
  • Justin Gocke as Jimmy age 4
  • Elizabeth Lyn Fraser as Nicole Hughes
  • Jeremy Ross as Judge Hotchkiss

External links

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