Grace Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1929. Her father Jack was a three-time Olympic champion and multimillionaire. Her mother Margaret, also an athlete, coached women’s teams. Unlike her parents and siblings, Grace was shy and preferred theatre to sports.
She first appeared on stage in a play when she was 12. Jack Kelly disapproved of his daughter’s dream of becoming an actress. He seemed to think it was “a slim cut above streetwalker”. Despite this, she got into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. At the same time, she was getting more and more parts on Broadway and television. She also modeled for numerous commercials.
In 1951, she made her film debut and later starred in “High Noon” alongside Gary Cooper. Director John Ford saw her screen test, and Grace got the part in his upcoming movie. She signed a seven-year MGM contract with a relatively low salary of $850 per week. The role in “Mogambo” brought her instant fame and her first Golden Globe award.
Kelly then became the iconic Hitchcock Blonde, having done 3 films with the director. In 1954, she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe as the best actress for “The Country Girl”. She was only 24 at the time, but even that wasn’t enough for her father.
Grace was known for her cool demeanor and resilience. Though she was rather secretive about her personal life, she had a string of affairs. Many of her older co-stars were her lovers during and after the filming.
In 1955, she was introduced to Prince Rainier III at the Cannes Film Festival. Just a year later, they got married, making Grace Princess of Monaco. That wasn’t an easy choice for her, and it surely wasn’t cheap. Her family had to pay a $2 million dowry to help cover the costs of the ceremony. It was dubbed the “wedding of the century” and has been watched by over 30 million people. Kelly was also required to take a fertility test since she was expected to bear an heir. She ended up having three children with Rainier. But her greatest sacrifice was certainly her career as an actress.
After she wed the prince, she stopped making movies altogether. In 1962, Hitchcock tried to lure her to star in “Marnie”. Though she wanted to, she refused due to the protests of the citizens of Monaco. She switched to charity work instead.
She planned to make her comeback with the film “Rearranged” in the late 1970s. But she never got a chance to finish the picture. In 1982, Kelly suffered a stroke while driving. She died following an accident at the age of 52. Princess Diana, as well as her fellow actors, attended the funeral. After her death, Grace was recognized as the 13th top female movie star in American history.