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 loanout, 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 divorcing Nicholas Ray, who was 37 years her senior, and after a subsequent marriage to Cy Howard ended in divorce, in 1960 she married her former stepson Anthony Ray who was the same age as she. This lead 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.
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 paydirt 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 was not idle during this period, however. She went back to stage work and did guest appearances on TV. She ultimately made it back to the screen, but the films were not particularly well received (or up to her previous standards). Her last two films were Melvin and Howard (1980) and The Nesting (1981). Gloria Grahame, one of Hollywood's most serious and skilled actresses, contracted cancer and died in New York City on October 5, 1981, at the age of 57. She was, without a doubt, one of the finest actresses ever to grace the screen. She did, indeed, remind legions of fans of the girl next door.IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
|Anthony Ray||(13 May 1960 - 4 May 1974) (divorced) 2 children|
|Cy Howard||(15 August 1954 - 31 October 1957) (divorced) 1 child|
|Nicholas Ray||(1 June 1948 - 14 August 1952) (divorced) 1 child|
|Stanley Clements||(29 August 1945 - 1 June 1948) (divorced)|
She often played floozies with a heart of gold
Earthy, sensual screen presence
Gloria was descended from royalty. Her father's family descended from King Edward III through John of Gaunt; her mother's, from the Scottish Kings of the Hebrides.
Gloria's grandfather Reginald Francis Hallward gave Oscar Wilde the idea for 'The Picture of Dorian Gray.'
Mother, Jean MacDougall, stage actress as Jean Grahame (Gloria's grandmother's maiden name) and later acting coach. Father, Michael Hallward, decorator, architect and author.
Gloria was not born in 1925 as usually stated, but in 1923.
Younger sister of Joy Hallward.
Gloria's children: by Nicholas Ray : Timothy Ray , born 12 November 1948. By Cy Howard ; Marianna Paulette Howard, born 1 October 1956; By Anthony Ray: Anthony Ray Jr., born 30 April 1963 and James Ray, born 21 September 1965.
In real life, she was nearsighted and often wore glasses.
Tone-deaf, she sang without dubbing in only one film, Oklahoma! (1955), where her songs were edited together from recordings made almost literally note by note.
Her unusual 1960 marriage to former stepson Anthony Ray made a great Hollywood scandal and led to a bitter child custody battle with former husbands.
Her film output totalled 39 feature films, 4 TV-movies and 2 miniseries.
Gloria spent her last days in the Liverpool (UK) home of her friend Peter Turner, then was flown back to New York by her children just hours before her death.
Unhappy with the tilt of her upper lip, she often stuffed cotton along her gumline to straighten it out. The effect was cosmetically less than flattering and made it difficult for her to speak. A leading man, after kissing her, ended up with a mouth full of cotton.
Buried at Oakwood Memorial Park, 22601 Lassen, Chatsworth, California. Pioneer Section Lot 242, Space 8.
In Italy, a great deal of her films were dubbed by Rina Morelli, but occasionally she was also dubbed by Renata Marini, most notably in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952); Lidia Simoneschi; Andreina Pagnani, in Fritz Lang's Human Desire (1954) and Wanda Tettoni in Crossfire (1947).
Profiled in "Killer Tomatoes: Fifteen Tough Film Dames" by Ray Hagen and Laura Wagner (McFarland, 2004).
Reportedly did not get on with Humphrey Bogart during the filming of In a Lonely Place (1950) as Bogart had campaigned for the part of Laurel Gray to be given to his wife Lauren Bacall, which was instead given to Grahame.
It wasn't the way I looked at a man, it was the thought behind it.
You go through life in a series of peaks and valleys.
There's always a race against time. I don't think for one moment that life gets better. How can it? One's body starts to fall apart.
I remember everything, even the dates. But I don't want others to remember the details, just the image.
I don't think I ever understood Hollywood.
I married Nicholas Ray, the director. People yawned. Later on I married his son, and from the press's reaction you'd have thought I was committing incest or robbing the cradle!
|The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)||$50,000|
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