The Burning Bed

A non-fiction book by Faith McNulty about a battered Dansville, Michigan housewife, Francine Hughes. After thirteen years of domestic abuse, she set her husband aflame while he slept on March 9, 1977.

The location of the house that was burned down is still visible in Dansville to this day. Hughes told her children to put on their coats and wait in the car. She then started a fire with gasoline poured around her sleeping husband's bed. The house burst into flames as she and the children drove to the local police station to confess.

After going to trial in Lansing, Hughes was found not guilty by reason of insanity by a jury of her peers. The book by Faith McMulty was made into a TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett, which aired on the NBC network in 1984. Lyn Hardy, a folk singer, wrote a song, entitled The Ballad of Francine Hughes about the same event. It subsequently went platinum.

Fawcett achieved critical praise and her first of three Emmy Award nominations as a serious actress for her role as a battered wife in the 1984 television movie The Burning Bed.

The Burning Bed was a critical success for Fawcett. The television movie was the first to have a 1.800 number for victims of abuse hotline as the movie concluded. It was also one of the highest watched television movies.