Gloria Grahame (1923 - 1981)



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Gloria Grahame
Born November 28, 1923 in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died October 5, 1981 in New York City, New York, USA (stomach cancer with peritonitis)
Birth Name Gloria Hallward
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Gloria Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever (1944) was auspicious, but her first public recognition came on loan-out in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Though her talent and sex appeal were of star quality, she did not fit the star pattern at MGM, who sold her contract to RKO in 1947. Here the same problem resurfaced; her best film in these years was made on loan-out, In a Lonely Place (1950). Soon after, she left RKO. The 1950s, her best period, brought Gloria a supporting actress Oscar and typecast her as shady, inimitably sultry ladies in seven well-known film-noir classics. Rumors of being difficult to work with on the set of Oklahoma! (1955) sidelined her film career from 1956 onward. She also suffered from marital and child-custody troubles. Eight years after divorce from Nicholas Ray, who was 12 years her senior (and reportedly had discovered her in bed with his 13 year old son), and after a subsequent marriage to Cy Howard ended in divorce, in 1960 she married her former stepson Anthony Ray who was almost 14 years younger than her. This led Nicholas Ray and Cy Howard to each sue for custody of each's child by Grahame, putting gossip columnists and scandal sheets into overdrive. In 1960 she resumed stage acting, combined with TV work and, from 1970, some mostly inferior films. Gloria was described as a serious, skillful actress; spontaneous, honest, and strong-willed; imaginative and curious; incredibly sexy but insecure about her looks (prompting plastic surgery on her famous lips); loving appreciative male company; "a bit loony." Her busiest period of British and American stage work ended abruptly in 1981 when she collapsed from cancer symptoms during a rehearsal. She returned to New York a few hours before she succumbed on October 5, 1981 at age 57.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rod Crawford
Gloria Hallward was born in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of Michael Hallward, an architect, and Jean MacDougall, an actress whose stage name was Jean Grahame. Her mother later became her acting coach. Descended from royalty--King Edward III through her father's side--she was bred for acting at an early age. By the time Gloria was a teenager she had little interest in school; she quit Hollywood High School just short of graduation to join a touring show called "Good Night Ladies". Later she appeared in a couple of Broadway plays, where she was spotted by MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer in 1944. He was impressed enough to offer her a contract with MGM at $250 a week. Her first role was that of Sally Murfin in Blonde Fever (1944), but it was a few years later that her role as Violet in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) set her apart from other actresses. She played the part of the local temptress who sets her sights on James Stewart, and was done for Columbia while she was on loanout from MGM. Although Gloria was extremely talented and sexy, MGM felt she didn't fit its rigid star pattern and sold her contract to RKO. After appearances in such films as It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) and Song of the Thin Man (1947), Gloria hit pay dirt as Ginny Tremaine in Crossfire (1947) for RKO. This was the film that would shoot her into superstardom. She was nominated for an Academy Award but lost out to Celeste Holm for Gentleman's Agreement (1947). After another stellar performance in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Gloria was nominated for yet another Oscar in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), in which she played Rosemary Bartlow, the wife of a novelist turned screenwriter, opposite Dick Powell. Her performance was absolutely outstanding, and this time she took home the Oscar. The film itself won four additional awards, making it the year's most honored movie. That same year saw her star in Macao (1952) and Sudden Fear (1952), both very well received. The 1950s was a wonderful decade for Gloria, as she appeared in several more hits, including the epic musical Oklahoma! (1955). Then, as with many other performers, her career slowed. She made Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), her last film until Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966). She suffered through another paucity of roles until she landed a part in The Todd Killings (1971).

Gloria Grahame Biography & Family History

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Gloria Grahame was also known as:

Gloria Hallward


in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States


on in New York, New York United States
Cause of death: Stomach Cancer

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Stomach Cancer

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1923 - In the year that Gloria Grahame was born, on August 2, President Warren G. Harding died in office, apparently of a heart attack. He was staying at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco after completing a nationwide tour. Suffering from cramps, indigestion, a fever and shortness of breath, his doctor thought he had food poisoning. After several days of being ill, he suddenly shuddered, slumped over, and died. There were rumors of foul play (some thought that his wife had poisoned him because of his affairs) but no evidence has ever been found.

1941 - She was 18 years old when on June 25th, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, prohibiting racial discrimination in the defense industry. EO 8802 was the first federal action to prohibit employment discrimination - without prejudice as to "race, creed, color, or national origin" - in the U.S. Civil Rights groups had planned a march on Washington D.C. to protest for equal rights but with the signing of the Order, they canceled the March.

1949 - When she was 26 years old, on April 4th, NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was established. Twelve nations originally signed the North Atlantic Treaty - the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Portugal. Greece, Turkey, and West Germany later joined. Today, there are 26 nations in NATO.

1976 - Gloria was 53 years old when The United States celebrated the Bicentennial of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was a year long celebration, with the biggest events taking place on July 4th.

1981 - In the year of Gloria Grahame's passing, on August 1st, MTV debuted. It was the first music video TV channel. The first music video played was the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" - the second was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run".

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October 8, 1981,
The New York Times Archives
Gloria Grahame, the actress best known for her screen portrayals of sulking and occasionally wisecracking blondes, died Monday night of cancer at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. She was 55 years old. Miss Grahame, who had been in London rehearsing a play, died three hours after arriving here aboard a commercial flight. Miss Grahame called her children in this country to help her return to New York, where treatment had been successful. It was on the flight to New York that shock resulting from the infection set in and ''when she got to the emergency room, she was nearly dead,'' Dr. Grace said. Appeared in 30 Films
During her long Hollywood career, Miss Grahame appeared in more than 30 films, usually in a supporting role. She won an Academy Award in 1952 for her supporting role in ''The Bad and the Beautiful,'' the story of a Hollywood producer who turns out to be a heel.
She was also noted for her role in ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' a 1947 film directed by Frank Capra, and ''The Big Heat,'' a 1953 police melodrama in which Lee Marvin, playing a cretin-faced gangster, flings scalding coffee into her eyes and pouting face.
Miss Grahame was born in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 28, 1925, as Gloria Hallward. She was the daughter of a British actress, Jean Hallward, who had played Shakespearean and other classical roles on the British stage. Miss Grahame made her debut as an actress in Chicago soon after her graduation from high school.
She soon went to Broadway, where she was hired as an understudy in Thornton Wilder's ''The Skin of Our Teeth,'' and began getting substantial roles in other plays. In 1944 she went to Hollywood, where she made her debut in ''Blond Fever'' (1944). Nominated for 'Crossfire' Role
She was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress in 1947 for ''Crossfire,'' and during the next eight years had prominent roles in a series of films, including ''The Greatest Show on Earth'' (1952) and ''Oklahoma!'' (1955).
During the late 1950's her roles declined, as she devoted herself to raising her children. In the 1970's she made occasional appearances in films. She also played parts on television and the stage, including a role in ''The Man Who Came to Dinner'' at the New Darien Dinner Theater in 1977. She later played a neurotic mother in ''Head Over Heels'' (1979), and a comic character in ''Melvin and Howard'' (1980). Miss Graham was married four times.

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