Grimes in It's a Wonderful Life, 1946
July 4, 1940 |
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Notable work||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)|
Karolyn Grimes (born July 4, 1940) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as "Zuzu Bailey" in the Frank Capra classic It's a Wonderful Life. She also played "Debbie" in the 1947 Christmas film, The Bishop's Wife starring Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young.
Grimes' parents, Mr. and Mrs. La Van Grimes, were teachers in Kansas City, Missouri. Her mother pushed her into acting, but her acting career declined with her mother's health. The latter died from illness when Grimes was 14, and she lost her father from a car crash a year later. A court ruling sent her from Hollywood to Osceola, Missouri, where she lived in what she called a "bad home" with her aunt and uncle. She went to college in Warrensburg, Missouri at the University of Central Missouri, married, raised children, and became a medical technologist.
Grimes' adult years have been marked by tragedy. A young marriage ended in divorce, after which her ex-husband was killed in a hunting accident. Moreover, "Her second husband died of cancer. And most difficult of all, her son committed suicide at 18."
It's a Wonderful Life
Zuzu had been a part of Grimes' past but as It's a Wonderful Life gained more attention, she gave local interviews in the 1980s and national interviews in the 1990s. Her first husband's death in a hunting accident, 18-year-old son's suicide in 1989, and second husband's death from cancer in 1994 made it difficult for Grimes to recover financially. After she suffered a serious financial setback during the early 2000s recession, she made a career of her advocacy for the film.
She tours big-screen showings of It's a Wonderful Life at dinner theatres worldwide, signing autographs, sharing tidbits, and pointing out small 'goofs'. She also produced a cookbook inspired by that role and marketed a limited line of "Zuzu Dolls".
Grimes was honored as a famous Missourian with a star on the Missouri Walk of Fame in Marshfield, Missouri. She also received the city's highest honor, The Edwin P. Hubble Medal of Initiative in 2007 at the annual Marshfield cherry blossom festival.
|1945||That Night with You||Orphan||Uncredited|
|1945||Pardon My Past||Stephanie Pemberton|
|1946||Sister Kenny||Carolyn||Scenes deleted|
|1946||Blue Skies||Mary Elizabeth Adams|
|1946||It's a Wonderful Life||Zuzu Bailey|
|1947||Sweet and Low||Tammie||Short film|
|1947||Vance's Gamble||Pat Roberts||Uncredited|
|1947||The Private Affairs of Bel Ami||Laurine de Marelle|
|1947||Mother Wore Tights||Iris||Uncredited|
|1947||The Bishop's Wife||Debby Brougham|
|1948||Albuquerque City||Myrtle Walton||Also known as Silver City|
|1949||Lust for Gold||Martha Bannister||Also known as For Those Who Dare|
|1950||Rio Grande||Margret Mary|
|1952||Hans Christian Andersen||Copenhagen Match Girl||Uncredited|
- "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood". Indiana, Valparaiso. The Vidette-Messenger. August 28, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved March 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Joan Caulfield Wins Star Role In New Edward Robinson Film". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 21, 1947. p. 12. Retrieved March 14, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Nudd, Tim (December 24, 2013). "Karolyn Grimes, Actress Who Played Zuzu Bailey: 'No One Has a Wonderful Life'". People. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Karolyn Grimes Bids For Moppet Stardom". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 25, 1946. p. 25. Retrieved March 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "It Wasn't Always a Wonderful Life for Little Zuzu Bailey". Social.entertainment.msn.com. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "As Zuzu Can Attest, Americans Love Hopeful Ring of 'It's a Wonderful Life'".
- Zuzu Bailey's It's a Wonderful Life Cookbook.
- "It Was a Wonderful Part".
- "Marshfield Cherry Blossom Festival Homepage".