On this day in history, September 14, 1982, Grace Kelly dies at age 52 after car crash
Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco died on this day in history at the age of 52. The former Hollywood starlet left show business in 1956 when she married Prince Rainier III.
Hollywood actress turned real-life princess Grace Kelly died on this day in history, Sept. 14, 1982.
Kelly, 52, died the day after she suffered a stroke while driving and crashed her car in the Côte d'Azur region of France.
The car careened down a 45-foot embankment — mortally wounding Kelly.
Her daughter, Stephanie, was also in the car with her mother, but did not suffer serious injuries.
Born in Philadelphia to a wealthy Irish Catholic family on Nov. 12, 1929, Kelly made her Broadway debut in November 1949, says Encyclopedia Britannica.
Two years later, in 1951, Kelly first appeared on the silver screen with a minor role in the film "Fourteen Hours," notes IMDB.
Her next film, "High Noon," was her "breakthrough role," said Encyclopedia Britannica.
Kelly was nominated for the Academy Award for "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" for her portrayal of Linda Nordley in the 1953 film "Mogambo."
While she lost that award to actress Donna Reed, Kelly did not have to wait very long for recognition from the Academy of Motion Pictures.
In 1955, Kelly won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the film "The Country Girl."
Playing the "dowdy wife of an alcoholic actor," notes Encyclopedia Britannica, Kelly beat out performances from Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Wyman and Dorothy Dandridge to win Best Actress that year.
Kelly was also well known for her work with legendary Hollywood director Alfred Hitchcock, notes the Hitchcock fan website "The Hitchcock Zone."
She starred in three of his films: "Dial M for Murder," "Rear Window," and "To Catch a Thief."
While Kelly's star rose quickly in Hollywood, her film career would abruptly end in 1956 with her marriage to Monaco's Prince Rainier III.
In a story that seemed ripped from the pages of a fairy tale, Kelly met Prince Rainier III in May 1955.
The two were set up by actress Olivia de Havilland and her husband, Pierre Galante, the editor of Paris-Match.
While de Havilland and Galante were on a train en route to Cannes, Galante learned that Kelly was also aboard.
He came up with the idea to introduce her to Prince Rainier.
When the train arrived in Cannes, de Havilland ran over to Kelly and suggested that the two meet.
Their initial meeting did not begin well.
After a series of scheduling difficulties, coupled with a strike that shut off electricity to the city, Kelly arrived with wet, slicked back hair and the only unwrinkled outfit that she had.
Once Kelly arrived, she was kept occupied for 55 minutes by the palace's maitre d'hotel Michel Demaurizi.
"It was nearly 4 p.m. when my father finally appeared in the royal antechamber," Prince Albert told Paris-Match in a 2022 interview. "A few shots were made. The famous handshake photograph, posed."
Prince Rainier took Kelly to his palace's gardens and private zoo and "let his charm work."
And the charm did indeed work: Kelly and Prince Rainier announced their engagement on Jan. 5, after a seven-month courtship.
They were married civilly on April 18 in Monaco, followed by a religious wedding the following day at St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Kelly's wedding dress was a gift to her by her studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was designed by costume designer Helen Rose, says the Philadelphia Museum of Art's website. The dress can be viewed at the museum.
Rose had previously dressed Kelly for four of her films.
"Conceived to complement the bride’s fairy-princess image, [the dress] is made of silk faille and antique Brussels lace embellished with pearls and was constructed with meticulous care — and under strict security — by MGM’s wardrobe department," said the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
After her wedding, Kelly became officially known as Princess Grace of Monaco.
Kelly and Rainier had three children: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Stephanie.
Princess Stephanie, who was 17 years old, was with her mother at the time of her stroke and car crash.
She suffered a hairline fracture in her neck but made a full recovery.
Kelly, however, never regained consciousness.
Her funeral Mass took place on Sept. 18, 1982, at St. Nicholas Cathedral. She was buried at the cathedral in the Grimaldi family crypt.
Prince Rainier III never remarried. He died in 2005 at age 81.
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