April 25, 2024

Grace Kelly was undeniably one of the most stunning stars of Hollywood’s golden age. With her bright blue eyes, shining blonde hair and elegant bone structure, her presence immediately signified refinement and class. Grace Kelly became a star in the ’50s with performances in movies like High Noon and Mogambo, and was known as the quintessential “Hitchcock blonde” thanks to her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock classics Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.

Kelly was destined for stardom. She began acting in plays and modeling at a young age, and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Soon enough, she was acting in Broadway shows and appearing in TV episodes. In 1951 she made her film debut with a small role in Fourteen Hours, and as the decade progressed she became a leading lady. While Kelly only acted in the ’50s, making just 11 movies total, her glamorous legacy is eternal.

Related: Grace Kelly Had Mastered the Art of Contour Blush Before It Was a Thing: Her Secret

Grace Kelly in the ’50sBettmann/Getty
Grace Kelly in the ’50sBettmann/Getty A360

Grace Kelly movies

From Westerns to thrillers to comedies, here are all the Grace Kelly movies to add to your watchlist.

1. Fourteen Hours (1951)

Grace Kelly in Fourteen Hours (1951)John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty
Grace Kelly in Fourteen Hours (1951)John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty A360

This tense noir film stars Richard Basehart as a mentally disturbed man about to jump off a New York City building ledge. Kelly made her film debut as a passerby who encounters the troubled protagonist.

2. High Noon (1952)

Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in High Noon (1952)Bettmann/Getty
Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in High Noon (1952)Bettmann/Getty A360

Often considered one of the greatest Westerns of all time, High Noon gave Kelly her first starring role. She plays the sweet Quaker wife of a stoic Marshal (Gary Cooper). The newlyweds are ready for a fresh start, but there’s just one problem: the Marshal’s enemy is set to arrive in town at noon. The highly influential film won four Academy Awards.

3. Mogambo (1953)

Grace Kelly and Clark Gable in Mogambo (1953)Silver Screen Collection/Getty
Grace Kelly and Clark Gable in Mogambo (1953)Silver Screen Collection/Getty A360

In this Technicolor adventure movie, Kelly plays a woman competing with Ava Gardner for Clark Gable‘s affections. The dramatic love triangle takes place in Africa, and the film was shot on location, making for an evocative spectacle featuring some of the film industry’s brightest stars. Kelly received her first Oscar nomination for her role.

4. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Grace Kelly in Dial M for Murder (1954)Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty
Grace Kelly in Dial M for Murder (1954)Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty A360

Kelly began her professional relationship with director Alfred Hitchcock in this twisty treat of a film. Starring opposite Ray Milland and Robert Cummings, Kelly deftly plays the wealthy wife of a retired tennis player. In characteristic Hitchcock fashion, the movie features blackmail, adultery and murder. “Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema,” Kelly once said. “It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes.”

5. Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)Silver Screen Collection/Getty
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)Silver Screen Collection/Getty A360

One of Hitchcock’s most popular and influential films, Rear Window features Kelly as a wheelchair-bound James Stewart‘s gorgeous socialite girlfriend. While Stewart’s character, a photographer, recuperates from a broken leg, he begins watching his neighbors across the way — and soon becomes convinced he’s witnessed a murder. Kelly won praise for her depiction of a stylish, smart and resourceful woman.

6. The Country Girl (1954)

Grace Kelly in The Country Girl (1954)Paramount/Getty
Grace Kelly in The Country Girl (1954)Paramount/Getty A360

Kelly won an Oscar for her role in The Country Girl. The film saw her playing against type — rather than a glamour girl, she played the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic singer (Bing Crosby). A contemporary Variety review of the film praised Kelly’s performance for “conveying a certain feminine strength and courage.”

7. Green Fire (1954)

Paul Douglas, Grace Kelly and Stewart Granger in Green Fire (1954)John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty
Paul Douglas, Grace Kelly and Stewart Granger in Green Fire (1954)John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty A360

Of all her movies, Green Fire was said to be Kelly’s least favorite. The adventure drama co-stars Stewart Granger as a rugged mining engineer who discovers a lost emerald mine in Columbia. He fights off local bandits and savage animals, ultimately leading him to recuperate at the home of Kelly’s character.

8. The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

William Holden and Grace Kelly in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) Grace Kelly moviesParamount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty
William Holden and Grace Kelly in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) Grace Kelly moviesParamount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Sunset Boulevard Corbis via Getty Images

Kelly kept busy in 1954, appearing in five movies that year. The last of these, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, was a powerful drama about the Korean War, in which she played the wife of a troubled Navy Lieutenant (William Holden). A contemporary New York Times review called the film “One of the best of modern war pictures” and described Kelly’s performance as “bewitching.”

9. To Catch a Thief (1955)

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief (1955) Grace Kelly moviesScreen Archives/Getty
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief (1955) Grace Kelly moviesScreen Archives/Getty A360

It doesn’t get more charming than the pairing of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. In this fizzy thriller, Grant plays a retired jewel thief who sets out to nab the thief who is imitating him — and becomes entangled with Kelly’s fashionable and wealthy character in the process. Shot in part on the French Riviera, the film marked the final collaboration between Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock.

Related:New ‘Archie’ Series Investigates Cary Grant’s Secret Dark Side

10. The Swan (1956)

Alec Guinness and Grace Kelly in The Swan (1956)Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty
Alec Guinness and Grace Kelly in The Swan (1956)Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty A360

In this film, set in 1910, Kelly plays a princess whose distant cousin (Alec Guinness) pays a visit to the palace. When the dashing prince seems disinterested in the princess, a rival (Louis Jourdan) is introduced at the gala ball, leading to romantic hijinks. The release of the film was pegged to Kelly’s real-life wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco.

11. High Society (1956)

Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra in High Society (1956)Screen Archives/Getty
Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra in High Society (1956)Screen Archives/Getty A360

High Society, a remake of the 1940 classic The Philadelphia Story, was Kelly’s final film. In this vibrant musical rom-com, she plays a socialite who is about to remarry, only to find that her ex-husband (Bing Crosby, who was previously her co-star in The Country Girl) is trying to win her back. In true whimsical screwball fashion, the story ends with them remarrying.

From movie star to real-life princess

Grace Kelly looms so large in Hollywood lore it’s hard to believe her screen acting career lasted less than a decade. In 1955, Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco while she was in France for the Cannes Film Festival. They married in April 1956, and the glamorous union caused a media frenzy. From then on, Kelly would be Princess Grace.

Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly on their wedding day (1956)Bettmann/Getty
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly on their wedding day (1956)Bettmann/Getty A360

As a royal, Kelly gave up acting and instead performed her daily duties as princess and became involved in philanthropic work. She had three children, all of whom have royal titles. While directors tried to woo Kelly back to movies, she turned them down, only returning to narrate a couple of TV specials and documentaries in the ’60s and ’70s.

Tragically, in September 1982, Grace suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while driving and died in the ensuing crash. She was just 52 years old. To this day, no one has come close to replacing the singularly glamorous and self-assured star. A princess on and off the screen, she was truly one of a kind.


Keep reading for more on your favorite classic actresses!

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This story was originally published December 23, 2023, 4:01 PM.

source: star-telegram

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