Remembering a Popular Actress Who Became a Princess
Grace Kelly was a successful actress who appeared in many well received films in the 1950s. At the height of her popularity, she gave up her Hollywood career to become the Princess of Monaco.
She was a beautiful woman who demonstrated class and dignity. Her acting career was short, but it left a lasting impact on Hollywood. Some of her movies, such as To Catch a Thief and Rear Window, are considered classics today. She was a big box office draw, and a favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock.
This article is about the life of Grace Kelly, who left a lucrative acting career to become the Princess of Monaco.
Grace Kelly's Early Years and Acting Career
Grace was born and raised in Philadelphia. She was named after a sibling of her father's who died at a very young age. He was a hero in Pennsylvania, having won three Olympic gold medals in the sport of rowing.
Grace and her brother and sisters had a happy and prosperous upbringing. After retiring from rowing, Jack Kelly became a very successful business man. Her mother Margaret had the distinction of being the first female to lead the Physical Education department at the state's Ivy League university.
By the time she was a teenager, Grace knew she wanted to act. This did not please her parents at all. However, they decided they would not stand in her way. Grace was determined to pursue her dream. She acted in plays and preformed in dances while still in school.
After her high school graduation, she got small roles on tv and on the stage. Her beauty and acting skills soon attracted the attention of movie producers. Her screen debut occurred in 1951 in the film called Fourteen Hours. It was not well received, but did help to launch her movie career.
Grace Kelly's Movie Roles
Grace got her big break in 1952, when MGM signed her to a contract. This was quite an achievement, as she accomplished this in just a short time.
She quickly got a supporting role in the film Mogambo. Clark Gable and Ava Gardener, who were screen legends by this time, were also featured in the movie. Mogambo was a bit racy for its day, as Grace played a married woman who falls in love with the character played by Gable. It was filmed on location in Africa, which was also unusual in the 1950s. She won a Golden Globe, and was nominated for the Academy Award.
Grace was a favorite of Alfred Hitchcock. He directed her in three movies, Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief. All three were very successful at the box office. She was a major star by this time, and was highly sought after for starring roles.
For the most part, Grace played characters who were wealthy socialites. One departure from this was when she played the part of Georgie in The Country Girl. She starred opposite Bing Crosby, whose character was a singer whose career was ruined due to alcohol abuse. It was a very different type of role for Crosby as well. However, critics and audiences loved the film. It was one of the first to deal in an honest way with addiction and how it can ruin a family and a career.
The following year, Judy Garland was considered the favorite to win Best Actress. It was a big surprise when the award was given to Grace instead. Many people would probably agree it was well deserved. Earlier that year both women had won the Golden Globe.
Her final movie was a light hearted musical called High Society, where she was paired with Crosby again. Her well known duet with him was a tune written by Cole Porter called 'True Love'.
In just five years, Grace was featured in 11 movies, with most of them being starring roles. Many of these movies have become classics and are featured on Turner Classic Movies and other networks.
News Media Report of Grace Kelly Leaving America For Monaco
Marriage to Prince Rainier
In 1955, Grace was in Cannes for the annual film festival. She was asked to take part in a photo session at the Palace with the Prince. This event, of course, would be life changing for both of them.
The Prince was said to be smitten with the beautiful American from the first meeting. Grace was actually involved with someone else at the time. However, the two began to correspond with each other following this introduction.
Months later, Prince Rainier headed to the United States to meet with Grace and her family. Within three days, the couple were engaged. They hardly knew each other, although over time it would be proven to have been a good match.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grace_Kelly_MGM_photo.jpg
The press considered this to be the wedding event of the century. Years later, the same would be said of Charles and Diana. In any case, it was a media sensation.
Plans were made for the couple to wed first in a civil ceremony, followed by a Christian ceremony the following day. Her wedding dress took more than a month to make, and it required over 30 seamstresses to complete.
Thousands of well wishers turned up at New York Harbour to say goodbye to her, as she set sail on her voyage to Monco. When she arrived eight days later, an even bigger crowd was there to greet the future Princess.
The church ceremony was seen by about 30 million people on tv. Considering this was the mid 1950s, and many homes did not have tv at that time, it was considered a huge audience.
Just nine months later, Grace gave birth to her first child, Caroline. She hardly had any time to adjust to her role as Princess before becoming a mother. However, it almost seemed like she had been born to royal duties. From the beginning, she was committed to serving the people of Monaco, as well as being a devoted wife and mother.
Her son Prince Albert was born the following year, and Stephanie's birth was in 1965. She never forgot her American roots, and all of her children spent some time in the United States.
By most accounts, the marriage was a good one. The Prince refused to allow any of her movies to be shown in Monaco. Alfred Hitchcock and another director had wanted her to act again. but the Prince also said no to this. The people of Monaco also did not want her involved with Hollywood any longer. No one really knows how Grace felt about this, but she was beloved all through the years and fulfilled her royal duties for the rest of her life.
It was shocking and tragic when she died so suddenly in 1982, at the age of 52. She had a stroke while driving which caused her to lose control of the car.
Grace Kelly was known as a fashion icon, and was regularly named to the Best Dressed List. She absolutely loved flowers and gardens. Following her death, a garden with thousands of roses was dedicated to her in Monaco. A bronze statue in the garden also honors her memory.
She also had founded the Princess Grace Foundation, which is an organization that helps people with special needs. Following her death, her daughter continued to carry on her legacy, and is now President of the Foundation.