Grace Kelly

BIOGRAPHY

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GRACE KELLY

BIOGRAPHY

Born on 12 November 1929 into the family of a self-made millionaire, Grace attended a Convent school, but went against her Irish Catholic family's wishes in pursuit of an acting career. 

Grace Kelly was born on 12 November 1929 to wealthy parents in Philadelphia. She had a relatively uneventful childhood and decided she wanted to be an actress at an early age. After gaining acceptance to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Kelly moved to Manhattan and supported her studies as a model, her early stage work including Strindberg's 'The Father'in 1949. However, not content with just stage work, Grace moved to Southern California to try her hand at motion picture acting.

She soon won television parts, which in turn incited offers from Hollywood. Her first small role, in the 1951 film 'Fourteen Hours', catapulted her from relative unknown into a lead in the celebrated Gary Cooper classic, 'High Noon'(1952).

While 'High Noon' was a box office hit, it took more than a year for Kelly to find her next film, 'Mogambo', which led to a seven-year signing with MGM, and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

She proved to be the ideal, elegant blonde actress Alfred Hitchcock had been searching for and, after casting her in 'Dial M. For Murder', Kelly began a string of projects for the director.

Kelly's standout performance in 1954's 'Rear Window' brought her to prominence. She played Lisa Fremont opposite James Stewart, who played a crippled widower who witnesses a murder from his bedroom window.

She also won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in 'Country Girl' as Georgie Elgin, the long-suffering wife of Bing Crosby. This meant that MGM had to loan her out to Paramount, which the studio accepted after Kelly threatened to leave for good.

In the same year, she also appeared in 'Green Fire' and 'The Bridges at Toko-Ri'.

One year after the release of Hitchcock’s 'To Catch A Thief', it was announced that Kelly would marry Prince Rainier of Monaco. Kelly met the Prince after taking part in a photo shoot with him at the Cannes Film Festival. The wedding proved one of the most lavish and reported events of the decade. Soon after, Kelly announced her retirement from films. Hitchcock later said that he was "very happy that Grace found herself such a good part". Following the wedding, more than 20,000 well-wishers lined the streets of Monaco to greet the new Princess. Kelly's family had to pay the prince a dowry of $2 million for the wedding to go ahead. The couple had a religious ceremony on 19 April 1956 after the civil one the day before.

Her final film, 'High Society', was released later that year (1956). She appeared in the musical comedy with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and it was deemed a success.

As Princess Grace of Monaco, she served as head of a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations, and gave birth to three royal children. Princess Caroline was born just nine days and four months after the wedding. On the day of her daughter's birth, 21 guns announced the news while a national holiday was called and all gambling ceased.

Just over a year later in 1958, 101 guns announced the birth of the couple's second child and first son Prince Albert. Kelly gave birth to daughter Stephanie in 1965.

Despite no longer being able to act on screen, the Princess was keen to stay involved in the arts and created the Princess Grace Foundation to support local talents.

In 1982, Princess Grace lost control of the vehicle in which she and her daughter were travelling. While Princess Stephanie survived the accident with minor injuries, Kelly lingered in a coma for barely 24 hours, before she died on 14 September having never regained consciousness. It was later determined that the Princess had suffered a stroke which had led to the crash.

The princess' funeral was watched by almost 100 million people worldwide and attended by people including Diana Princess of Wales and film star Cary Grant.

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."

In June 1999, the American Film Institute named Kelly the 13th top female star of American cinema.

On 9 January 2012, it was revealed that Olivier Dahan, who is best known for directing the award-winning 'La Vie En Rose', will be directing a biopic about Kelly entitled 'Grace of Monaco', which will focus on her time as the Princess of Monaco. It played at the Cannes film festival in 2014.

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