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Hitchcock’s leading lady, pride of Hollywood & Princess of Monaco- photos of the irreplaceable Grace Kelly

Neil Patrick

Grace Kelly is without a doubt the most prolific and certainly most praised Hollywood actress of the 1950s, earning the title of “the Queen of Hollywood” for her looks, performances, and grace.

The pure beauty and true talent that Grace Kelly possessed brought her kindness to the forefront, hence the respect and success she enjoyed all through her career. Critics have cited Grace Kelly as one of the most influential and iconic film personalities in the whole of American cinematic history. This is perhaps due to the fact that the amount of success and fame Grace Kelly had attained over a short Hollywood career of a mere seven years was an unprecedented feat. From 1950 to 1956, she had appeared in just 11 Hollywood features, and in almost all of them, the spotlight stayed on her mesmerizing performance and beauty. For a much younger audience who may not have known Grace Kelly during her prime, the fact that Kelly was ranked Number 13 in the American Film Institute’s Top 100 list of all time female stars is a testament to her legacy.

Grace Kelly in 1956 Photo Credit

Grace Kelly in 1956 Photo Credit

Kelly in High Noon (1951), her first major film role Photo Credit

Kelly in High Noon (1951), her first major film role Photo Credit

Grace Kelly arriving at the 28th annual Academy Awards, 1956. Photo Credit

Grace Kelly arriving at the 28th annual Academy Awards, 1956. Photo Credit

Grace Kelly with Ernest Borgnine at the 28th annual Academy Awards, 1956 . Photo Credit

Grace Kelly with Ernest Borgnine at the 28th annual Academy Awards, 1956 . Photo Credit

Kelly didn’t restrict herself to the cinema screen; according to some critics, her best performing art platform was television. She performed in over a hundred TV plays, in addition to a number of theatrical performances. The title of ‘classic Hitchcock blonde’ brought a different kind of light to Kelly’s already established demeanor. While writing about Grace Kelly’s lasting legacy, one writer cited her as “the most elegant glamor girl of American Cinema.” Some of the most iconic still photography of the 50s and 60s features Grace Kelly as a model, which is another amazing feat in and of itself.

Grace Kelly was born into a fairly influential and quite affluent household in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 12 November 1929. She was born with the beauty and talent that was to become the face of Hollywood cinema a few years later. She attended the prestigious catholic girls’ school Raven Hill Academy, and from a very early age she was found modelling for some social events along with her sisters and mother. When, in 1942, East Falls Old Academy Players was looking for a lead role in its famous Don’t Feed the Animals, Grace Kelly fit the bill perfectly and was cast, even though she was only 12 at the time. By 1947, when she graduated from the esteemed and socially prominent institution on Walnut Lane in northwest Philadelphia, she had already gained ample experience in dancing and acting in a number of school plays.

Grace Kelly in the television series MGM Parade, 1956 . Photo Credit

Grace Kelly in the television series MGM Parade, 1956 . Photo Credit

Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955) Photo Credit

Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955) Photo Credit

MGM publicity still, unknown date Photo Credit

MGM publicity still, unknown date Photo Credit

Paramount publicity still for The Country Girl, 1954 . Photo Credit

Paramount publicity still for The Country Girl, 1954 . Photo Credit

Grace of Monaco (1972) . Photo Credit

Grace of Monaco (1972) . Photo Credit

Kelly’s big break came during her performance in Colorado’s Elitch Gardens, when prolific producer Stanley Kramer approached her, and offered Kelly a role in Fred Zinnemann’s western classic High Noon alongside Gary Cooper. Kelly gladly accepted the offer, only to later find out that the film was to be shot under a tight schedule of 28 days and in the scorching hot weather of the California desert. Cinematic historians suggest that the role in High Noon pretty much set the stage for of all Kelly’s subsequent appearances on screen and truly embedded her image in the memories of viewers.

In High Noon, Kelly was performing the role of a young Quaker bride engaged to a Stoic Marshall played by Gary Cooper, who was thirty years her senior at the time. When High Noon was finally released in the summer of 1952, it broke nearly all previous records and earned four Academy Awards, and over time has been categorized as one of the best western films in cinematic history. Despite the enormous success of High Noon, some critics took a very hard line on the character of Grace Kelly, suggesting that the presence of Cooper and his character overshadowed Kelly’s performance.

Princess Grace with son Albert at Madrid-Barajas Airport, 1964 Photo Credit

Princess Grace with son Albert at Madrid-Barajas Airport, 1964 Photo Credit

Princess Grace with daughter Stéphanie in Monaco, 1969. Photo Credit

Princess Grace with daughter Stéphanie in Monaco, 1969. Photo Credit

Grace Kelly on the cover of Modern Screen Magazine, 1955 Photo Credit

Grace Kelly on the cover of Modern Screen Magazine, 1955 Photo Credit

Kelly in a promotional photograph for Rear Window (1954) Photo Credit

Kelly in a promotional photograph for Rear Window (1954) Photo Credit

Grace Kelly retired from her acting career at the age of 26. She married Prince Rainier and began her prolific duties and life as the Princess of Monaco.

Read another story from us: The Life and Legacy of Lillian Gish – The first lady of American cinema and a legendary Silent Era performer

Kelly had three children, Albert, Caroline, and Stephanie, whom she absolutely loved and devoted her life towards. Grace Kelly died at the age of 53 on 14th September 1982, when she suffered a stroke while driving and her car crashed, causing fatal injuries.