Star of Hollywood whilst it was flourishing in its golden age, American actor Grace Kelly has been immortalised by the films of Alfred Hitchcock as well as her extraordinary feat of becoming the princess consort of Monaco in 1965. Star of Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, Kelly continues to inspire new generations of cinephiles with her consistently compelling dramatic performances.
Growing up in a highly affluent family in 1929 Philadelphia, Grace Kelly’s mother, Margaret Kelly, was a successful model who later became an athletics coach, whilst her father was a three-time Olympic champion. Despite this, Grace Kelly’s primary influences were her two uncles, Walter C. Kelly, a vaudeville star who made films for Paramount Pictures, and George Kelly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist and screenwriter.
Focused on becoming a Hollywood star, Kelly pursued the career despite resistance from her immediate family with George Kelly helping her get into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. A hard worker, Grace Kelly would quickly make her Broadway debut in August Strindberg’s The Father alongside Raymond Massey and after facing further backlash impressed the audience so much so that Henry Hathaway cast the actor in his film Fourteen Hours.
Her debut film would eventually take her to high places, later appearing in the likes of Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon, John Ford’s Mogambo, as well as her final on-screen performance in High Society from Charles Walters. Though, despite being such a memorable name of Hollywood cinema, Grace Kelly’s time at the pinnacle of the industry was merely fleeting, appearing in only 11 films during her short six-year entertainment career.
Despite this, Grace Kelly’s career was smash-and-grab, winning an Academy Award in 1954 for the George Seaton film The Country Girl whilst also being nominated in 1953 for her supporting role in Mogambo. A true professional, it was Grace Kelly’s burning passion to become an actor in her youth that helped her to sustain such a healthy, if short, career in front of the camera. Aside from her two uncles being great inspirations for her throughout her life, Grace Kelly also reportedly noted the great Ingrid Bergman as her favourite actor in her graduation yearbook, as reported in the book High Society by Donald Spoto.
Just like Ingrid Bergman, who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, Spellbound and Under Capricorn, Grace Kelly would also become a favourite of the director, starring in Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.
Later marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco in a ceremony donned ‘the wedding of the century’ in 1956, the life of Grace Kelly is a truly extraordinary one that was captured by Nicole Kidman and Olivier Dahan in 2014s Grace of Monaco.