Grace Kelly is remembered as one of the most beautiful and elegant actresses who ever lived, and with such beauty… comes rumors that you have romanced every one of your co-stars. Celebrity gossip is not a new art.
I’m just finished reading Gina McKinnon’s book What Would Grace Do?, and included is a section on whether or not there is actual evidence that any of these co-star romances occurred. Since I’m putting some of the book’s advice to the test and as such won’t be posting a full review until later in the year, I thought it would be fun today to share some of McKinnon’s conclusions about Grace and her potential man-friends.
The Suitors (Alphabetically by last name)
- Gary Cooper
- Bing Crosby
- Tony Curtis
- Clark Gable
- William Holden
- Ray Milland
The jury’s out on Gary Cooper. He and Grace worked together on High Noon, when she was still an unknown actress getting her first credited role. Biographer Donald Spoto insists that there is no evidence of a romance between the two aside from gossip, but McKinnon thinks “there might well have been a roll or two in the hay bales,” since Grace’s sister Lizanne admitted that Grace was infatuated with Cooper. I’m inclined to side with Spoto on this one, though McKinnon insists he wears “Grace-colored glasses,” since McKinnon’s only evidence is one gossipy remark from Lizanne, which really only admits that Grace was attracted to Cooper.
Bing Crosby and Grace did apparently date after his wife’s death. (McKinnon says their relationship is “well documented,” though I actually wasn’t aware they’d ever dated!) However, there have also been rumors that they were together before his wife’s death as well. James Spada, a biographer, claims to have heard this from Alan Ladd’s wife, who was sure Ladd had let Grace and Bing rendezvous in his home. It’s all just as-yet-unfounded gossip. Looks like the jury’s out on this one, too, though romance did eventually blossom for the pair.
Tony Curtis was married to Janet Leigh at the time when Grace was filming The Country Girl, and Grace was having that brief romance with widower Bing Crosby. But while this match-up seems unlikely due to their existing commitments, Tony Curtis himself reportedly admitted it to Wendy Leigh, a Grace Kelly biographer. To me it sounds like he could have been trying (unsuccessfully) to be funny, making a joke about all of the other rumors about her. He used coarse language and described her in a way that a gossipy mag might rather than referring to her by name.
The Clark Gable rumors stem from Ava Gardner’s admission that Grace and Clark had eyes for each other, as well as a drunken memory by actor Donald Sinden of accidentally stumbling into Gable’s tent and finding the two together, during the filming of Mogambo. Kelly’s mom has offered up conflicting claims about the pair, calling Grace’s affection for Gable a “schoolgirl crush” but then admitting that they were “practically living together.” Once again, the jury’s out!
If all of these rumors are true, Grace must have been having a grand ol’ time on the set of The Country Girl, for the Grimaldi family themselves have confirmed that Grace had an affair with the very charming but very married Bill Holden while filming both The Bridges at Toko-Ri and The Country Girl, according to McKinnon.
McKinnon seems to buy into the rumors about Grace and Ray Milland — she hilariously describes the affair as “a slice of ‘action’ from the set of Dial M for Murder not directed by Alfred Hitchcock.” I’m skeptical, though, because their origin is an issue of Confidential magazine — the quarterly-published 1950s equivalent of today’s Kardashian-obsessed tabloids, but with a Fox News-ish conservative spin. Confidential is, needless to say, not the most reliable source for truth.
Most of these rumors seem like a bunch of hoo-bunky to me, but they’re funny to read about, anyway. I’ve always been one to focus on an actor’s work rather than their personal life, so I actually had no clue that Grace was linked with some of these people, and I’m still not convinced those “links” were real in most cases.