Good Old Days Newsletter
|In the Good Old Days||'Til Next Time|
In 1954, Grace Kelly took on the role of a nurse -- in real life, not in a movie or on television. What famous American received her "care"? See the answer below.
A Royal Anniversary
She was a commoner, and he was a prince. They met, fell in love and were married in a royal extravaganza. She later died tragically in a car crash.
No, I'm not talking about Princess Diana.
This princess began her life as the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and went on to be one of the best-loved actresses of the silver screen, despite having such a short career.
She was Grace Kelly, the Hollywood icon, and she was married to Prince Rainier of Monaco 56 years ago today, April 18, 1956.
Grace was born Nov. 12, 1929, in Philadelphia, the third of four children. She began acting as a child and attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts. Her mother was a former model, so it was only natural that the beautiful Grace would support herself with modeling jobs and television commercials while auditioning for plays on Broadway early in her career.
She began appearing in early television dramas in 1950 and landed several roles including the part of "Princess Alexandra" in the Actor's Studio drama "The Swan." She later (1956) reprised that role in the movie of the same name with actor Alec Guinness. Only two years after those first TV appearances, she broke onto the scene in a big fashion when she appeared opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon.
|This photograph of Grace Kelly with her 1954 Academy Award for Best Actress in The Country Girl may be found in a gallery of photos here.|
She earned a Golden Globe for her work in Mogambo (1953), and then won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance in The Country Girl (1954).
My favorite works of Grace Kelly would have to be when she was under the direction of the great Alfred Hitchcock. She acted in three of his films: Dial M for Murder (1954) with Ray Milland, Rear Window (also 1954) with Jimmy Stewart, and To Catch a Thief (1955) with Cary Grant. My wife, Janice's, favorite is the latter, and she periodically gets out our DVD of To Catch a Thief and enjoys it again.
Her last film, High Society (1956), featured a song, True Love, that later earned Grace and co-star Bing Crosby a gold record. That same year she received the Golden Globe Henrietta Award as the World Film Favorite Actress.
It was on a visit to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 that arrangements were made for Grace to meet Prince Rainier for a photo shoot at the palace in Monaco. After a courtship-by-correspondence, they married in 1956. After their marriage, Grace retired from acting. She considered an offer from Hitchcock to make another film in 1962, but public outcry in Monaco was so great that she ultimately turned down the offer.
I wish this fairy tale could have had a happily-ever-after ending, but alas, it didn't. While Grace and Rainier had three children -- Caroline, Albert and Stephanie -- the stories of infidelity and unhappiness on both sides of their marriage are notorious and scandalous. Grace, some biographers have said, felt trapped by her marriage and despondent over her lost career.
While I say that High Society was her final film, she did have a couple of film excursions after becoming Princess Grace. In 1977 she narrated The Children of Theatre Street, a documentary about the Kirov School of Ballet in Russia. She also was working on a new film, Rearranged, opposite Edward Meeks in 1982.
That all ended on September 14 of that same year. Grace suffered a stroke while driving on a mountain road with her daughter Stephanie. She never regained consciousness and died the next day at the age of 52. As a result of the accident that followed Grace's stroke, Princess Stephanie, only 17 at the time, received what were thought of as minor injuries. She later required extensive treatment for a spinal injury from the accident.
At the time of Grace's death, there was about one hour of Rearranged completed. It was never released at the order of Prince Rainier.
Prince Rainier grieved the loss of Grace and never remarried. He died in 2005.
Grace played nurse to then-Senator John F. Kennedy in 1954. She had been a friend of the Kennedy family for many years. When Kennedy was hospitalized for his chronic back problems, his wife, Jackie, sneaked Grace -- dressed as a nurse -- into his room as a surprise.
There is plenty of trivia on Princess Grace here.
Be sure to check out the site's extensive library of photographs!