May Star of the Month. Grace Kelly

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Born in Pennsylvania on November 12, 1929 to Jack Kelly an Irish immigrant and self made man. Looking at her picture it is hard to believe that at a young age she was seen as the runt of the family. Suffering from asthma as a child Grace was not the athletic child her father wanted her to be. Unlike the other children Grace was a more artistic child more like her uncle, Pulitzer prize winning playwright George Kelly.

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After a rejection from Bennington College Grace decided to pursue her dreams to become an actress. With the help of her Uncle George she was accepted to American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  While in New York she stayed at the all girls boarding house Barbizon Hotel. While there she worked as a model to support herself. She used a tape recorder to perfect her voice. After a few stage roles and parts in television Grace made her film debut in a small, unrecognized part in Fourteen Hours. While performing in Eilitch Gardens she received a telegram offering her a role opposite  Gary Cooper in High Noon.

Still from To Catch a Thief
Still from To Catch a Thief

In 1954 Grace would make her first appearance in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock when she starred alongside Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder. This was the first of three films with the director followed by Rear Window opposite James Steward and To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant. After her appearance in Rear Window Kelly went on to her Oscar winning role opposite William Holden and Bing Crosby in The Country Girl.  She had worked with Holden previously in The Bridges over Toko-Ri.

On her wedding day to HSH Prince Rainier of Monaco
On her wedding day to HSH Prince Rainier of Monaco

While attending the Cannes film festival Grace was invited to a photo session with Prince Rainier. After returning to America to film The Swan where she played a Princess she corresponded with the Prince of Monaco.  Soon the couple were engaged and Kelly would appear in her last film. She appeared in High Society a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. After leaving Hollywood for Monaco Kelly and Hitchcock’s relationship became strained. He wanted her to appear in Marnie but the people of Monaco did not want their Princess staring alongside Scottish leading man Sean Connery.

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The ice blonde left Hollywood to become the Princess she always appeared to be. Her parents where pleased that their little girl married a man they deemed worthy. The question however still remains. What could she have been had she never left the cameras behind? After an automobile accident caused by a stroke, Kelly died of her injuries at the hospital later named in her honor.  Her legacy still lives. To many she is a fashion icon. Grace was the perfect name for a women as poised as her.

Alongside Marlon Brando after winning her Oscar for The Country Girl.
Alongside Marlon Brando after winning her Oscar for The Country Girl.

A movie star, a princess, a legend, Grace Kelly’s dedication to the arts still existed after her marriage to Prince Rainier. Her kind heart carried her through life. Despite her early retirement from film and her death at only 52 years of age Grace made her mark on the world. If she were alive today she would be 84 years old and probably still charming us with her grace, smile and elegance.

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