Grace Bradley Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Dana Point, California, USA
Birth NameGrace Elsa Bradley
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A petite and extremely lovely blonde "B" film actress who eventually deserted her career in favor of standing by her man (cowboy icon William Boyd, aka, "Hopalong Cassidy"), Grace Bradley spent the rest of her life in his shadow and devoting herself to her husband's career. Bill's Hoppy was the longest span of any fictional character played by the same actor. Following his death in 1972, she spent a good deal of her time keeping his good name and image in tact.

The former film lead and second lead was born in Brooklyn on September 21, 1913, and initially studied to be a concert pianist. At age 15 she played Carnegie Hall, representing the state of New York in one of its annual competitions for up-and-coming pianists. The accomplished pianist also took advantage of her budding loveliness by modeling full time and taking singing/dancing lessons on the sly. She went on to act, sing, and dance on the Broadway stage in the musicals "Strike Me Pink" and "The Little Show". While performing at the Paradise nightclub in Manhattan in 1933, the dancer was "discovered" by a Paramount Pictures director and signed for films.

Heading west, she often came off as an assertive "bad girl" or femme-fatale at Paramount with such fun, party-girl names as Goldie, Trixie, Flossie, Lily and Sadie. Her first full-length movie was as a second lead in the Bing Crosby/Jack Oakie musical comedy Too Much Harmony (1933), in which she sang and danced to the feisty tune "Cradle Me With a Hotcha Lullaby". She subsequently appeared in the W.C. Fields classic Six of a Kind (1934); the Richard Arlen pictures Come On, Marines! (1934) and She Made Her Bed (1934); the Claudette Colbert/Fred MacMurray comedy The Gilded Lily (1935), and had the female lead opposite Bruce Cabot in Redhead (1934). Appearing secondary in the Bing Crosby/Ethel Merman version of Anything Goes (1936), her musical talents were tapped into with the films The Cat's-Paw (1934), Stolen Harmony (1935), Old Man Rhythm (1935), Sitting on the Moon (1936) and Wake Up and Live (1937). Elsewhere, various "B" male co-stars would include Wallace Ford, Lee Tracy, Jack Haley, John Boles, Robert Livingston, Jack Holt and Robert Armstrong.

Grace was doing quite well in her modest career in 1937 when she happened to cross paths with Bill Boyd, who became (literally) her "Prince Charming on a big white horse". She had harbored a long-time school-girl crush on the man and she was instantly smitten upon their first meeting. He was 42 and she 23. Their courtship was fast and furious. He asked her to marry him within a few days and they were married three weeks later on June 5th. Boyd had already been married four times, none lasting any longer than six years. Grace would become the fifth (and last) Mrs. William Boyd in a marriage that would last 35 years. The couple had no children together; Bill had one child from his third marriage.

Grace continued on with her cinematic career for a time. She appeared in the mystery Romance on the Run (1938) with Donald Woods; enjoyed top billing in the "B" crimer The Invisible Killer (1939); supported heavy-duty singers Allan Jones and Susanna Foster in the musical romance The Hard-Boiled Canary (1941); and provided decorative diversion in the Jack London adventure Sign of the Wolf (1941) opposite Michael Whalen. Her last three pictures had the actress co-starring as Sadie McGuerin and mingling with cab company owners William Bendix and Joe Sawyer in the Hal Roach full-length comedies Brooklyn Orchid (1942), Two Mugs from Brooklyn (1942), and Taxi, Mister (1943). She then retired completely.

By 1944, Boyd's movie career had faltered and the couple sought the purchasing rights to his old movies and the identifiable Hoppy character. Selling their Malibu ranch home and moving to a Hollywood apartment, the risk paid off. By 1946 he had formed his own production company and began churning out new Hopalong Cassidy films and serials. They took the character to episodic TV in 1948 and he became a heroic hit all over again. "Hoppymania" burst onto the American scene with hundreds of products bearing his name and likeness becoming instant collectible items (lunch boxes, tee shirts, toy guns, etc.).

William Lawrence Boyd retired from show business in 1953 quite wealthy. He and his wife then moved to Palm Desert, California. In 1968, Bill had surgery to remove a tumor from a lymph gland and, from that point on, refused all requests for interviews and photographs. Suffering from Parkinson's disease, he died of heart failure in Laguna Beach in 1972 at age 77. Grace went on to spend the last decades of her life devoting herself to volunteer work at the Laguna Beach hospital where her husband lived out his final days. She later withstood legal battles that stemmed from copyright infringements, but enjoyed appearing occasionally at Hopalong Cassidy tributes. The definitive biography Hopalong Cassidy - An American Legend was co-authored by Grace and Michael Cochran in 2008.

Grace Bradley Boyd died of complications from old age at age 97 on her birthday, and was interred next to her husband at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Clendale, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

William Boyd (5 June 1937 - 12 September 1972) ( his death)

Trivia (13)

Grace had been a fan of William Boyd for years, claiming since age 12 that one day she would marry him. When he called the actress to attend a party he was giving at his house, she believed the invitation was a prank played by her friends. Upon realizing it WAS Boyd, she immediately accepted, and the rest is history.
Her husband died nine days before her 59th birthday.
Was educated at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Was discovered by a Broadway producer during a recital.
Is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Sacred Promise.
She endured years of fighting for the legal rights to her late husband's 66 "Hopalong Cassidy" features.
She devoted her time to a lot of volunteer work at the Laguna Beach Hospital where her husband had spent his final days.
Was a staunch conservative Republican.
Was the lead actress in the original Broadway production of "Strike Me Pink" (1933) when she left the show to begin her Hollywood career. Her role was later taken over by Dorothy Dare who later found herself in Tinsel Town working as a musical movie star.
Chose not to renew her Paramount Pictures contract upon its 1943 expiration wanting to devote time to help her husbands movie cowboy image.
Every year until her death she traveled to Ohio in May to attend the annual Hopalong Cassidy Festival.
All though, in black and white films, her hair looked blond, in reality Grace was a natural redhead.
She died on her 97th birthday.

Personal Quotes (6)

Everybody I talk to is looking for a hero. They say, "If only we had Hoppy again," or somebody like that. The children don't have role models. Who do we have?
I made a point of being in the background. As far as the kids were concerned, Hoppy was Hoppy. He didn't have a wife or family. When the young ones would ask, "Who are You?," I'd say, "I'm Hoppy's mommy."
[speaking of her contract release from Paramount in 1935] To be honest I think they were sick of seeing me about the lot. I didn't want to leave the studio, not because of my film career, but because William Boyd was there and a big star. Just the thought of him made me lose all composure.
[speaking in reference to William Boyd] The marriage was not always easy. I used to have to fight the women off with a club. They'd be crawling under the bed in hotels because he really was a very handsome man. His eyes were that light, piercing china blue - with black eyebrows and platinum-colored hair.
[Speaking about William Boyd] He was absolutely charismatic, everything went together - his face, his eyes, his body, his voice...he was just Hoppy.
[speaking in reference to William Boyd] I fell in love with him and wrote his name on all my school books - Bill Boyd, Will, My Boy Billy and so on. How could I ever have dreamed that he would one day become my husband?

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