Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American film actress who, after starring in several significant films in the early- to mid-1950s, became Princess of Monaco by marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956.
In the summer of 1954, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant were on the French Riviera working on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief (1955). It was probably the scene after she 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 to given some good reasons to go. One: The Country Girl (1954) would be shown at the festival. Two: she had really loved working on the Riveria 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 — and 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 said to be the same spot where the picnic scene from To Catch a Thief (1955) was filmed in 1954.
Kelly retired from acting at the age of 26 to marry Rainier, and began her duties as Princess of Monaco. It is well known that Hitchcock was hoping she would appear in more of his films which required an “icy blonde” lead actress, but he was unable to coax her out of retirement. Kelly and Rainier had three children: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stéphanie. Kelly retained her link to America by her dual U.S. and Monégasque citizenship. Princess Grace died at Monaco Hospital on September 14, 1982, succumbing to injuries sustained in a traffic collision the previous day. At the time of her death she was 52 years old.
Grace Patrica Kelly
1929 – 1982