#SheDidThat

November 12, 1929: Grace Kelly Was Born

Photo: via Silver Screen Collection/Getty

On November 12 1929, Grace Kelly was born. With her graceful beauty and legendary talent, Kelly dazzled the world with her star performances during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Although she traded in her movie career to become the Princess Consort of Monaco, Kelly continued to captivate the world until her tragic car accident in 1982.

As the daughter of a model mother, Kelly also started modeling at a young age. After graduating from a small private school in Philadelphia, Kelly moved to New York City to pursue a Broadway career. She lived in the famous residential hotel reserved only for women, the Barbizon Hotel for Women, and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Although she originally vied for roles on the Broadway stage, Kelly had more success when she transitioned to film in 1951. During the post-World War II Hollywood boom, Kelly starred in 11 feature films and over 60 TV shows in only five years.

In that era, Kelly was a much admired and desired leading lady, starring opposite other Hollywood heavyweights like Gary Cooper in “High Noon” (1952) and Clark Gable and Ava Gardner in “Mogambo” (1953). She received her first Academy Award nomination and won her first Golden Globe for the Gable/Gardner picture. In 1955, she won the Best Actress Academy Award for her role in “The Country Girl,” beating out Judy Garland.

Alfred Hitchcock, calling her the ultimate femme fatale and “a snow-covered volcano,” cast Kelly in three of her most iconic performances: “Rear Window” (1954), “Dial M for Murder” (1954) and “To Catch a Thief” (1955). Kelly shared that she learned some invaluable lessons filming with the masterful director: “Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema. It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes.”

However, when Kelly met Prince Rainier III of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, her path changed irrevocably. Kelly transitioned from Hollywood starlet to Princess Grace of Monaco after marrying her prince on April 19, 1956. She gave up her American citizenship and film career to carry out her new role as a royal and mother of three children.

On September 13, 1982, Kelly suffered a stroke while driving, lost control and drove off a winding road, down a mountainside. She passed away one day later. The world mourned her loss, but her legacy will live on eternally thanks to the magic of motion pictures.

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