Grace Kelly


  1. Constance Smith,  Taxi, 1953.      Kelly’s agent showed her Taxi test around and two legendary directors were first to  jump. “This dame has breeding, quality and class,” said John Ford, grabbing her for Mogambo.   Alfred  Hitchcock adored her “sexual elegance” and  snapped her up for Dial M For Murder. “You could see Grace’s potential for restraint.
  2. Eva Marie Saint, On The Waterfront, 1954.    Grace lost Marlon Brando  from High Noon, and now lost him again. “I finally decided it was ridiculous,” said director Elia Kazan. “Who would have believed Grace Kelly… grew up in the wilds of the Hoboken waterfront.”  Grace got Brando on the night of March 30, 1955, after they won top acting Oscars (Eva Marie won  supporting actress) and they were found in  bed by Grace’s lover, just beaten to the Oscar. Just not Bing Crosby’s night.
  3. Susan Hayward, Soldier of Fortune, 1954.   At 53, Clark Gable (and the critics!) agreed he was far too old for this kind  of  Macao action  caper… Yet still young enough to have the 28-years-younger Kelly as his partner! 
  4. Gloria Grahame, The Cobweb, 1954.      Director Vincente Minnelli’s initial choice.
  5. Yvonne De Carlo, The Ten Commandments, 1954.
  6. Kay Kendall, The Adventures of Quentin Durward,  1955.   She laughed it off as  “a cowboy story in armour.”  But MGM wanted a second Ivanhoe for Robert Taylor. This wasn’t it.
  7. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  8. Jean Simmons, Guys and Dolls, 1955.   Producer Sam Goldwyn aimed high: Kelly and Kelly, Gene and Grace,  as Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown. Simmons only discovered this after the first rushes, when Goldwyn took her  face in his hands and said: “I’m so glad I couldn’t get Grace Kelly.”
  9. Shirley MacLaine, The Trouble With Harry, 1955.     After Dial M For Murder and Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock planned  to make four in succession with Grace.
  10. Irene Papas, Tribute To A Bad Man, 1955.      When Kelly cooled, Spencer Tracy began to question his own interest on the project.  Grace finally  refused it after the lowly Green Fire at MGM  – in order to join Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, To Catch A Thief  and Monaco… where she met this prince fella.

  11. Virginia Mayo, Great Day in the Morning, 1955.     Producer Edmund Grainger could not decide whether to go young or old for his Colorado Western. For his leading lady he thought of Kelly (didn’t everyone!) or the six years older Shelley Winters. (Worse for the hero, when he hesitated between Robert Mitchum and the 25 years older William Powell!) 
  12. Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, 1955.    When MGM voted for Hayward over June Allyson for the alcoholic Broadway/Hollywood singing star Lillian Roth, director Charles Walters stormed out and Daniel Mann strolled in. Also in the loop were Roths of all ages… Piper Laurie, 22; Grace Kelly and Jean Simmons, 25; Janet Leigh, 27 ; Jane Russell, 33; and Jane Wyman, like Allyson and Hayward, 37. On Oscarnight, Hayward lost a fourth time.
  13. June Allyson, The Opposite Sex, 1955.    Manhattan Island: A body of land consisting of four million square males – completely surrounded by women.” (Bigger than Monaco!) For the remake of MGM’s The Women, 1939, Kelly, Eleanor Parker and even mermaid Esther Williams were in the frame to succeed Norma Shearer as Kay Ashley Hilliard. Another of the ’39 cast, Joan Crawford commented: “We towered compared to those pygmies in the remake.”
  14. Sophia Loren, The Pride and The Passion, 1956.     Cary Grant (not Frank  Sinatra)  had co-star approval. When Ava Gardner had to be ruled out (Sinatra was divorcing her), Cary called up Grace – but she was headed to Monaco. Director Stanley Kramer went with his first choice. Enter: Sophia for $200,000 – and within a week, “we fell in love,” said Sophia. “But I was also in love with Carlo [Ponti, her mentor-producer].” Both men were married at the time; and, indeed, Grant  had been having a fling with a young Spanish hunk.
  15. Doris Day, The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956.    “Graciebird” was now a serene highness princess. So Alfred Hitchcock had to loookl elsewhjere… and they told him  Doris was hot.  At the box-office, maybe.
  16.  Lauren Bacall, Designing Woman, 1956.    Co-star Jimmy Stewart was there when Grace delivered the understatement of the year to the boss:  “Mr Schary, I’m going to get married.”  Director  Joshua Logan said that  Jim  “was – well – ecstastic about working with Grace again” and lost all interest when she split for Monaco and Lauren Bacall took over.  “I don’t know for sure if Jim would have strayed with Kelly,” added Logan. “But Grace, you know, could seduce a man with just a look from those big, warm eyes. I don’t think a man could help himself where she was concerned.”  
  17. Dana Wynter, Something of Value, 1957.     No thanks, she had already  had her cherished African trip in Mogambo, 1953.  And with Clark Gable. Difficult to top that.
  18. Jennifer Jones, The Barrets of Wimpole Street, 1957.    She agreed to High Society and The Swan but the third MGM plan became a revenge for Jones, who had been replaced  by Grace in her Oscar-winning Country Girl, 1954. Sidney Franklin had also directed the 1933 Wimpole Street (with Norma Shearer) and used the exact same scenario.
  19. Elizabeth Taylor, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, 1957.  She could never have become Monaco’s Serene Highness if she’d made this (even expurgated) Tenneesee Williams play about a highly sexed wife and a husband made  impotent following the death oif his closest (or closet) friend. The toast of Broadway –  Bel Geddes and Ben Gazzara – were thumb-downed bv MGM. Carroll Baker. Ava Gardner,  Lana Turner were seen. Then, enter: Taylor and Paul Newman.. Uneasy at first until realising they were fruit from the same tree. Not great actors, yet knowing, instinctively, how to play to a camera – never over-egging it.  Taylor’s husband, producer Mike Todd, died in a plane crash on March 22, 1958. She  collapsed but returned to work between April 14-May 19.  “The film saved my life.”
  20. Kim Novak, Bell, Book and Candle, 1958.   Cary  Grant wanted it for him and his third wife, Betsy Drake. But MCA had already grabbed the play for Stewart –Lew Wasserman’s favourite client. (Neither news delighted Cary, who quit Wasserman  by 1960 for suggesting a Grant TV series).  Also in the witch mix were Susan Hayward (with Rex Harrison), Jennifer Jones and – Cary’s favourite. Grace Kelly. 

  21. Eva Marie Saint, North By Northwest, 1959.    By now, Alfred Hitchcock had lost her to the principality of Monaco…  which  as Metro boss Dore Schary pointed out to His Serene Highness  Prince Rainier, was a country smaller than  the MGM back lot. Metro wanted Cyd Charisse, Hitch preferred Elizabeth Taylor, but wanted  another signature blonde. The svelte EMS rather than Virginia McKenna, Psycho’s dull Vera Miles or Kim Novak from his Vertigo
  22. Siobhán McKenna, King of Kings, 1960.  Titles, directors and actors changed what was Son of Man or The Sword and the Cross in 1952, evolved through John Farrow, King Vidor and, ultimately, Nicholas Ray.  Producer Samuel; Bronston hated the script. ‘I cannot even understand this, it’s all Thee and Thou and everything else.” Jocelyn Brando and Grace Kelly were in the mix for Mary, the mother of Jesus.  (Rita Gam, Kelly’s best Hollywood pal and, indeed, bridesmaid at her royal Monaco wedding, stayed aboard as Herodias).
  23. Daniela Bianchi, From Russia With Love, 1962.
  24. Tippi Hedren, The Birds, 1962.    Always due for Grace, it was put on back burner  for a  possible Hitchcock TV tale. Tippi  got the call that an anonymous producer-director was interested in  her on Friday October 13, 1961. When it proved to be Hitch – and being a New York model “on the wane” – she figured  that any contract  would be for his TV series. Three days of tests later, using scenes from Rebecca, Notorious, To Catch A Thief – opposite Martin Balsam, specially flown in from  New York – meant it was for a big movie. “I really did not expect that.” He had loved the way she had turned her head to a wolf-whistle in a diet drink commercial – so he repeated in it in the film. Hitch tried to do more than whistle… “To be the object of somebody’s obsession is a really awful feeling when you can’t return it… It was something I’d never experienced before. It wasn’t love. I certainly am not capable of discerning what was going through his mind or why. I certainly gave no indication that I was ever interested in a relationship with him… He was funny. I learned so much from the man about how to make a motion picture. There were times of delight and joy with him.”

  25. Tippi Hedren, Marnie, 1963.
    She had now been  Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, wife of the ruling Prince Rainier III since 1956. She missed her old life and agreed, quietly, to undertake a fourth  thriller with her main mentor, Alfred Hitchcock – and Marlon Brando! (He became Sean  Connery. “A pity that fell through,” he said. “The approach came from her, not me. Throughout the  negotiations, we had no contact at all.  It  was all done through agents.   In fact,  when I read about it in  the paper, I sent her a wire:  WHAT AN  INTERESTING PIECE  OF  NEWS.  She only cancelled the project because of repercussions at home.”  Obviously, Prince Rainier  wouldn’t let his princess return to movies  as he knew her habit of bedding her leading men… and  as Tippi Hedren said to Hitchcock after rehearsing with Sean Connery: “Marnie is supposed to be frigid – have you seen him?”  “Yes, my dear,”  said Hitch, “it’s called acting.”  And, naturally,  the Monagasque people  had anunfavorable” view of her playing  one where she was not only a kleptomaniac but a victim of rape. Some people loved the film.  Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Welles never did. “Tippi Hedren delivered the brittle and repressed, but she couldn’t deliver the eros – it just wasn’t there. It’s a film about repression, constipation and memory panic, but he wanted Hedren to deliver ‘the volcano’, as he once said. But she couldn’t. Grace Kelly… might have succeeded. I appreciate that Marnie is as much about Hitchcock self-portraiture as Vertigo was. In actuality,  Hitch was basically Connery’s Mark Rutland character, an authority figure using power and pressure to get Marnie/Hedren to sleep with him.  Rutland and Vertigo‘s Scotty Ferguson are both rooted in a pervy, twisted psychology. And their respective lead females are liars, fakers and unreliable narrators The bottom line? Hitch adored his ice queens (‘There are hills in that thar gold’) but at the end of the day his big erotic fixation was upon food.” And here’s Hedren on lovelorn Hitch: ”He was evil, deviant, almost to the point of dangerous because of the effect he could have on people who were totally unsuspecting. He ruined my career… but he didn’t ruin my life.”

  26. Eleanor Parker, The Sound of  Music, 1964.  Ah, thought Fox, now that’s she;s a princess, Grace was  all the  more suited to  The Baroness.  Maybe, said Grace, but I’m  retired. (She later joined  the Fox board of directors). Critic Pauline Kael famously tried to bury”the sugar-coated lie that people seem to want to eat” but it  saved Fox from the near bankruptcy  of the Cleopatra debacle.
  27. Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970.    .   Janet Whosis?  Exactly.  And that was the problem with Sam Spiegel’s latest epic.  Despite his track record, Columbia wouldn’t  give jhim enough money  to hire Julie Christie, Audrey Hepburn,  or Liv Ullmann as the wife of Tsar Nicholas II, Russia’s last monarch… . not, though,  the country’s last despot. Grace Kelly was also requested but you can’t expect a Princess yto lay a Tsarina, now can you.   At least, she attended the Royal premiere in Monte Carlo. Didn’t help this “irredeemably dull… traipse through one of the most extraordinary events thew orld has known” (as per The Guardian critic Derek Malcolm). Almost a TVersion  with  co-dullards, Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman.
  28. Shirley MacLaine, The Turning Point, 1977.      Should have been Grace (now on the Fox board) and Audrey Hepburn. Choice of roles was –  obviously – Kelly’s. She felt drawn to the (ballet) star who dumped her career for marriage…  Hmm!














 Birth year: 1929Death year: 1982Other name: Casting Calls:  28