Everybody has heard the name Grace Kelly. She was the Hollywood movie star who gave it all up to become a real-life princess. Well, that's certainly true, but let's dig a little deeper and find out some more about this truly stunning beauty from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Grace was born on November 12, 1929 to a main-line Philadelphia Irish-American family. Her father had won three Olympic gold medals and sculling - no, I don't know what it is either - and was a successful businessman.
Grace had two older siblings, Margaret and John Jr., and one younger sister, Elizabeth.
Grace got into modelling while attending a private girls school, Ravenhill Academy. She also was in some school plays. She caught the acting bug.
Grace's family was connected in Hollywood. One of her uncles was Walter C. Kelly, a film actor and vaudeville star. Another, George Kelly, was a Pulitzer prize-winning screenwriter and director.
Grace attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She did some modelling on the side. The school opened up opportunities for Grace in the thriving New York theater business.
Grace got her first big part in a Broadway production of Strindberg's "The Father." Delbert Mann then put her on television in a live adaptation of a Sinclair Lewis novel.
Grace was starting to get noticed. Her first film was a bit part in "Fourteen Hours" (1951). The film would not have meant much except that, while filming it, Gary Cooper stopped by and introduced himself. He was quite taken with Grace and commented that she was "different from all these actresses we've been seeing so much of."
Grace continued appearing in television adaptations. Then, one day, she got the shock of her life.
A telegram arrived out of the blue from Hollywood producer Stanley Kramer. Just like that it offered her a part in a film he was planning called "High Noon." It just so happened to be starring Gary Cooper, the man who had stumbled upon her during filming that forgettable film.
John Ford was directing "Mogambo." He claimed to have noticed Grace long before, due to a 1950 screen test that had led nowhere at the time. When she came to Hollywood in September 1952, she signed a standard seven-year contract.
Grace loved "Mogambo" because it meant a trip to Africa. Her co-star, Clark Gable, also was a lot of fun. The audience loved, her, too. Grace received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
At this point, Grace was on her way. She did an Alfred Hitchcock film, "Dial M for Murder," another of a long line of beautiful blondes whom he showed off to their best advantage. They also did a third classic film "To Catch a Thief." Co-star Cary Grant later said that Grace was his favorite co-star because she had "serenity."
Hitchcock loved Grace from the start, and quickly cast her in another of his films, "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart. The film became a classic.
After that, Grace played Georgie Elgin in "The Country Girl" with Bing Crosby. She won the Academy Award for best actress, beating out heavily favored Judy Garland in "A Star is Born."
A number of other high profile roles followed. Her final film was "High Society." However, they were all simply the warm-up to Grace's true starring role in life.
At the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, Grace met Prince Rainer III of Monaco. Grace and the Prince were corresponding privately.
While in the States, Prince Rainier visited with Grace and her family. He proposed, and she accepted. It was called "The Wedding of the Century" in the press.
Grace and the Prince were married on April 18, 1956. An elaborate church ceremony took place the next day at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral. It was broadcast on live television, one of the first live media sensations.
Grace and the Prince really did live happily ever after. They had three children: Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie.
Grace performed her duties as princess consort for the rest of her life. She was a terrific ambassador for Monaco.
Her old friend Alfred Hitchcock offered Grace the lead in "Marnie." However, the role did not comport with her regal status in Monaco, so she turned it down.
Grace also had other offers to return to work as an actress, but ultimately she turned them all down.
Her last film appearance was a 33-minute independent film that she did in 1979 called "Rearranged." The film premiered in Monaco in 1982.
It is then that tragedy struck. While driving back to the palace one day, Grace suffered a stroke and crashed her car on one of Monaco's winding roads. Grace Kelly was dead at age 52. She is still missed.