Grace Patricia Kelly was born on November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to wealthy parents. She was the daughter of Margaret Katherine (Majer), a phys ed instructor, and John Brendan Kelly, Sr., a three-time Olympic Gold winner for rowing. Her uncle was playwright George Kelly. She was of half Irish and half German descent. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace struck out on her own, heading to New York’s bright lights to try her luck there. Grace worked as a model and made her debut on Broadway in 1949. She also made a brief foray into the infant medium of television.
Not content with the work in New York, Grace moved to Southern California for the more prestigious part of acting — motion pictures. In 1951, she appeared in her first film entitled Fourteen Hours (1951) when she was 22. It was a small part, but a start nonetheless. The following year, she landed the role of Amy Kane in High Noon (1952), a western starring Gary Cooper and Lloyd Bridges which turned out to be very popular. In 1953, Grace appeared in only one film, but it was another popular one. The film was Mogambo (1953) where Grace played Linda Nordley. The film was a jungle drama in which fellow cast members, Clark Gable and Ava Gardner turned in masterful performances. It was also one of the best films ever released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Although she got noticed with High Noon, her work with director Alfred Hitchcock, which began with Dial M for Murder (1954) made her a star. Her standout performance in Rear Window (1954) brought her to prominence. As Lisa Fremont, she was cast opposite James Stewart, who played a photographer who witnesses a murder in an apartment across the courtyard while convalescing in a wheelchair. Grace stayed busy in 1954 appearing in five films. Grace would forever be immortalized by winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Georgie Elgin opposite Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954). In 1955, Grace once again teamed with Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief (1955) co-starring Cary Grant. In 1956, she played Tracy Lord in the musical comedy High Society (1956) which also starred Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The whimsical tale ended with her re-marrying her former husband, played by Crosby. The film was well received and also turned out to be her final acting performance.
In the summer of 1954, Kelly and Cary Grant were on the French Riviera, working on To Catch a Thief. It was probably the scene after Grace speeds along the Moyen Corniche to quickly get to the “picnic grounds”, and away from a tailing police car, that she had time to look at the Mediterranean and the countryside along the coast. “Whose gardens are those?” she asked screenwriter John Michael Hayes. “Prince Grimaldi’s”. She would not meet the prince until the following year. In New York in March 1955, she received a call from Rupert Allan, Look Magazine’s west coast editor, who had become a friend since writing three cover stories on her. The French government wanted her to attend the Cannes Film Festival that May. She had some good reasons to go. One: The Country Girl (1954) would be shown at the festival. Two: she had really loved working on the Riviera the summer before. She met Prince Rainier of Monaco during the Cannes festival. He needed a wife, because with no heir to the throne, Monaco would again be part of France, after his death, all its citizens would have to pay French taxes. And Kelly thought it was time for her to select a husband, one who would finally meet with her parents’ approval.
Her biographers show that the life of a princess was not exactly living happily ever after. Old friends from Philadelphia as well as people she had known in Hollywood reported how glad she was to talk about her life in America and to be speaking English. And then on a cliff road she had known so well since her first visit to the Riviera, there was the fatal crash. The spot is often said to be the same spot where the picnic scene from To Catch a Thief was filmed in 1954. However, Kelly’s own son, Prince Albert of Monaco, has categorically denied this on Larry King Live and elsewhere; according to him, the accident did not even happen on the same road, let alone at the same spot.
For the rest of her life, she was to remain in the news with her marriage and her three children. On September 14, 1982, Grace was killed in an automobile accident in her adoptive home country, Monaco, at age 52.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson and Dale O’Connor