Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was a British-American actor. With his distinctive yet not quite placeable Mid-Atlantic accent, he was noted as perhaps the foremost exemplar of the debonair leading man: handsome, virile, charismatic and charming.
He was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. His popular classic films include The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959), and Charade (1963).
At the 42nd Academy Awards the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him with an Honorary Award "for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues".
Early life and career
Archibald Alexander Leach was born in Horfield, Bristol, United Kingdom in 1904 to Elsie Maria Kingdon (1877-1973) and Elias James Leach (1873-1935). An only child, he had a confused and unhappy childhood, attending Bishop Road Primary School. His father placed his mother in a mental institution when he was nine and his mother never overcame her depression after the death of a previous child. His father had told him that she had gone away on a "long holiday" and it was not until he was in his thirties that Leach discovered her alive, in an institutionalized care facility.
He was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918. He subsequently joined the "Bob Pender stage troupe" and travelled with the group to the United States as a stilt walker in 1920 at the age of 16, on a two-year tour of the country. He was processed at Ellis Island on July 28, 1920. When the troupe returned to the UK, he decided to stay in the US and continue his stage career.
Still under his birth name, he performed on the stage at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri, in such shows as Irene (1931); Music in May (1931); Nina Rosa (1931); Rio Rita (1931); Street Singer (1931); The Three Musketeers (1931); and Wonderful Night (1931).
After some success in light Broadway comedies, he went to Hollywood in 1931, where he acquired the name Cary Lockwood. He chose the name Lockwood after the surname of his character in a recent play called Nikki. He signed with Paramount Pictures, but while studio bosses were impressed with him, they were less than impressed with his adopted stage name. They decided that the name Cary was OK, but Lockwood had to go due to a similarity with another actor's name. It was after browsing through a list of the studio's preferred surnames, that Cary Grant was born. Grant chose the name because the initials C and G had already proved lucky for Clark Gable and Gary Cooper, two of Hollywood's then-biggest movie stars.
Having already appeared as leading man opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), his stardom was given a further boost by Mae West when she chose him for her leading man in two of her most successful films, She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel (both 1933). I'm No Angel was a tremendous financial success and, along with She Done Him Wrong, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, saved Paramount from bankruptcy. Paramount put Grant in a series of indifferent films until 1936, when he signed with Columbia Pictures. His first major comedy hit was when he was loaned to Hal Roach's studio for the 1937 Topper (which was distributed by MGM).
Grant starred in some of the classic screwball comedies, including Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn, His Girl Friday (1940) with Rosalind Russell, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) featuring Priscilla Lane, and Monkey Business (1952) opposite Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. Under the tutelage of director Leo McCarey, his role in The Awful Truth (1937) with Irene Dunne was the pivotal film in the establishment of Grant's screen persona. These performances solidified his appeal, and The Philadelphia Story (1940), with Hepburn and James Stewart, showcased his best-known screen persona: the charming if sometimes unreliable man, formerly married to an intelligent and strong-willed woman who first divorced him, then realized that he was—with all his faults—irresistible.
Grant was one of Hollywood's top box-office attractions for several decades. He was a versatile actor, who did demanding physical comedy in movies like Gunga Din (1939) with the skills he had learned on the stage. Howard Hawks said that Grant was "so far the best that there isn't anybody to be compared to him".
Grant was a favorite actor of Alfred Hitchcock, notorious for disliking actors, who said that Grant was "the only actor I ever loved in my whole life". Grant appeared in such Hitchcock classics as Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959). Biographer Patrick McGilligan wrote that, in 1965, Hitchcock asked Grant to star in Torn Curtain (1966), only to learn that Grant had decided to retire after making one more film, Walk, Don't Run (1966); Paul Newman was cast instead in Torn Curtain, opposite Julie Andrews.
In the mid-1950s, Grant formed his own production company, Grantley Productions, and produced a number of movies distributed by Universal, such as Operation Petticoat (1959), Indiscreet (1958), That Touch of Mink (co-starring with Doris Day, 1962), and Father Goose (1964). In 1963, he appeared opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade (1963). His last feature fim was Walk, Don't Run (1966) with Samantha Eggar.
Grant was once considered a maverick as he was the first actor to "go independent," effectively bucking the old studio system, which almost completely controlled what an actor could or could not do. In this way, Grant was able to control every aspect of his career. He decided which movies he was going to appear in, he had personal choice of the directors and his co-stars and at times, even negotiated a share of the gross, something unheard of at the time, but now common among A-list stars.
Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards in the 1940s. He was denied the Oscar throughout his active career because he was one of the first actors to be independent of the major studios. Grant received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. In 1981, he was accorded the Kennedy Center Honors.
Retirement and death
Although Grant had retired from the screen, he remained active in other areas. In the late 1960s, he accepted a position on the board of directors at Fabergé. By all accounts this position was not honorary as some had assumed, as Grant was regularly attending meetings and his mere appearance at a product launch would almost certainly guarantee its success. The position also permitted use of a private plane, which Grant could use to fly to see his daughter wherever her mother, Dyan Cannon, was working. He later joined the boards of Hollywood Park, Western Airlines (now Delta Air Lines), and MGM.
In the last few years of his life, Grant undertook tours of the United States in a one man show. It was called "A Conversation with Cary Grant", in which he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions. Grant was preparing for a performance at the Adler Theater in Davenport, Iowa on the afternoon of 29 November 1986 when he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. (He had also suffered a minor stroke in October 1984.) He died at 11:22 pm in St. Luke's Hospital.
Grant was married five times, and was dogged by rumors that he was bisexual. He wed Virginia Cherrill on February 10, 1934. She divorced him on March 26, 1935, following charges that Grant had hit her. He married Barbara Hutton and became a father figure to her son, Lance Reventlow. The couple were derisively nicknamed "Cash and Cary," although in an extensive prenuptial agreement Grant refused any financial settlement in the event of a divorce. After divorcing in 1945, they remained lifelong friends. Grant always bristled at the accusation that he married for money: "I may not have married for very sound reasons, but money was never one of them."
Grant married Betsy Drake on December 25, 1949. He appeared with her in two films. This would prove to be his longest marriage, ending on August 14, 1962. Drake introduced Grant to LSD, and in the early 60s he related how treatment with the hallucinogenic drug—legal at the time—at a prestigious California clinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism, and mysticism had proved ineffective.
He eloped with Dyan Cannon on July 22, 1965 in Las Vegas. Their daughter, Jennifer Grant, was born prematurely on February 26, 1966. He frequently called her his "best production", and regretted that he had not had children sooner. The marriage was troubled from the beginning and Cannon left him in December 1966, claiming that Grant flew into frequent rages and spanked her when she "disobeyed" him. The divorce, finalized in 1968, was bitter and public, and custody fights over their daughter went on for nearly ten years.
On 11 April 1981 Grant married long-time companion, British hotel PR agent Barbara Harris, who was 47 years his junior. They renewed their vows on their fifth wedding anniversary. In 2001, Harris married former All-American quarterback David Jaynes.
Grant was allegedly involved with costume designer Orry-Kelly when he first moved to Manhattan, and lived with Randolph Scott off and on for twelve years. Richard Blackwell wrote that Grant and Scott were "deeply, madly in love", and alleged eyewitness accounts of their physical affection have been published. Hedda Hopper and screenwriter Arthur Laurents have also alleged that Grant was bisexual, the latter writing that Grant "told me he threw pebbles at my window one night but was luckless". Alexander D'Arcy, who appeared with Grant in The Awful Truth, said he knew that he and Scott "lived together as a gay couple", adding: "I think Cary knew that people were saying things about him. I don't think he tried to hide it." The two men frequently accompanied each other to parties and premieres and were unconcerned when photographs of them cozily preparing dinner together at home were published in fan magazines.
Grant's widow, Barbara, has disputed that there was a relationship with Scott. When Chevy Chase joked about Grant being gay in a television interview, he sued him for slander; they settled out of court. However, he did admit in an interview that his first two wives had accused him of being homosexual. Betsy Drake commented: "Why would I believe that Cary was homosexual when we were busy fucking? Maybe he was bisexual. He lived 43 years before he met me. I don't know what he did".
Grant was a Republican, but did not think movie stars should publicly make political declarations. During his career some people considered him to be a left-winger, as he publicly condemned McCarthyism in 1953 and vocally supported his blacklisted friend Charlie Chaplin. Grant was also criticized by right-wing columnist Hedda Hopper for vacationing in the Soviet Union after filming Indiscreet (1958). He appeared to worsen the situation by remarking to an interviewer "I don't care what kind of government they have over there, I never had such a good time in my life". In June 1968 he made a public appeal for gun control following the assassination of his friend, Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy. After his retirement from acting, Grant was active in a number of Republican causes. He introduced First Lady Betty Ford to the audience at the Republican National Convention in 1976. He was also a vocal supporter of his friend Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.
Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American actress and Princess consort of Monaco. In April 1956, Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and became styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and was commonly referred to as Princess Grace.
After embarking on an acting career in 1948, at the age of 18, Grace Kelly appeared in New York City theatrical productions as well as in more than forty episodes of live drama productions broadcast during the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. In October 1953, with the release of Mogambo, she became a movie star, a status confirmed in 1954 with a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination as well as leading roles in five films, including The Country Girl, in which she gave a deglamorized, Academy Award-winning performance as Best Actress. Retiring from acting at 26 and entering upon her duties in Monaco, she and Prince Rainier became the parents of three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. She also retained her American roots, maintaining a dual U.S. and Monégasque citizenship. Her death, two months before her 53rd birthday, was the result of an automobile accident caused by cerebral hemorrhage. In June 1999, the American Film Institute ranked her #13 in their list of top female stars of American cinema.
A native of Philadelphia, Grace Kelly was born to John Brendan "Jack" Kelly (October 4, 1889–June 20, 1960), the son of Irish immigrants, and his wife, Margaret Katherine Majer (December 13, 1898–January 6, 1990), whose parents arrived in America from Germany. The newborn was named in memory of her father's sister who died at a young age. The family lived in a house at 3901 Henry Avenue in the East Falls neighborhood of the city. Before her marriage, Margaret Majer studied physical education at Temple University and later became the first woman to head the Physical Education Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Jack Kelly was a local hero as a triple Olympic-gold-medal-winning sculler, and subsequently became a self-made millionaire, with his brick business rising to prominence as the largest such enterprise on the East Coast. Registering as a Democrat, he obtained the party's nomination for mayor in the 1935 election and lost by the closest margin for any Democrat in the city's electoral history. In later years, he served on the Fairmount Park Commission and, during World War II, was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness.
When Grace was born, the Kellys already had two children, Margaret Katherine, known as Peggy (June 13, 1925–November 23, 1991) and John Brendan, Jr., known as Kell (May 24, 1927–May 2, 1985). Another daughter, Elizabeth Anne, known as Lizanne (June 25, 1933–November 24, 2009), was born three-and-a-half years after Grace.
At Margaret's christening in 1925, Jack Kelly's mother, Mary Costello Kelly, expressed her disappointment that the baby was not named Grace in memory of her last daughter who died young. Upon his mother's death the following year, Jack Kelly resolved that his next daughter would bear the name and, three years later, with the arrival of Grace Patricia in November 1929, his late mother's wish was honored.
Following in his father's athletic footsteps, John Jr. won in 1947 the James E. Sullivan Award as the country's top amateur athlete. Also, similar to his father's gold medals in rowing at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics, he competed in the sport at the 1948, 1952 and, finally the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne where, on November 27, seven months after his sister's Monaco wedding, he won a bronze medal, which he gave to her as gift of the occasion. He was also a city councilman and Philadelphia's Kelly Drive is named for him.
Two of Grace Kelly's uncles were prominent in the arts — her father's eldest brother, Walter C. Kelly (1873–1939), was a vaudeville star whose nationally-known act, The Virginia Judge, was filmed as a 1930 MGM short and a 1935 Paramount feature, and another older brother, George Kelly (1887–1974), estranged from the family due to his homosexuality, became renowned in the 1920s as a dramatist, screenwriter and director with a hit comedy-drama, The Show Off, in 1924–25, and was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his next play, Craig's Wife.
While attending Ravenhill Academy, a prestigious Catholic girls' school, Kelly modeled fashions at local social events with her mother and sisters. In 1942, at the age of twelve, she played a lead in Don't Feed the Animals, a play produced by the East Falls Old Academy Players. During high school, she acted and danced, graduating in May 1947 from Stevens School, a small private institution in a mansion on Walnut Lane in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown. Her graduation yearbook listed her favorite actress as Ingrid Bergman; her favorite actor, Joseph Cotten; her favorite summer resort, Ocean City; her favorite drink, a black and white chocolate milkshake; her favorite piece of classical music, Debussy's "Clair de Lune"; her favorite orchestra, Benny Goodman; and her favorite female singer, Jo Stafford. Written in the "Stevens' Prophecy" section was, “Miss Grace P. Kelly - a famous star of stage and screen.”
Because of low mathematics scores, Kelly was rejected by Bennington College in July 1947. To the dismay of her mother, Kelly decided to pursue her dreams of a career in the theater. For an audition into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York she used a scene from her uncle's 1923 play, The Torch-Bearers. Although the school already selected its semester quota, Kelly wangled an interview with the school's admission officer, Emile Diestel. Alumni of the school include Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Gene Tierney, and Spencer Tracy. Living in Manhattan's Barbizon Hotel for Women, a prestigious establishment which barred men from entering after 10 p.m., and working as a model to support her studies, Kelly began her first term the following October. A diligent student, she would use a tape recorder to practice and perfect her speech. Her early acting pursuits led her to the stage, most notably a Broadway debut in Strindberg’s The Father alongside Raymond Massey. At 19, her graduation performance was in The Philadelphia Story, a role with which she would also end her film career, in the MGM musical film version High Society.
Television producer Delbert Mann cast Kelly as Bethel Merriday, an adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel of the same name, in her first of nearly sixty live television programs. Success on television eventually brought her a role in a major motion picture. Kelly made her film debut in a small role in the 1951 film Fourteen Hours. She was noticed during a visit to the set by Gary Cooper, who subsequently starred with her in High Noon. Cooper was charmed by Kelly and said that she was "different from all these sexballs we've been seeing so much of." However, her performance in Fourteen Hours was not noticed by critics, and did not lead to her receiving other film acting roles. She continued her work in the theater and on television.
She was performing in Colorado’s Elitch Gardens when she received a telegram from Hollywood producer Stanley Kramer, offering her a co-starring role opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon. According to one biographer, Wendy Leigh, at age 22 Kelly had an off-set romance with both Cooper and director Fred Zinnemann.
Actress for MGM
To audition for the role of Linda Nordley in MGM's production of Mogambo, the studio had Kelly flown to Los Angeles in September 1952. Gene Tierney was initially cast in the role, but due to emotional problems dropped out at the last minute. Kelly won the role, along with a 7-year contract, although she was hired at a relatively low salary of $850 a week. Kelly signed the deal under two conditions: First, one out of every two years, she have time off to work in the theater and second, that she be able to live in New York City, at the now-landmarked Manhattan House, at 200 E 66th Street. Just two months later, in November, the cast arrived in Nairobi to begin production. She later told Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper, "Mogambo had three things that interested me. John Ford, Clark Gable, and a trip to Africa with expenses paid. If Mogambo had been made in Arizona, I wouldn't have done it." The role garnered her a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
After the success of Mogambo, Kelly starred in a TV play The Way of an Eagle, with Jean-Pierre Aumont before being cast in the film adaptation of Frederick Knott's Broadway hit Dial M for Murder. Alfred Hitchcock was slated to direct the film and would become one of Kelly's last mentors. Hitchcock also took full advantage of Kelly's virginal beauty on-camera. In a scene in which her character Margot Wendice is nearly murdered, a struggle breaks out between her and her would-be-killer Tony Dawson as she kicks her legs and flails her arms attempting to fight off her killer. Dial M for Murder opened in theaters in May 1954 to both positive reviews and box-office triumph.
Kelly began filming scenes for her next film, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, in January 1954 with William Holden. The role of Nancy, the cordially wretched wife of naval officer Harry (played by Holden), proved to be a minor but pivotal part of the story. Released in January 1955, The New Yorker wrote of Kelly and Holden's unbridled onscreen chemistry, taking note of Kelly's performance of the part "with quiet confidence."
In committing to the role of Lisa Fremont in Rear Window, Kelly unhesitatingly turned down the opportunity to star alongside Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, which won her replacement, Eva Marie Saint, an Academy Award. "All through the making of Dial M for Murder, he Hitchcock sat and talked to me about Rear Window all the time, even before we had discussed my being in it." Much like the shooting of Dial M for Murder, Kelly and Hitchcock shared a close bond of humor and admiration. Sometimes, however, minor strifes would emerge on set concerning the wardrobe:
“ At the rehearsal for the scene in Rear Window when I wore a sheer nightgown, Hitchcock called for Edith Head. He came over here and said, 'Look, the bosom is not right, we're going to have to put something in there.' He was very sweet about it; he didn't want to upset me, so he spoke quietly to Edith. When we went into my dressing room and Edith said, 'Mr. Hitchcock is worried because there's a false pleat here. He wants me to put in falsies.' Well, I said, 'You can't put falsies in this, it's going to show and I'm not going to wear them.' And she said, 'What are we going to do?' So we quickly took it up here, made some adjustments there, and I just did what I could and stood as straight as possible - without falsies. When I walked out onto the set Hitchcock looked at me and at Edith and said, 'See what a difference they make?'
Kelly's new co-star, James Stewart, was highly enthusiastic about working with her. The role of Lisa Fremont, a wealthy Manhattan socialite and model, was unlike any of the previous women which she had played. For the very first time, she was an independent career woman. Stewart played a speculative photographer with a broken leg, bound to a wheelchair, who is curiously reduced to observing the happenings of tenants outside his window. Kelly is not seen until twenty-two minutes into the movie. Just as he had done earlier, Hitchcock provided the camera with a slow-sequenced silhouette of Kelly, along with a close-up of the two stars kissing and finally lingering closely on her profile. With the film's opening in October 1954, Kelly was again praised. Variety's film critic remarked on the casting, commenting about the "earthy quality to the relationship between Stewart and Miss Kelly. Both do a fine job of the picture's acting demands."
Kelly won the role of Bing Crosby's long-suffering wife, Georgie Elgin, in The Country Girl, after a pregnant Jennifer Jones bowed out. Already familiar with the play, Kelly was desperate for the part. This meant that, to MGM's dismay, she would have to be loaned out to Paramount. Kelly threatened the studio that she would pack her bags and leave for New York for good. The vanquished studio caved in, and the part was hers.
The film also paired Kelly again with William Holden. The wife of a washed-up alcoholic singer, played by Crosby, Kelly's character is emotionally torn between two lovers. Holden willfully begs Kelly to leave her husband and be with him. A piece of frail tenderness manages to cloak itself inside of her, even after having been demonized by Crosby, describing "a pathetic hint of frailty in a wonderful glowing man. That appeals a lot to us. It did to me. I was so young. His weaknesses seemed touching and sweet, they made me love him more."
As a result of her performance in The Country Girl, Kelly was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her main competitor for the prize was Judy Garland's much heralded comeback performance in A Star Is Born; playing not only the part of an up and coming actress-singer, but also ironically, the wife of an alcoholic movie star. Although Kelly won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best actress for her performances in her three big movie roles of 1954 (Rear Window, Dial M For Murder, and The Country Girl), she and Garland both received Golden Globe Awards for their respective performances.
By the following March, the race between Kelly and Garland for the Oscar was very close. On the night of the Academy Awards telecast, March 30, 1955, Garland was unable to attend due to the fact she was in the hospital just having given birth to her son, Joseph Luft. However, she was rumored to be the odds-on favorite, so NBC Television cameras were set up in her hospital room so that if her name was announced as the winner, Garland could make her acceptance speech live from her hospital bed. However, when William Holden announced Kelly as the winner, the technicians immediately dismantled the cameras without saying one word to Garland. Garland was reported not to have been very gracious about Kelly's win saying in later years, "I didn't appreciate Grace Kelly taking off her makeup and walking away with my Oscar."
In April 1954, Kelly flew to Colombia for a brief 10-day shoot to film her next project, Green Fire, with Stewart Granger. Kelly plays Catherine Knowland, a coffee plantation owner. In Granger's autobiography he writes of his distaste for the film's script, while Kelly later confided to Hedda Hopper, "It wasn't pleasant. We worked at a pathetic village - miserable huts and dirty. Part of the crew got shipwrecked ... It was awful." Green Fire was a critical and box-office failure.
After the back-to-back shooting of Rear Window, Toko-Ri, Country Girl and Green Fire, Kelly flew to France, along with department store heir Bernard "Barney" Strauss, to begin work on her third and final film for Alfred Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief. Kelly and her co-star, Cary Grant, developed a mutual admiration. The two cherished their time together for the rest of their lives. Years later, when asked to name his all-time favorite actress, Cary replied without hesitation: "Well, with all due respect to dear Ingrid Bergman, I much preferred Grace. She had serenity." The fireworks scene has been the subject of much commentary, as Hitchcock subliminally peppers an undertone of sexual innuendo during the sequence.
Kelly headed the U.S. delegation at the Cannes Film Festival in April 1955. While there, she was invited to participate in a photo session at the Palace of Monaco with Prince Rainier III, the ruling sovereign of the principality. After a series of delays and complications, Kelly met the prince in Monaco.
Upon returning to America, Kelly began work on The Swan, in which she coincidentally portrayed a princess. Meanwhile, she was privately beginning a correspondence with Rainier. In December, Rainier came to America on a trip officially designated as a tour, although it was speculated that Rainier was actively seeking a wife. A 1918 treaty with France stated that if Rainier did not produce an heir, Monaco would revert to France. At a press conference in the United States, Rainier was asked if he was pursuing a wife, to which he answered "No." A second question was posed, asking, "If you were pursuing a wife, what kind would you like?" Rainier smiled and answered, "I don't know — the best." Rainier met Kelly and her family, and after three days, the prince proposed. Kelly accepted and the families began preparing for what the press called "The Wedding of the Century." Kelly and her family had to provide Prince Rainier with dowry of $2,000,000 USD in order for the marriage to go ahead. The religious wedding was set for April 19, 1956. News of the engagement was a sensation even though it meant the possible end to Kelly's film career. Industry professionals realized that it would have been impractical for her to continue acting and wished her well. Alfred Hitchcock had quipped that he was, "very happy that Grace has found herself such a good part."
Preparations for the wedding were elaborate. The Palace of Monaco was painted and redecorated throughout. On April 4, 1956, leaving from Pier 84 in New York Harbor, Kelly, with her family, bridesmaids, poodle, and over eighty pieces of luggage boarded the ocean liner SS Constitution for the French Riviera. Some 400 reporters applied to sail, though most were turned away. Thousands of fans sent the party off for the eight day voyage. In Monaco, more than 20,000 people lined the streets to greet the future princess consort.
That same year, MGM released Kelly's final film, the musical comedy High Society, (based on the studio's 1940 comedy Philadelphia Story). One highlight of the film was when Kelly sang a duet with Bing Crosby, "True Love," with words and music by Cole Porter.
Princess of Monaco
Kelly's wedding was a 40-minute civil ceremony that took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956, and was broadcast across Europe. To cap the ceremony, the 142 official titles (counterparts of Rainier's) that Kelly acquired in the union were formally recited. The event concluded the following day with the church ceremony at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Kelly's wedding dress, designed by MGM's Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The 600 guests included Hollywood stars David Niven and his wife Hjördis, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, the crowned head Aga Khan, and Conrad Hilton. Frank Sinatra initially accepted an invitation but at the last minute decided otherwise, afraid of upstaging the bride on her wedding day. The ceremony was watched by an estimated 30 million people on television. The prince and princess left that night for their seven-week Mediterranean cruise honeymoon on Rainier's yacht, Deo Juvante II.
As Princess of Monaco, she founded AMADE Mondiale, a Monaco-based non-profit organization eventually recognized by the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization. According to UNESCO's website, AMADE promotes and protects the "moral and physical integrity" and "spiritual well-being of children throughout the world, without distinction of race, nationality or religion and in a spirit of complete political independence." Her daughter Princess Caroline carries the torch for AMADE today in her role as President.
Children and family
Princess Grace gave birth to the couple's first child, Princess Caroline nine months and four days after the wedding. 21 guns announced the event, a national holiday was called, gambling ceased, and free champagne flowed throughout the principality. A little over a year later, 101 guns announced the birth of their second child, Prince Albert. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace had three children:
Caroline Louise Marguerite, Princess of Hanover, born January 23, 1957, and now heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco
Albert II, Prince of Monaco, born March 14, 1958, current ruler of the Principality of Monaco
Princess Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth, born February 1, 1965.
After the wedding, Prince Rainier banned the screening of Kelly's films. Hitchcock offered Kelly the lead in his film Marnie in 1962. She was eager, but public outcry in Monaco against her involvement in a film that portrayed her as a kleptomaniac made her reconsider and ultimately reject the project. Director Herbert Ross attempted to lure Princess Grace for his 1977 film The Turning Point, but Prince Rainier quashed the idea. Later that year, Kelly returned to the arts in a series of poetry readings on stage and the narration of the documentary The Children of Theater Street. She also narrated ABC's made-for-television film The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966).
As princess, Kelly was active in improving the arts institutions of Monaco, and eventually the Princess Grace Foundation was formed to support local artisans. She was one of the first celebrities to support and speak on behalf of La Leche League, an organization that advocates breastfeeding; she planned a yearly Christmas party for local orphans, and dedicated a Garden Club that reflected her love of flowers.
In 1981, the Prince and Princess celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
Kelly was the object of the tabloids and gossip throughout her life. Her love life was a particular focus of speculation. Stories of affairs circulated from her first major role in motion pictures and eventually included the names of almost every major actor at the time.
During the making of Dial M for Murder, her co-star Ray Milland attempted to seduce her. Milland was 22 years older than she, but just as charming and suave as he was when she swooned over him years earlier as a teenager watching The Lost Weekend. Milland was married to Muriel Milland for thirty years, and the couple had a son. Milland assured Kelly that he had left his wife, which she would later find out to have been a lie. Muriel Milland was one of the most popular wives in Hollywood and had the support of many friends, including gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. After Muriel Milland found out about the alleged affair, Kelly was branded a homewrecker. After Kelly gave a press interview explaining her side of the story the town seemed to lose interest in the scandal. It was never proven that Kelly actually succumbed to Milland's advances; in fact, her friends at the time, such as Rita Gam, believed she had little interest in him.
Russian fashion designer Oleg Cassini, having just seen Mogambo earlier that evening, encountered Grace Kelly having dinner at Le Veau d'Or. Formerly married to actress Gene Tierney, the original choice to play Mogambo's Linda Nordley, Cassini was raised in Florence and had a cultured air with an abundance of charm and courtliness. He became just as captivated by Kelly in person as he had been while watching her in the film and soon piqued her curiosity by sending her a daily bouquet of red roses. His persistence paid off when she accepted his invitation to lunch, with the provision that her eldest sister, Peggy, join them. Ultimately, her relationship with Cassini foundered on her parents' refusal to accept a divorced Protestant as a future son in law.
In a 1960s interview, Kelly explained how she had grown to accept the scrutiny as a part of being in the public eye, but expressed concern for her children’s exposure to such relentless scandalmongering. After her death, celebrity biographers chronicled the rumors with renewed enthusiasm.
Friendship with Josephine Baker
In 1951, the newly famous Kelly took a bold stand against a racist incident involving Black American expatriate singer/dancer Josephine Baker, when the Sherman Billingsley's Stork Club in New York refused Baker as a customer. Kelly, who was dining at the club when this happened, was so disgusted that she rushed over to Baker (whom she had never met), took her by the arm, and stormed out with her entire party, vowing never to return (and she never did). The two women became close friends after that night. A significant testament to their close friendship was made evident when Baker was near bankruptcy, and was offered a villa and financial assistance by Kelly (who by that time had become The Princess of Monaco) and her husband Rainier III of Monaco. The princess also encouraged Baker to return to performing and financed Baker's triumphant comeback in 1975, attending the opening night's performance. When Baker died, the Princess secured her burial in Monaco.
On September 13, 1982, while driving with her daughter Stéphanie to Monaco from their country home, Princess Grace suffered a stroke, which caused her to drive her Rover P6 off the serpentine road down a mountainside. Grace was pulled alive from the wreckage, but had suffered serious injuries and was unconscious. She died the following day at the Monaco Hospital (renamed Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace – The Princess Grace Hospital Centre in English – in 1958), having never regained consciousness. It was initially reported that Princess Stéphanie suffered only minor bruising, although it later emerged that she had suffered a serious cervical fracture. It was rumored that Princess Grace had been driving on the same stretch of highway that had been featured in her 1955 movie To Catch a Thief, but her son has always denied it.
She was buried in the Grimaldi family vault on September 18, 1982, after a requiem mass in Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco. The 400 guests at the service included representatives of foreign governments and of present and past European royal houses. Diana, Princess of Wales represented the British royal family. Cary Grant was among the members of the film community in attendance. Nearly 100 million people worldwide watched her funeral. Prince Rainier, who did not remarry after Kelly's death, was buried alongside her following his death in 2005.
In his eulogy, James Stewart said:
“ You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I'll miss her, we'll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace.
Photograph is from the 1955 moive, To Catch A Thief and was Hand Oil Tinted by artist Margaret A. Rogers.