Gloria Grahame

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Gloria Grahame
Gloria Grahame (1947 portrait).jpg
Grahame in 1947
Born
Gloria Grahame Hallward

(1923-11-28)November 28, 1923
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedOctober 5, 1981(1981-10-05) (aged 57)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeOakwood Memorial Park Cemetery
EducationHollywood High School
OccupationActress and singer
Years active1944–1981
Spouse(s)
(m. 1945; div. 1948)

(m. 1948; div. 1952)

Cy Howard
(m. 1954; div. 1957)

Anthony Ray
(m. 1960; div. 1974)
Children4
RelativesAnthony Ray
(stepson/ husband)
Nicholas Ray
(father-in-law/ husband)

Gloria Grahame Hallward (November 28, 1923 – October 5, 1981), known professionally as Gloria Grahame, was an American stage, film, and television actress and singer. She began her acting career in theatre, and in 1944 made her first film for MGM.

Despite a featured role in It's a Wonderful Life (1946), MGM did not believe she had the potential for major success, and sold her contract to RKO Studios. Often cast in film noir projects, Grahame was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Crossfire (1947), and later won the award for her work in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). She achieved her highest profile with Sudden Fear (1952), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), and Oklahoma! (1955), but her film career began to wane soon afterwards.

Grahame returned to work on the stage, but continued to appear in films and television productions, usually in supporting roles.

In 1974, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It went into remission less than a year later and Grahame returned to work. In 1980, the cancer returned, but Grahame refused to accept the diagnosis or seek treatment. Choosing instead to continue working, she traveled to the United Kingdom to appear in a play. Her health, however, declined rapidly, and she developed peritonitis after undergoing a procedure to remove fluid from her abdomen in September 1981. She returned to New York City, where she died in October 1981, aged 57.

Early life[edit]

Grahame was born in Los Angeles, California.[1] She was raised a Methodist.[2] Her English father, Reginald Michael Bloxam Hallward (known as Michael Hallward; 1889-1982) was an architect and author; her Scottish mother, Jean (or Jeanne) McDougall, who used the stage name Jean Grahame (1890–1984), was a British stage actress and acting teacher.[3] The couple had an elder daughter, Joy Hallward (1911–2003), an actress who married John Mitchum (the younger brother of actor Robert Mitchum). During Gloria's childhood and adolescence, her mother taught her acting. Grahame attended Hollywood High School before dropping out to pursue acting.[1]

Grahame was signed to a contract with MGM Studios under her professional name after Louis B. Mayer saw her performing on Broadway for several years.

Career[edit]

Grahame with Philip Reed in Song of the Thin Man, 1947

Grahame made her film debut in Blonde Fever (1944) and then achieved one of her most widely praised roles as the flirtatious Violet Bick, saved from disgrace by George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). MGM was not able to develop her potential as a star, and her contract was sold to RKO Studios in 1947.

She was often featured in film noir pictures as a tarnished beauty with an irresistible sexual allure. During this time, she made films for several Hollywood studios. She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Crossfire (1947).[4]

Grahame starred with Humphrey Bogart in the film In a Lonely Place (1950) for Columbia Pictures, a performance for which she gained praise. Though today it is considered among her finest performances, it was not a box-office hit, and Howard Hughes, owner of RKO, admitted that he never saw it. When she asked to be lent out for roles in Born Yesterday (also 1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951), Hughes refused and instead made her perform a supporting role in Macao (1952).

in her Academy Award-winning role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Despite only appearing for a little over nine minutes on screen, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in MGM's The Bad and the Beautiful (also 1952);[5][6] she long held the record for the shortest performance on screen to win an acting Oscar until Beatrice Straight won for Network with a five-minute performance.

Her other memorable roles included the scheming Irene Neves in Sudden Fear (also 1952), the femme fatale Vicki Buckley in Human Desire (1953), and mob moll Debby Marsh in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953) in which, in a horrifying off-screen scene, she is scarred by hot coffee thrown in her face by Lee Marvin's character. Grahame appeared as wealthy seductress Harriet Lang in Stanley Kramer's Not as a Stranger (1955) starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra. Grahame also did her own stunts as Angel the Elephant Girl in Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth, which won the Oscar for best film of 1952.[7]

Grahame's career began to wane after her performance in the musical film Oklahoma! (1955). She, whom audiences were used to seeing as a film noir siren, was viewed by some critics to be miscast as an ignorant country lass in a wholesome musical, and the paralysis of her upper lip from plastic surgery altered her speech and appearance. Additionally, she was rumored to have been difficult on the set of Oklahoma!, upstaging some of the cast and alienating her co-stars.[8] She began a slow return to the theatre, returning to films occasionally to play supporting roles, mostly in minor releases.

She also guest-starred in television series, including the science-fiction series The Outer Limits. In the episode of that series titled "The Guests", Grahame plays a forgotten film star living in the past. She also appears in an episode of The Fugitive ("The Homecoming", 1964) and an episode of Burke's Law ("Who Killed The Rabbit's Husband", 1965). Grahame can be seen also in a 1970 episode of Mannix titled “Duet for Three” (Season 4 Episode 13) and in small roles in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and Seventh Avenue.

The play The Time of Your Life was revived on March 17, 1972, at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles with Grahame, Henry Fonda, Richard Dreyfuss, Lewis J. Stadlen, Ron Thompson, Jane Alexander, Richard X. Slattery, and Pepper Martin among the cast, and Edwin Sherin directing.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Over time, Grahame became increasingly concerned with her physical appearance; she particularly felt her upper lip was too thin and had ridges that were too deep. She began stuffing cotton or tissues under it, which she felt gave her a sexier look. Several co-stars discovered this during kissing scenes.[10] In the mid-1940s, Grahame began undergoing small cosmetic procedures on her lips and face. According to her niece, Vicky Mitchum, Grahame's obsession with her looks led her to undergo more cosmetic procedures that rendered her upper lip largely immobile because of nerve damage. Mitchum said, "Over the years, she [Grahame] carved herself up, trying to make herself into an image of beauty she felt should exist but didn't. Others saw her as a beautiful person, but she never did, and crazy things spread from that."[11] Grahame was a Democrat who supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign in the 1952 presidential election.[12]

Relationships, marriages, and children[edit]

Grahame was married four times and had four children. Her first marriage was to actor Stanley Clements in August 1945. They divorced in June 1948.[13] The day after her divorce from Clements was made final, Grahame married director Nicholas Ray. They had a son, Timothy, in November 1948. After several separations and reconciliations, Grahame and Ray divorced in 1952.[14] Grahame's third marriage was to writer and television producer Cy Howard. They married in August 1954 and had a daughter, Marianna Paulette in 1956.[15][16] Grahame filed for divorce from Howard in May 1957, citing mental cruelty.[15] Their divorce was made final in November 1957.[16]

Grahame's fourth and final marriage was to actor Anthony "Tony" Ray, the son of her second husband Nicholas Ray and his first wife Jean Evans; Anthony Ray was her former stepson. According to Nicholas Ray, their relationship reportedly began when Tony Ray was 13 years old and Grahame was still married to his father (Nicholas Ray allegedly caught the two in bed together, which he claimed effectively ended the marriage to Grahame in 1950.)[17][18] However, Grahame's former partner and biographer, Peter Turner, has disputed this, saying that the story of Tony being underage when Grahame began her sexual relationship with him is "fiction".[19] Grahame and Anthony Ray reconnected in 1958 and married in Tijuana, Mexico, in May, 1960. The couple went on to have two children: Anthony, Jr. (born 1963) and James (born 1965).[20]

News of the marriage was kept private until 1962, when it was written about in the tabloids and the ensuing scandal damaged Grahame's reputation and affected her career. After learning of her marriage to Anthony Ray, Grahame's third husband, Cy Howard, attempted to gain sole custody of the couple's daughter, Marianna. Howard claimed Grahame was an unfit mother, and the two fought over custody of Marianna for years. The stress of the scandal, her waning career, and her custody battle with Howard took its toll on Grahame and she had a nervous breakdown. She later underwent electroshock therapy in 1964.[21] Despite the surrounding scandal, Grahame's marriage to Anthony Ray was her only one, of four, to last well beyond four years (her marriage to his father lasted 4 years 2 months), as they did not divorce until a few days short of their 14th anniversary, in May 1974.[21]

Grahame had an affair with her leading man Glenn Ford during the filming of Human Desire in 1954.[22]

Death[edit]

In March 1974, Grahame was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent radiation treatment, changed her diet, stopped smoking and drinking alcohol, and also sought homeopathic remedies. In less than a year, the cancer went into remission.[23] The cancer returned in 1980, but Grahame refused to acknowledge her diagnosis or seek radiation treatment. Despite her failing health, Grahame continued working in stage productions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

In autumn 1981, while performing at The Dukes Playhouse[24] in Lancaster, England, Grahame was taken ill. The local hospital wanted to perform surgery immediately, which she refused. Contacting her former lover, actor Peter Turner,[25][better source needed] she requested to live in Liverpool, in the home of his mother.

Grahame requested that Turner not contact medical people or her family, but Turner did so, for he was concerned about her health. According to Turner's book Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, his local family doctor told Grahame she had a cancerous tumor in her abdomen "the size of a football". Breast cancer is not mentioned in the book.[26]

Peter Turner informed two of Grahame's children, Timothy and Marianna, who were in the United States, of her illness. They traveled to Liverpool, deciding to take their mother back to the United States, against the wishes of Grahame, her doctor, and Turner.[27]

After staying for six days at the home of Turner's mother, Grahame was flown back to the United States by her two children on 5 October 1981; there she was immediately admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. She died in the hospital a few hours after admittance, at the age of 57.[27]

She was survived also by her sister, and both of her nonagenarian parents. Her remains were interred in Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, Los Angeles. Her death preceded the death of her first husband Stanley Clements by just 11 days. He died from emphysema on 16 October 1981 in Pasadena, California.[28] Grahame had kept an apartment at the New York City complex Manhattan Plaza. The community room at the complex, where her portrait hangs, is dedicated to her.[29]

Legacy[edit]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Gloria Grahame has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6522 Hollywood Boulevard.[30]

The motion picture Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, based on Peter Turner's account of the final years of her life, was released in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2017, and in the United States on December 29, 2017. In the film, Grahame is portrayed by Annette Bening.[26]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1944 Blonde Fever Sally Murfin Alternative title: Autumn Fever
1945 Without Love Flower girl
1946 It's a Wonderful Life Violet Bick
1947 It Happened in Brooklyn Nurse
1947 Crossfire Ginny Tremaine Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1947 Song of the Thin Man Fran Ledue Page
1947 Merton of the Movies Beulah Baxter
1949 A Woman's Secret Susan Caldwell aka Estrellita
1949 Roughshod Mary Wells
1950 In a Lonely Place Laurel Gray
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth Angel
1952 Macao Margie
1952 Sudden Fear Irene Neves
1952 The Bad and the Beautiful Rosemary Bartlow Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1953 The Glass Wall Maggie Summers
1953 Man on a Tightrope Zama Cernik
1953 The Big Heat Debby Marsh
1953 Prisoners of the Casbah Princess Nadja aka Yasmin
1954 The Good Die Young Denise Blaine
1954 Human Desire Vicki Buckley
1954 Naked Alibi Marianna
1955 The Cobweb Karen McIver
1955 Not as a Stranger Harriet Lang
1955 Oklahoma! Ado Annie Carnes
1956 The Man Who Never Was Lucy Sherwood
1957 Ride Out for Revenge Amy Porter
1959 Odds Against Tomorrow Helen
1966 Ride Beyond Vengeance Bonnie Shelley
1971 Blood and Lace Mrs. Deere
1971 The Todd Killings Mrs. Roy
1971 Chandler Selma Alternative title: Open Shadow
1972 The Loners Annabelle
1973 The Magician Natalie Alternative title: Tarot
1974 Mama's Dirty Girls Mama Love
1976 Mansion of the Doomed Katherine Alternative title: The Terror of Dr. Chaney
1979 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Ma Fox
1979 Head Over Heels Clara Alternative title: Chilly Scenes of Winter
1980 Melvin and Howard Mrs. Sisk
1981 The Nesting Florinda Costello Alternative titles: Phobia and Massacre Mansion

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Flashback: Gloria Grahame". Beaver County Times. August 11, 1991. p. 7. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  2. ^ "About FUMC". First United Methodist Church, Eunice, Louisiana. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012.
  3. ^ "Actress Gloria Grahame dead of cancer at age 51". The Bulletin. October 7, 1981. pp. C–7. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  4. ^ "The 20th Academy Awards (1948): Actress In A Supporting Role". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  5. ^ "THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1953)". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "The 25th Academy Awards (1953): Actress In A Supporting Role". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "The 25th Academy Awards (1953): Best Motion Picture". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  8. ^ Landazuri, Margarita. "Oklahoma! (1955)". tcm.com. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  9. ^ Lane, Bill (April 8, 1972). "Hollywood Beat". The Afro-American. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  10. ^ (Lentz 2011, p. 175)
  11. ^ Hagen, Ray; Wagner, Laura (2004). Killer Tomatoes: Fifteen Tough Film Dames. McFarland & Co. p. 73. ISBN 0-786-48073-4.
  12. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  13. ^ Parker, Vernon (July 16, 2004). "On This Day in History: July 16 – Just Right for Brooklyn Wiseguy Parts". Brooklyn Eagle.
  14. ^ (Curcio 1989, p. 101)
  15. ^ a b "Gloria Grahame Sues For Divorce". The Miami News. May 4, 1957. p. 6A. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Gloria Grahame Divorces Producer". Times Daily. November 1, 1957. p. 17. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  17. ^ (Lentz 2011, p. 103)
  18. ^ Joey Nolfi, "How an Oscar and a sex scandal rattled Gloria Grahame's career". Entertainment Weekly, February 21, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  19. ^ Barbara Hoffman, "The tragic romance of a Hollywood star and her young leading man". New York Post. January 1, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  20. ^ (Lentz 2011, pp. 6–7)
  21. ^ a b (Lentz 2011, p. 7)
  22. ^ Ford, Peter. Glenn Ford: A Life. (Wisconsin Film Studies). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011. p. 144 ISBN 978-0-29928-154-0
  23. ^ (Lentz 2011, p. 247)
  24. ^ Walker, Natalie (November 21, 2017). "Gloria Grahame's final wish at The Dukes in Lancaster". Lancashire Evening Post.
  25. ^ Peter Turner on IMDb
  26. ^ a b Boyce, Frank Cottrell (November 14, 2017). "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool: the tragic life of Hollywood sensation Gloria Grahame". The Guardian. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  27. ^ a b (Lentz 2011, p. 317)
  28. ^ Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous. Globe Pequot. p. 118. ISBN 0-762-74101-5.
  29. ^ King, Susan (December 23, 2017). "Classic Hollywood: Remembering Gloria Grahame before 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  30. ^ "Hollywood Star Walk: Gloria Grahame". latimes.com. Retrieved June 26, 2014.

Sources[edit]

  • Curcio, Vincent (1989). Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame (1st ed.). William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-06718-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Lentz, Robert J. (2011). Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir: The Complete Career. McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-786-43483-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]