Grace Patricia Kelly – Grace of Monaco
“She never distanced herself from others. Even so, as soon as she came on the set, everyone fell silent. ” (Cary Grant)
Gary Cooper discovered Grace Kelly on the set of her first film, Fourteen Hours (1951), when she was 22 years old. He arranged for her to play his very young wife in High Noon (1952), an acclaimed Western that put her on the path to stardom. A year later, Kelly was offered a role in Mogambo (1953), a film set in Kenya, starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. While filming Mogambo, Kelly had an affair with Gable. Later she said, “What else is there to do if you’re alone in a tent in Africa with Clark Gable?” Mogambo marked a turning point in Kelly’s career: She was nominated for her first Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In the 1950s, Kelly made three films with the legendary master of suspense: Rear Window (1954), Dial M for Murder (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955). Hitchcock considered Kelly the epitome of the femme fatale: She had beauty, style and “sexual elegance.” Jimmy Stewart, her co-star in Rear Window, said, “She’s too perfect… She’s too talented. She’s too beautiful. She’s too sophisticated. She’s too everything but what I want.”
A Royal Wedding
In 1955, she was asked to join the United States Delegation Committee at the Cannes Film Festival in France. During a photo shoot, she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco, who happened to be seeking a bride. If he didn’t produce an heir, Monaco would become part of France. The prince once described his ideal bride: “I see her with long hair floating in the wind, the color of autumn leaves. Her eyes are blue or violet, with flecks of gold.” The press glamorized their courtship, depicting it as a fairytale romance. A year later, their wedding date was set.
Tragedy struck on September 14, 1982, when Princess Grace and her younger daughter was driving along the steep cliffs of the Côte d’Azur region of southern France. She suffered a stroke and lost control of the vehicle, which spun off the cliff’s edge and plunged down a 45-foot embankment. Mother and daughter were rushed to a hospital where Princess Grace spent 24 hours in a coma before passing away at the age of 52. Princess Stéphanie survived with minor injuries.