Even as an infant, Grace had a delicate beauty.
While her siblings were quite athletic, Grace preferred the quiet pursuits of reading,ballet, and studying theatrical arts.
Her parents were always eager for their children to be socially accepted and a few years later Grace transferred to the privately run Stevens School.
She participated in several acting and dance productions during her teen years and after graduating from high school in 1947, she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and lived at the Barbizon hotel for women.
It was rumored that Grace’s father was not entirely supportive of her choice in career and so Grace supported herself through modeling.
She made her Broadway debut in 1949 and also had a brief foray into television. Soon after Grace moved to Southern California to pursue acting in motion pictures.
The following year she was selected for the role of Amy Kane in the 1952 classic “High Noon”. Her costar was the dashing Gary Cooper.
Kelly won the 1953 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and was also nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film. She lost to Donna Reed for her role in “From Here to Eternity”. However her photo mate, Audrey Hepburn, won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in “Roman Holiday”.
During the making of the film Grace began a relationship with her costar, Ray Milland. He had assured Grace that his 30 year marriage was over. To the contrary, his wife soon found out and Grace was branded a home wrecker. She then gave a press interview about her side of the story and the scandal immediately died down.
It was a smart move on MGM’s part as Kelly was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her less than glamorous portrayal of an abused wife.
It should come as no surprise that Grace and the film studio selected Edith Head to create a gown for her to wear to the awards show. At the time it was the most expensive Oscar gown ever made. The aquamarine silk fabric alone cost $4,000.
She accepted her 1954 Academy Award in what I consider to be the loveliest Oscar gown of all time. She is shown with William Holden, her costar in the film.
Grace once again teamed with Hitchcock in 1955’s “To Catch a Thief”. Her costar, the dashing and handsome Cary Grant, would also remain a close and lifelong friend.
Not one to mess with a successful formula, Hitchcock hired Edith Head as the costume designer. The results were couture classics such as the famed Grecian Goddess dress.
In April of 1955 Grace was invited to head the US delegation of the Cannes Film Festival. Eager to return to the Mediterranean she agreed. While there, the magazine “Paris Match” had arranged for a photo session with a certain bachelor prince.
In 1955 Grace began filming what would be her last film,“High Society”, a musical based on “The Philadelphia Story”.
Preparations for the April 19, 1956 wedding were elaborate. MGM agreed to release Grace from her contract if the wedding could be filmed.
On April 4, 1956, Grace Kelly left Pier 84 in New York Harbor on the SS Constitution which was bound for the French Riviera. Accompany her was her family, all seven bridesmaids, her poodle Oliver, and over eighty pieces of luggage.