Monday, May 2, 2011

GET PERSONAL: PRINCESS GRACE


There has never been a person more aptly named than Grace Kelly. Her ethereal, timeless beauty is entirely unparalleled in elegance or style. Not only was she graced (pun intended) with beauty, but she became one of the most beloved movie stars of all-time and – on top of everything else – a princess. 


Grace Patricia Kelly was born November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia. Her mother was the first woman in history to head the Department of Physical Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and her father was a three time Olympic-gold-medal-winning sculler (rowing). While at Ravenhill Academy (a prestigious Catholic girls school) Grace began modeling with her sisters and mother. In addition to her academic curriculum, she began taking dance lessons in addition to acting classes. 


Due to low mathematics scores, Kelly was not accepted to Bennington College and so she decided to audition for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Her father was hugely disappointed by this decision; making the biting statement that acting was “a slim cut above streetwalker.” But Kelly held her ground and used her uncle, George Kelly’s, connections to help her get in to the acting school. Kelly graduated from drama school at the age of 19, starting her career in film one year later. It wasn’t until 1953, in the film Mogambo, that Grace became recognized as a full-fledged movie star. In the few years that followed, Grace appeared as a leading lady in five films, receiving one Golden Globe nomination and one Academy Award nomination (which she won for her role in The Country Girl). 


In 1956 Kelly was asked to participate in a photoshoot at the Palace of Monaco while she made appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. She was to be photographed with the sovereign of the principality, Prince Rainier III. Not long after their brief meeting, Prince Rainier began making trips to the United States. He proposed to Kelly, who accepted, offering a $2,000,000 dowry.


The marriage offered Grace the title of ‘princess’ and she retired from acting (too young at 26) to attend to her duties as a royal of Monaco. She and Prince Rainier had three children together; Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. Grace Kelly died two months before her 53rd birthday after suffering a stroke while driving and crashing the car. Her daughter Stephanie survived the accident. 


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