Grace Kelly was an American actress who, after marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956, became Princess of Monaco.
Discover more interesting facts about her, here!
1. Grace Patricia Kelly was born November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2. She came from influential family.
3. Her father, Irish-American John B. Kelly Sr., had won three Olympic gold medals for sculling and owned a successful brickwork contracting company that was well-known on the East Coast.
4. A registered Democrat, he was nominated to be mayor of Philadelphia for the 1935 election, but lost by the closest margin in the city’s history.
6. In later years, he served on the Fairmount Park Commission and, during the Second World War was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness.
7. Kelly’s mother was Philadelphia native Margaret Katherine Majer, the daughter of German immigrants.
8. Margaret had taught physical education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she had been the first female to coach women’s athletics at the institution.
9. She was noted for her beauty and modeled for a time in her youth.
10. After marrying John B. Kelly in 1924, Margaret focused on being a housewife until all her children were of school age, following which she began actively participating in various civic organizations.
11. Kelly had two older siblings, Margaret and John Jr., and a younger sister named Elizabeth.
12. The children were raised in the Roman Catholic faith.
13. While attending Ravenhill Academy, a prestigious Catholic girls’ school, Kelly modeled fashions at local social events with her mother and sisters.
14. In 1942, at the age of twelve, she played the lead in Don’t Feed the Animals, a play produced by the East Falls Old Academy Players.
15. Before graduating in May 1947 from Stevens School, a socially prominent private institution on Walnut Lane in the Northwest Philadelphianeighborhood of Germantown, she acted and danced.
16. Her graduation yearbook listed her favorite actress as Ingrid Bergman and her favorite actor as Joseph Cotten.
17. Written in the “Stevens’ Prophecy” section was: “Miss Grace P. Kelly – a famous star of stage and screen.” Owing to her low mathematics scores, Kelly was rejected by Bennington College in July 1947.
18. Despite her parents’ disapproval, Kelly decided to pursue her dreams of being an actress.
19. John was particularly displeased with her decision; he viewed acting as “a slim cut above streetwalker.”
20. To start her career, she auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, using a scene from her uncle George Kelly’s The Torch-Bearers (1923).
21. Although the school had already met its semester quota, she obtained an interview with the admission officer, Emile Diestel, and was admitted through the influence of George.
22. She began her first term the following October. While at school, she lived in Manhattan’s Barbizon Hotel for Women, a prestigious establishment which barred men from entering after 10 pm, and she worked as a model to support her studies.
23. Kelly worked diligently and practiced her speech by using a tape recorder.
24. Her early acting pursuits led her to the stage, most notably a Broadway debut in Strindberg’s The Father alongside Raymond Massey.
25. At 19, her graduation performance was as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.
26. Television producer Delbert Mann cast Kelly as Bethel Merriday, in an adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel of the same name, this was her first of nearly sixty live television programs.
27. Success on television eventually brought her a role in a major motion picture.
28. She made her film debut in a small role in the 1951 film Fourteen Hours.
29. She was noticed during a visit to the set by Gary Cooper, who subsequently starred with her in High Noon (1951).
30. He was charmed by her and said that she was “different from all these actresses we’ve been seeing so much of.” However, Kelly’s performance in Fourteen Hours was not noticed by critics and did not lead to her receiving other film acting roles.
31. She continued her work in the theater and on television, although she lacked “vocal horsepower” and would likely not have had a lengthy stage career.
32. She had various roles on television shows produced by NBC and CBS. She was performing in Denver’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 (1951).
33. Kelly appeared in New York City theatrical productions and more than 40 episodes of live drama productions broadcast during the early 1950s Golden Age of Television.
34. In October 1953, she gained stardom from her performance in the film Mogambo.
35. It won her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination in 1954. She had leading roles in five films, including The Country Girl, for which her deglamorized performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
36. Other films include High Noon (1952) with Gary Cooper, Dial M for Murder (1954) with Ray Milland, Rear Window (1954) with James Stewart, To Catch a Thief (1955) with Cary Grant, and High Society (1956) with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
37. Kelly retired from acting at the age of 26 to marry Rainier and began her duties as Princess of Monaco. They had three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stéphanie. She retained her American roots, maintaining dual U.S. and Monégasque citizenship.
38. 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 sovereign of the principality. After a series of delays and complications, she met him in Monaco. At the time of her initial meeting with him, she was dating the French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont.
39. Upon returning to America, Kelly began work on The Swan, in which she coincidentally portrayed a princess, and she meanwhile began a private correspondence with Rainier.
40. In December 1955, Rainier went to America on a trip officially designated as a tour, although it was speculated that he was seeking a wife.
41. A treaty with France in 1918 had stated that if he did not produce an heir Monaco would revert to France.
42. The treaty was as a result of the Monaco Succession Crisis of 1918. At a press conference in the U.S. he was asked if he was pursuing a wife, to which he answered, “No.” Then a second question was posed: “If you were pursuing a wife, what kind would you like?” Rainier smiled and answered, “I don’t know – the best.”
43. That same year MGM released Kelly’s last film, the musical comedy High Society, which was based on the studio’s 1940 comedy The Philadelphia Story. She wore her own engagement ring in the film and sang a duet with Bing Crosby, “True Love,” a song with words and music by Cole Porter.
44. Rainier met Kelly and her family, and after three days, he proposed. She accepted and the families began preparations for what the press at that time dubbed “The Wedding of the Century.” She and her family had to provide a dowry of $2 million in order for the marriage to go forward.
45. The wedding of Kelly and the Prince of Monaco was huge. Thousands of people lined the streets of Monaco to welcome their new princess consort and the entire Palace of Monaco was re-decorated for the event. Alfred Hitchcock, who had directed Kelly in three different films, said of the news of her wedding that he was ‘very happy that Grace has found herself such a good part’.
46. Following the wedding, the screening of any Grace Kelly movies was banned in Monaco by Prince Rainier and, when she was offered a part in Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘Marnie’ in 1962, she relented to public pressure from the people of Monaco and turned the part down.
47. She died on September 14, 1982, a day after suffering a stroke while driving, causing her car to crash.
48. Grace Kelly was buried on September 18, 1982, in the Grimaldi family vault and her husband, Prince Rainer, was buried alongside her following his death in 2005.
49. At Grace Kelly’s funeral, a touching eulogy was read by actor James Stewart, who 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’.
50. Despite all the luxury and the lavish lifestyle, the life of the Princess of Monaco was not all plain sailing. It has been well documented that, away from the glitz, the glamour and the photographers, Grace Kelly longed to return to her own life and suffered from depression.
51. Before her marriage to Prince Rainier, Grace Kelly was engaged to be married to fashion designer Oleg Cassini, who was famous for being the man behind the ‘Jackie Look’ of First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.
52. Grace Kelly was the first ever actress to have her name on a US postage stamp, which appeared in 1993.
53. Her old director Alfred Hitchcock never gave up on trying to get Kelly to star in another one of his films.
54. Hitchock allegedly planned to use 1962’s Marnie as Kelly’s big comeback to the silver screen, and the princess agreed to take the part. In March 1962, Monaco’s palace spokesman announced that Princess Grace would play the role and then give up acting altogether.
55. The citizens of Monaco weren’t so keen on having their princess return to the movies as a compulsive thief, though.
56. The local press blasted the idea of Kelly making a screen comeback, and France’s Charles de Gaulle supposedly pressured Prince Rainier to pull his wife out of the production for fear it would make Monaco appear frivolous.
57. In April, Kelly announced that she was withdrawing from the production, ostensibly due to scheduling difficulties. Tippi Hedren ended up in the title role opposite Sean Connery.
58. Later that year, she returned to the arts in a series of poetry readings on stage and narration of the documentary The Children of Theater Street.
59. She also narrated ABC’s made-for-television film The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966).
60. She and Rainier worked together in a 33-minute independent film called Rearranged in 1979, which received interest from ABC TV executives in 1982 after premiering in Monaco, on the condition that it be extended to an hour.
61. Before more scenes could be shot, Kelly died and the film was never released or shown publicly again.