Grace Kelly went down in history as one of the most famous and influential actors of her time. In fact, the American Film Institute places her at number thirteen in their list of the top 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classical Hollywood Cinema. She became a household name in the 1950s, after starring in countless blockbuster films. A few years later, however, she would become famous for an entirely different reason.
Grace Kelly began her career in 1949, after she graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She then acted in New York theatrical productions and finally made her way to television. Audiences and directors recognized her talent, but it would be a few years before she became widely known.
The 1953 film Mogambo, which starred both Clark Gable and Ava Gardner, was Grace Kelly’s ticket to fame. She was nominated for an Academy Award, and won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the movie. After that, it seemed like every director in Hollywood wanted Grace Kelly’s talent. She starred in three films directed by legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and she also won the Academy Award for Best Actress in the 1954 film The Country Girl, where she starred alongside Bing Crosby.
It seemed inevitable that Grace Kelly would have a long and prolific career as an actress. This darling of Hollywood, however, chose a different path for her life. She met and fell in love with Prince Rainier III, and the two were married in April of 1956. Fans across the country were shocked that their beloved star would be retiring from acting at the tender age of 26. Instead, she became the Princess of Monaco, and she relocated to France with her new husband to carry out her duties as royalty.
Grace of Monaco was hardly idle after becoming Princess. She developed several charities and worked hard to serve her people. She was dearly beloved within Monaco for several decades. However, her reign would be cut short in a shocking tragedy. On September 13th, 1982, Grace Kelly was severely injured in a car crash alongside her daughter, Stéphanie. The next day, Grace Kelly died of her injuries at age 52.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at the life and legacy of Grace Kelly. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to look at some of the wild theories that surfaced from the mysterious circumstances of her tragic death.
She Was Born Into a Wealthy Family
Grace Kelly was born on November 12th, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents John B. Kelly Sr. and Margaret Majer. Her parents were incredibly wealthy, because her father owned a highly successful brickwork contracting company. Furthermore, her father had won three Olympic gold medals for sculling. Her father’s success didn’t end there; while he lost the election for Mayor of Pennsylvania, he was later elected by President Roosevelt himself to be the National Director of Fitness.
Kelly’s paternal uncles, George and Walter C. Kelly, were also famous. George Kelly was a director, playwright, and screenwriter who even won a Pulitzer Prize. Walter C. Kelly was also highly successful, working as an acclaimed vaudeville performer as well as making films for both Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Kelly’s mother, Margaret Majer, had worked as a model and became the first woman to coach at Penn for women’s athletics. However, after her marriage to John B. Kelly, she decided to spend her time as a housewife, and together, the couple had four beautiful children.
Grace Kelly decided to pursue acting after leaving high school, something that her father deeply disapproved of, despite his brothers’ success in showbusiness. Little did he know, his daughter would go on to become a legend.
The Mystery Behind Her Tragic Death
On September 13th, 1982, Grace Kelly was driving her daughter, Stéphanie, to Paris, where she would be attending school. It was approximately a forty minute drive, with lots of winding roads. According to Stéphanie, Grace Kelly missed a particularly tricky turn, which sent the car careening off the side of the road. Stéphanie suffered a broken collarbone and ribs, but her mother’s injuries were far more serious. News reports downplayed the severity of her condition, however, and her death the next day came as a huge shock to the entire world.
As the city-state of Monaco wrapped itself in grief, many mysterious questions began to surface. Many people were confused to learn that Grace Kelly was driving. It was well known that she hated driving, and had a chauffeur drive her around on most occasions. Some began to suspect that her daughter Stéphanie, who did not have a license at the time, may have been the one behind the wheel. Stéphanie denied these claims, however, and asserted that the reason her mother was driving was because the car was packed with luggage, meaning there wasn’t enough room for three people.
Another, more convincing theory began to spread. At the time, it was known that Stéphanie wanted to marry her boyfriend, Paul Belmondo, who was the son of actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. Stéphanie was only 17 at the time, however, and it was clear her mother disapproved. People began wondering if the reason Kelly crashed the car was because she and her daughter were involved in a heated argument. Stéphanie was unable to dispel this rumor, stating simply “certain secrets, certain images, certain things about this story… belong to my heart.”
Perhaps we’ll never know the true circumstances that led to Grace Kelly’s death, but it’s understandable that her daughter would be unwilling to give up every detail of the traumatic incident. Even if the two were arguing, Stéphanie shouldn’t be blamed for her mother’s death. Even if the tragic accident could have been avoided, it’s impossible to change the past.
She Had a Reputation for Being a Heartbreaker
In the wake of Grace Kelly’s death, she was fondly remembered for her beauty and talent. However, a lot of people glossed over the fact that she had quite the notorious reputation before her marriage to Prince Rainier. While many people remember Grace Kelly for appearing both classy and pure, she had quite the wild side. Throughout her time in Hollywood, she earned a reputation as both a “maneater” and a “homewrecker.” She was involved in numerous heated affairs, often with co-stars such as Clark Gable and Ray Milland.
In fact, she was so well known for her affairs that during the filming of Rear Window, the wife of her co-star Jimmy Stewart was terrified she would ensnare him in an affair. She personally drove him to and from filming locations, and watched the two acting together the entire time the film was being shot.
One affair, however, had disastrous consequences. Make sure you stick around until the very end, where we’ll reveal how Grace Kelly’s affair with another actor ended up destroying the career of a fellow actress! And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like the video and subscribe to our channel for more!
Her Marriage to Prince Rainier III Was Complicated
Later on, Grace Kelly finally decided to settle down into a life of monogamy. In 1955, she met Prince Rainier III during a photoshoot at the Cannes Film Festival. The two felt an immediate connection, and even after Kelly returned to the United States, they wrote letters back and forth. Luckily for the two of them, Prince Rainier visited America during a diplomatic tour, and the two met up once again. Three days later, he decided to propose. However, the marriage came with several stipulations. First, Kelly and her family had to pay a dowry of two million dollars! Despite her father’s steep disapproval, he pitched in half of the dowry, while Kelly covered the other half. She would also have to renounce her American citizenship in order to be accepted into the royal family. Finally, she was forced to take a fertility test. The family wanted to ensure that she and her new husband would be able to produce heirs. She passed the test, and after their marriage, she gave birth to three beautiful daughters.
Unfortunately, her marriage came with one final stipulation. Worried that her reputation as an actress would be unpopular in Monaco, Prince Rainier forced her to retire from the business. Kelly reluctantly agreed, but she desperately missed performing, and she later suffered from depression as a result.
One of Her Affairs Destroyed Another Actress’s Career
Nobody’s perfect, but Grace Kelly’s notoriety as a homewrecker plagued her reputation even after her death. One particular incident would seal this infamy forever. While filming High Noon, Grace Kelly became involved in an affair with co-star Gary Cooper. However, he had previously been involved with young actress Patricia Neal. After learning that Gary Cooper had kicked her to the curb for someone else, Patricia Neal became so upset that she suffered a nervous breakdown, which ultimately ruined her career. After the incident, she would never work again. While Grace Kelly would eventually put that lifestyle behind her after marrying Prince Rainier, her wild lifestyle had a lot of serious consequences.
Grace Kelly had a complicated past, but she was ultimately remembered for her talent as an actress, as well as for her charitable work as Princess of Monaco. Were you more surprised to learn about her numerous torrid affairs, or about all of the stipulations required before her marriage to Prince Rainier III? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more.