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Gloria Grahame Was Ruined After an Affair With Her Stepson

Actress Gloria Grahame had a roller coaster of a life and career. She reached the ultimate peaks, starring in major films and winning an Oscar, and a major career downfall after that. And her downfall was partially her own doing. She had a scandalous affair with the stepson of her husband at the time, which broke apart their family, and began a string of poor decisions that added to her downfall. She also had major psychological and emotional issues that contributed to her many troubles. In this video, we’ll take a look at her life and career, discussing that infamous affair with an underaged boy, as well as many of the other wild and often salacious details of her life. So stick around as Facts Verse presents: Gloria Grahame was Ruined After an Affair with Her Stepson.

The Illicit Affair

Gloria Grahame was a talented and successful actress, who spent the early years of her career quickly climbing the ranks of the Hollywood elite. She was talented, gorgeous, and clearly popped on screen. And the movie studios rewarded these aspects by casting her in numerous movies early on, one of which led to an Academy Award. And yet, the things she’s most known by these days are her scandals. There was no bigger one than her affair with her stepson.

Grahame was married to director Nicholas Ray at the time. Ray was most known at that point for directing “Rebel Without A Cause.” The two had gotten married in 1948, while she was already four months pregnant with their son, Timothy. Nicolas also had a young son, Tony. The story goes that one day, early on in the marriage, Nicholas arrived home and walked in on Gloria and Tony in bed together. The betrayal and adultery would have been bad enough if it had been with another man. In particular, a consenting adult. But that wasn’t the case, seeing as Tony was a mere 13 years old at the time.

The Ending of Marriage

Needless to say, the incident drove an immediate wedge in the marriage, and they got divorced. It seems likely that their marriage wouldn’t have lasted even if Gloria Grahame hadn’t slept with Nicholas’s son. Years later, he was quoted as saying that he was infatuated by her, but that he didn’t much like her.” So clearly their relationship had an end date. But that date came that much sooner when he discovered her illicit and illegal affair with his young son. For obvious reasons, the family decided not to tell the public about the affair, or their reasons for divorcing. It was only about a decade later that it came out.

Gloria Grahame and Tony

Amazingly, the relationship between Gloria and Tony didn’t end once they were caught in bed. Granted, it isn’t clear that they continued seeing each other then. It seems rather likely that getting found out would have put an end to their affair, given Tony’s incredibly young age at the time. And she ended up having a third marriage after divorcing Nicholas. (He’d been her second husband.) But in 1960, she got married to her fourth husband. It was a secretive ceremony, held in Mexico. And it was to none other than Tony.

They kept the secret for roughly two years, but then in 1962, the public found out about the incident from when Tony was 13, and did not react well to it. Despite feeling like a pariah, Gloria soldiered on. She defended the decision, saying, “I married Nicholas Ray, the director. People yawned. Later on I married his son and from the press’s reaction you’d have thought I was committing incest or robbing the cradle.” Of course, it was easy to make this kind of dismissive comment now that she and Nicholas were long divorced, and Tony was a consenting adult. But clearly the negative reactions she got from the wedding stemmed from what people saw as a horrible abuse she committed on a minor.

Divorced In 1974

But despite whatever public declarations she made about it, the uproar and the marriage caused her a grief and sent her into bouts of depression. She put on a good face for her acting gigs and for the press, but internally she was miserable. She ended up having a full on breakdown at one point, and even sought out the help of electroshock therapy to treat her depression. It may have helped, because she managed to stay in the marriage with Tony for a longer time than any other of her marriages.

They had two sons together as well. They finally got divorced after 14 years of marriage, in 1974. Gloria Grahame never ended up facing any legal repercussions for her relationship with Tony as a minor. It should be noted that Peter Turner, a man who later became her boyfriend (more on him in a bit) and was her biographer as well, disputed the tales of Tony only being 13 when he and Gloria Grahame began having an affair.

Gloria’s Other Marriages

Gloria’s marriage to Nicholas Ray was clearly a disaster, and while her marriage to Tony technically lasted 14 years, one could argue it was built on deception and indecency, considering Gloria’s decision to start sleeping with a 13-year-old. But amazingly, her other two marriages weren’t any better. Her first marriage was to a man named Stanley Clements. He was an actor, and the two seemed happy and headed towards a long relationship. They tied the knot in 1945, as Gloria was beginning her upwards climb in Hollywood. Sadly, things fizzled and they filed for divorce only a year later. But while they were separated, they decided to give things another go. This time, things were far worse. Stanley reportedly physically abused Gloria, and she finally decided to fully break things off in 1948. She filed for an annulment, citing his physical abuse.

Next came her marriage to Nicholas Ray, and we know how that one turned out.

Gloria With Cy Howard

Her third marriage was to Cy Howard, a television producer. They got hitched in 1954, and two years later Gloria gave birth to their daughter, Marianne Paulette. But sadly, this relationship was about as successful as her previous ones had been. The two reportedly fought constantly, and Gloria actually filed for divorce two separate times. She cited her reason for divorce as mental cruelty. And this may have been accurate. During their tumultuous relationship, Gloria was said to have had fairly violent reactions towards Cy.

This included cutting up a bunch of his clothes during one fight, and pulling a gun on him in another. They finally got divorced in 1957. When Cy eventually found out about her fourth marriage, to Tony, he filed to get sole custody of Marianna. He claimed that her marriage to Tony proved that she was an unfit mother. The two of them ended up fighting in court for several years for custody of their daughter. This was among the many things that eventually led to Gloria’s nervous breakdown.

Gloria and Peter

We mentioned Peter Turner earlier, as both a biographer and a lover to Gloria. But, true to form, it happened in a somewhat unusual and scandalous way. A few years after her divorce to Tony, Gloria decided she’d had enough of Hollywood, and of the US in general, and moved to London. While there, she turned her focus back to her career, looking to have a resurgence in the London theater scene. While working on a production of Rain, by Somerset Maugham, she met Peter – an up and coming actor.

And while it had been a long time since she’d been involved with a fellow actor, this time there was something different than her relationship with first husband Stanley Clements. Namely, Peter was 30 years younger than she was. Of course, this struck a very similar chord to her illicit affair with Tony. It seems that Gloria had a penchant for younger men. Still, by this point, they were both consenting adults, so there wasn’t anything particular bad about the relationship. Certainly nothing illegal. The main thing they had going against them was the fact that society generally didn’t approve of this type of May-December relationship. But they did their best to ignore the judgement of others, and remained in love for a brief time.

Her Suffering From Breast Cancer

After their play ended in London, the two flew to New York City, to live together in Gloria’s apartment. But soon after the move, Peter began to notice that Gloria would disappear from time to time, and was acting strange. He became so frustrated at this behavior, he moved back to London and called things off. The two didn’t speak for a year. Sadly, in 1981, he got a phone call informing him that Gloria had collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital. At the time, she was in another play in England, this time in Lancaster. When Peter reached out, he discovered that her secretive behavior hadn’t been scandalous at all. Gloria had been suffering from breast cancer, and hadn’t wanted to burden him with it.

At that point, the hospital in Lancaster recommended emergency surgery. But Gloria refused, perhaps sensing she only had a very short time to live. She instead requested that she be transported to peter’s family’s home in Liverpool. They acquiesced, and she spent six days there. At that point, her children flew out to be with her, and they insisted she be brought back to New York. There, she was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital. She died only a few hours after arrival, at age 57.

Peter ended up telling their story in his book, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, which was then turned into a movie starring Annette Bening.

Now it’s time to hear from you. What part of the story was most surprising to hear about? Let us know in the comments section below!

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