Edit
Betty Grable Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 December 1916St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 2 July 1973Santa Monica, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameElizabeth Ruth Grable
Nicknames The Girl With the Million Dollar Legs
The Pin-Up Girl
America's Ideal Girl
The Quicksilver Blonde
Height 5' 3½" (1.61 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on December 18, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother Lillian was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. Elizabeth, who later became Betty, was enrolled in Clark's Dancing School at the age of three. With her mother's guidance, Betty studied ballet and tap dancing. At age 13, Betty and her mother set out for Hollywood with the hopes of stardom. Lillian lied about her daughter's age, and Ruth landed several minor parts in films in 1930, such as Whoopee! (1930), New Movietone Follies of 1930 (1930), Happy Days (1929) and Let's Go Places (1930). In 1932, she signed with RKO Radio Pictures. The bit parts continued for the next three years. Betty finally landed a substantial part in By Your Leave (1934). One of her big roles was in College Swing (1938). Unfortunately, the public did not seem to take notice. She was beginning to think she was a failure. The next year, she married former child star Jackie Coogan. His success boosted hers, but they divorced in 1940. When she landed the role of Glenda Crawford in Down Argentine Way (1940), the public finally took notice of this shining bright star. Stardom came through comedies such as Coney Island (1943) and Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943). The public was enchanted with Betty. Her famous pin-up pose during World War II adorned barracks all around the world. With that pin-up and as the star of lavish musicals, Betty became the highest-paid star in Hollywood. After the war, her star continued to rise. In 1947, the United States Treasury Department noted that she was the highest paid star in America, earning about $300,000 a year - a phenomenal sum even by today's standards. Later, 20th Century-Fox, who had her under contract, insured her legs with Lloyds of London for a million dollars. Betty continued to be popular until the mid-1950s, when musicals went into a decline. Her last film was How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). She then concentrated on Broadway and nightclubs. In 1965, she divorced band leader Harry James, whom she had wed in 1943. Betty Grable died at age 56 of lung cancer on July 2, 1973 in Santa Monica, California. Her life was an active one, devoid of the scandals that plagued many stars in one way or another. In reality, she cared for her family and the family life more than stardom. In that way, she was a true star.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Spouse (2)

Harry James (5 July 1943 - 9 October 1965) (divorced) (2 children)
Jackie Coogan (20 November 1937 - 8 October 1940) (divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Platinum blonde hair
Blue eyes and pale skin
Her sexy legs
Voluptuous figure

Trivia (27)

Ex-husband Harry James died on what would have been their 40th anniversary.
In the late 1940s, 20th Century Fox insured her legs with Lloyds of London for a quarter million dollars.
In 1946-1947, the Treasury Department noted that she was the highest paid woman in America, receiving $300,000 a year.
Following her death, she was interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.
Was one of the 20 original The Goldwyn Girls, among whom were Lucille Ball, Virginia Bruce, Ann Dvorak and Paulette Goddard.
Niece of actor Vinton Hayworth.
Voted Best Figure of 1941.
Suffered from "demophobia" (fear of crowds) and was a somnambulist (sleepwalker).
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6525 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Did Playtex 18-hour Shortie commercials in the 1960s using her famous pin-up pose -- purportedly because she needed the money after her husband had spent her savings.
Singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka's song "Betty Grable" was totally dedicated to her memory.
Portrayed by Jayne Mansfield in the biography The George Raft Story (1961). However, at the time she was not public domain so the character's name was changed to Lisa.
She and Harry James had two daughters: Victoria Elizabeth James (born March 3, 1944) and Jessica James (born May 20, 1947).
In How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), her character makes a pointed reference to Harry James while listening to the radio at the lodge (Grable was married to him at the time). The song playing on the radio is "You'll Never Know", from Hello Frisco, Hello (1943), and was sung in the film by Alice Faye. It won the Academy Award as Best Song in 1943 (Source: AMPAS).
In Italy, her films were often dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta and Dhia Cristiani. She was occasionally dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi and Clelia Bernacchi.
Her stepson, Tim James, was an attorney working with the then Attorney General of Texas and became responsible for enticing television personality Marvin Zindler of Houston to investigate the famous Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas - eventually closing it down. The story became the basis of the Broadway and movie musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982).
Inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1990 and the Hall of Famous Missourians in 2009.
She was a lifelong Republican and conservative.
Betty's famous pin-up pose (in bathing suit, back to the camera, smiling over her right shoulder) was taken that way because she was pregnant and it showed. They felt that showing her from the front would not be in good taste.
She appeared with former Fox co-star Dick Haymes as presenters at the 1972 Oscar ceremony.
When Shelley Winters bowed out of Pickup on South Street (1953), a pregnant Grable turned down the offer of starring in the film noir, and the role went to Jean Peters.
Samuel Goldwyn considered her seriously for Guys and Dolls (1955), but when her dog broke its leg, Grable canceled an appointment with him. A miffed Goldwyn then gave the original Adelaide, former Fox co-worker Vivian Blaine, the role.
Made her film debut at age 13 in a Fox quickie, "Let's Go Places" in 1930. She lied about her age, stating she was 15.
While attending Hollywood Professional School, she developed a musical act with friend Emlyn Pique, who later took the name Mitzi Mayfair.
Very early in her career, she sang with the Ted Fiorito Band. According to Grable: "The only trouble was I couldn't sing.".
At one point during the 1940s, Grable reportedly earned $300,000 a year, making her one of the world's highest paid women. Her films earned over $15 million for 20th Century Fox.
She was offered the Anne Baxter role in The Razor's Edge (1946) but turned it down. Baxter ultimately won an Oscar as Sophie MacDonald.

Personal Quotes (16)

The woman's vision is deep-reaching, the man's far-reaching. With the man the world is his heart, with the woman the heart is her world.
You're better off betting on a horse than betting on a man. A horse may not be able to hold you tight, but he doesn't wanna wander from the stable at night.
There are two reasons why I am successful in show business and I am standing on both of them.
It's loud, it's cheap, it's gaudy. It's like everything I've ever done - I LOVE IT!
I'm strictly an enlisted man's girl.
I'm a song-and-dance girl. I can act enough to get by. But that's the limit of my talents.
The practice of putting women on pedestals began to die out when it was discovered that they could give orders better from there.
[on Alice Faye] Alice is a darling. Everybody loves her.
There's nothing mysterious about me.
My legs made me.
[on Marilyn Monroe] It may sound peculiar to say so, because she is no longer with us, but we were very close. Once when we were doing that picture How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) together, I got a call on the set: my younger daughter had had a fall. I ran home and the one person to call was Marilyn. She did an awful lot to boost things up for movies when everything was at a low state; there'll never be anyone like her for looks, for attitude, for all of it.
[Concerning her and other stars' status as World War II pin-up queens] A lot of these kids don't have any women in their life to fight for - I guess what you would call us girls is kind of their inspiration. It is a grave responsibility.
[When asked if her status as new mother threatened her image] I never thought of it. If they don't like it, the devil with 'em. Fact is, I've more fan mail since, especially from servicemen telling me about their wives and babies.
[on her November 19, 1937 marriage] I want to be Mrs. Jackie Coogan for life. [They divorced three months later]
Grable played the only two straight roles of her career in 1941, "A Yank in the R.A.F." and "I Wake Up Screaming".
[In 1942] Maybe it's a wholesome quality or an American girl quality. People write to me as if I were a sister or friend.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page