Date of Birth : 12 November 1929, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death : 14 September 1982, Monaco (injuries from car accident)
Birth Name : Grace Patricia Kelly
Nickname : Graciebird Gracie
Height : 5' 7" (1.70 m)
On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age.
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After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace struck out on her own, heading to New York's bright lights to try her luck there. Grace worked some as a model and made her debut on Broadway in 1949. She also made a brief foray into the infant medium of television. Not content with the work in New York, Grace moved to Southern California for the more prestigious part of acting -- motion pictures. In 1951, she appeared in her first film entitled Fourteen Hours (1951) when she was 22.
It was a small part, but a start nonetheless. The following year she landed the role of Amy Kane in High Noon (1952), a western starring Gary Cooper and Lloyd Bridges which turned out to be very popular. In 1953, Grace appeared in only one film, but it was another popular one. The film was Mogambo (1953) where Grace played Linda Nordley.
The film was a jungle drama in which fellow cast members, Clark Gable and Ava Gardner turned in masterful performances. It was also one of the best films ever released by MGM. Although she got noticed with High Noon, her work with director Alfred Hitchcock, which began with Dial M for Murder (1954) made her a star.
Her standout performance in Rear Window (1954) brought her to prominence. As Lisa Fremont, she was cast opposite James Stewart, who played a crippled photographer who witnesses a murder in the next apartment from his wheelchair. Grace stayed busy in 1954 appearing in five films. Grace would forever be immortalized by winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Georgie Elgin opposite Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954). In 1955, Grace once again teamed with Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief (1955) co-starring Cary Grant. In 1956, she played Tracy Lord in the musical comedy High Society (1956) which also starred Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
The whimsical tale ended with her re-marrying her former husband, played by Crosby. The film was well received. It also turned out to be her final acting performance. Grace had recently met and married Prince Rainier of Monaco. By becoming a princess, she gave up her career. For the rest of her life, she was to remain in the news with her marriage and her three children. On September 14, 1982, Grace was killed in an automobile accident in her adoptive home country. She was just 52 years old.
Actress, Princess Consort of Monaco. Grace Patricia Kelly was born on November 12, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father, John Brendan "Jack" Kelly, was a champion sculler who won three Olympic gold medals as part of the U.S. rowing team. A self-made millionaire, he owned one of the most successful brick businesses on the East Coast. Her mother, Margaret Katherine Majer, was the first coach of women's athletic teams at the University of Pennsylvania. Kelly was the third of four children and was named after her father's sister, who died at a very young age.
Kelly expressed a deep love of performance at a young age. In addition to participating in school plays and community productions, she occasionally modeled with her mother and sister. While attending Stevens School, a small private high school in Philadelphia, she continued to dream about acting. The arts held a prominent place in the Kelly family. Her uncles Walter C. Kelly, a vaudevillian performer, and George Kelly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, both had a huge affect on her. It was George who later encouraged his niece to pursue a full-time acting career, mentoring her through her rise in Hollywood.
After high school, Kelly decided to pursue an acting career in New York City despite her parents' objections. According to Kelly s close friend Judith Balaban Quine, Jack Kelly thought that acting was "a slim cut above streetwalker." Despite this, Kelly enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As a student, she modeled part-time and appeared in ads for Old Gold cigarettes and on the covers of magazines like Cosmopolitan and Redbook. Her final performance at the Academy was in A Philadelphia Story. Years later she would reprise her role in High Society, a musical adaptation on the big screen.
After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York at age 19, Kelly sought a career on Broadway, but she found it tough going. Don Richardson, one of her directors and teachers later said, "She would never have had a career in the theater," because she had "great looks and style, yes, but no vocal horsepower."
Whether or not that assessment was correct, Kelly soon found that film was more amenable to her talents. In the years just following World War II, the film and television industries were both booming, and Kelly soon moved to Hollywood. She would eventually feature in 11 films and star in over 60 television productions.
Gary Cooper discovered Grace Kelly on the set of her first film, Fourteen Hours (1951), when she was 22 years old. He arranged for her to play his very young wife in High Noon (1952), an acclaimed Western that put her on the path to stardom. A year later, Kelly was offered a role in Mogambo (1953), a film set in Kenya, starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner.
While filming Mogambo, Kelly had an affair with Gable. Later she said, "What else is there to do if you're alone in a tent in Africa with Clark Gable?" Mogambo marked a turning point in Kelly's career: She was nominated for her first Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. MGM offered her a seven-year contract, which she accepted on the condition that she live in Manhattan every other year so that she could pursue stage work.