Grace Kelly Overview (01:36)
From Hollywood princess to real princess, the film star seemed to have it all—but the fairy tale belied a crumbling marriage and difficult children.
Priviliged Childhood (02:07)
Kelly was born in 1929 in Philadelphia to a wealthy Catholic family. Her father, an Irish-American, won Olympic rowing events after being discriminated against by a local club. He built a brick work empire and had political aspirations.
Family Relationships (02:30)
Kelly's father expected high achievements from his children and favored her older sister Peggy. Kelly inherited poise from her mother, an athletic beauty. When her brother won the Henley Cup, she decided to become an actress.
Acting Career (03:26)
Kelly studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, worked as a model, and attracted male attention. Her first break came starring opposite Gary Cooper (with whom she had an affair) in "High Noon." She also became involved with Clark Gable while shooting “Mogambo.”
Hollywood Scandal Threatens Kelly's Career (02:19)
In 1954, Kelly's became Hitchcock’s favorite actress. Kelly made a public apology for her affair with co-star Ray Milland. “Rearview Mirror” restored her career.
"The Country Girl" (02:17)
Kelly convinced MGM to release her to Kelly was released to Paramount to star in a serious role. She had affairs with both Bing Crosby and William Holden. She won an Oscar for the part, but her father wasn't impressed.
Prince Rainier's Quest (02:59)
Kelly's father disapproved of plans to marry Russian designer Oleg Cassini. In 1955, she attended a photo shoot in Monaco. The Grimaldi family had suffered a financial crisis; marriage to a Hollywood star would attract new wealth and save the throne.
Royal Courtship (03:35)
Kelly met Prince Rainier in 1955. She starred in Hitchcock's film "To Catch a Thief" and "The Swan," playing a princess. Rainier visited the U.S. and met her family. In 1956, their engagement was announced.
Escaping Hollywood (03:51)
Marrying Rainier enabled Kelly give up her acting career gracefully. After "High Society," she prepared to leave the U.S. for a new life in Monaco. She indulged reporters during the voyage; view footage of her ceremonial arrival.
"Wedding of the Century" (01:55)
MGM produced a documentary of Kelly and Rainier's royal union. The couple received 50% of the profits; 30 million people watched the ceremony. Kelly would be scrutinized more as a princess than as an actress.
Expectant Rainier Family (02:56)
Kelly discovered differences with Rainier during their honeymoon and his family was suspicious of her. She became pregnant and he bought her a Hermes bag in Paris—cementing her role in fashion history. They also visited Philadelphia.
Princess of Monaco (02:12)
Kelly gave birth to Caroline in 1957 and Albert in 1959 —securing the Grimaldi dynasty and principality. Kelly was finally accepted by Rainier's family. In 1960, her father died but she had little time to mourn.
Cult of Grace Kelly (02:07)
Kelly's celebrity drew visitors to Monaco, boosting the economy—but a gulf developed between her public image and personal feelings. In 1962, Hitchcock recruited her for "Marnie" but the principality protested and she had to withdraw.
Kelly's Marital Problems (03:13)
Kelly gave birth to Stephanie in 1965, but she and Rainier grew apart and he had affairs. Kelly immersed herself in charity work, including founding a daycare for working mothers and promoting theater and performing arts in Monaco.
Separation Rumors (02:42)
Rainier and Kelly appeared together less frequently; she bought an apartment in Paris and the press speculated that she had affairs with male friends. In 1976, she narrated a documentary about Kirov Ballet students. Her relationship to Caroline and Stephanie was also strained.
Public Scrutiny (02:08)
In 1977, against Kelly and Rainier's wishes, Caroline married a French businessman. Kelly struggled with her weight, marriage, and the aging process. In 1981, she and then Lady Diana bonded over court expectations.
Grace Kelly Car Crash (03:17)
In 1979, Kelly and Rainier celebrated their 25th anniversary and seemed happy. In 1982, Kelly complained of headaches and argued with Stephanie about her school plans. On September 13, Grace suffered a stroke while driving Stephanie home and they crashed; she died in the hospital.
Grace Kelly's Legacy (02:41)
Kelly lay in state for three days; view footage of her funeral. Rainier was devastated. Decades later, Grace Kelly's name is iconic as an actress and a charitable princess.
Credits: Grace Kelly: Extraordinary Women (00:47)
Credits: Grace Kelly: Extraordinary Women
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