Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Starlets of the 1950's-1960's...Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren
Grace Kelly was born in Philadelphia PA on November 12, 1929. Her brother, John Jr, was an olympic athlete and she also had two sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth. Grace did some modelling and amateur acting in high school, which led her to pursue acting after graduation. She then attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she starred in a production of The Philadelphia Story, a fact that is especially interesting, considering that the musical version of the same story 'High Society', would be her last film.
Dramatic Schooling led to her appearance on over sixty television programs during the late 1940's, and eventually to her first motion picture, Fourteen Hours. The film came and went without much notice but Grace was noticed by an important person indeed, actor Gary Cooper. As she continued to act on television and in the theater, a deal was in the works to place her opposite Cooper himself in the enormously popular film, High Noon. The film rocketed her to super stardom and during the fifties, she made a slew of huge box office hits and became the most fashionable icon of the day. The role of Lisa Fremont ('Rear Window') was especially remarkable to me since it first paired Grace with designer Edith Head and, in my opinion, made an impression of remarkable impact on the style of actresses, in general. She also won an oscar for her portrayal in 'The Country Girl', an unglamorous role that exceptionally showcased her acting skills.
In 1955, Grace was invited to share in a photo shoot at the Palace of Monaco, with the Prince himself, who was an avid fan. Upon a visit to the US, Prince Rainer met with Grace after a short correspondence. He also met with her family and after only three days, he proposed. The wedding of the 'century' was set for April 19th, 1956. It was a 40 minute 'civil ceremony' that took place with much 'pomp' and many guests vying to set eyes on the new Princess Consort. The gorgeous dress worn by Grace was designed by Helen Rose and was the work of over a dozen seamstresses and six weeks of labor. The couple left that evening for a seven week Meditteranean cruise and Grace was officially a Princess.
The couple had three children before Grace returned, in a limited way, to the arts. Most of these were in the form of narration or charitable acts of support for various art institutions. She also spoke freely in her support of La Leche League, a group that advocates breastfeeding and its benefits.
Grace had a famous friendship with Josephine Baker. In 1951, Grace stood up for what she deemed right when she boldly spoke out against the Stork Club in NY, for their racist refusal to wait on Josephine. The friendship evidently was maintained throughout Grace's marriage. When Baker approached bankruptcy, Kelly and the Prince offered financial assistance and at the time of Josephine's death, Grace secured her burial in Monoco.
In 1982, Grace suffered a stroke while driving home w/ her daughter, Stephanie. The stroke resulted in her vehicle leaving the road and careening down a mountainside. She died as a result of her injuries on the following day. Stephanie only suffered comparatively minor injuries. The Prince and the entire world mourned; the former of which did not remarry and was buried by her side at his death in 2005.
The world will never forget Grace's effortless presence, her poise, her beauty, and most of all-her wonderful movies that continue to make an impact today.
'God Bless You, Princess Grace'~James Stewart.
Sofia Villani Scicolone was born in Rome on September 20, 1934. During WW2, the family moved to Naples, to avoid bombing raids on the city. She was a shy child and it wasnt until the age of 14 that people began to truly take notice of her extraordinary beauty, when she placed as a finalist in a local beauty contest. From there, she entered extra work in the movies.
After a long relationship with Carlo Ponti, who met her in 1950, a divorce was finally granted him by his wife in 1966, when he married Loren and made their relationship valid. They had two children, Carlo Jr and Eduoardo. During this time, Sophia's career was steadily rising. By 1957, she had a series of popular films, starring opposite such leading men as Cary Grant (who reportedly fell in love with her)and Frank Sinatra.
In 1960, the film 'Two Women' garnered Loren a series of awards, including the Oscar, and catapulted her from 'sex symbol' to bonafide actress. Her films haven't all been box office successes, but she has a credible movie roster to her name. In addition to acting, she enjoyed singing and recorded several songs during her career.
Motherhood slowed Sophia down considerably and made her more careful in choosing her roles. She still makes appearances in an occasional film and can be seen often at awards shows and other ceremonies. She is , to this day, stunningly beautiful, gracious, and endearing.
'Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti'~Sophia Loren