Gloria Grahame actress Song of the Thin Man

Song of the Thin Man (1947)

Gloria Grahame (November 28, 1923 – October 5, 1981) was an Academy Award-winning American film actress. Grahame was born Gloria Hallward in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Jean McDougal, who used the stage name Jean Grahame, was a stage actress and acting teacher who taught Gloria acting during her childhood and adolescence. She was signed to a contact with MGM Studios after Louis B. Mayer saw her performing on Broadway. Changing her name to Gloria Grahame, she made her film debut in Blonde Fever (1944) and scored her most widely praised role as the neurotic small town girl Violet, who is saved from a disgraceful and disheartening future by George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). MGM was not able to develop her potential as a star and her contract was sold to RKO Studios in 1947. Grahame was often featured in film noir pictures as a tarnished beauty with an irresistible sexual allure. During this time, she made films for several Hollywood studios. She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Crossfire (1947). Grahame starred with Humphrey Bogart in the 1950 film In a Lonely Place, a performance which garnered her considerable praise. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). Grahame is possibly best remembered for her role as the mob moll in The Big Heat (1953). In what was considered a horrifying scene at the time, she is disfigured by boiling coffee thrown in her face by Lee Marvin’s character. Grahame was often regarded as a difficult actress to work with, and her career began to wane after her quixotic, but successful casting in the musical movie Oklahoma! (1955). Grahame was seen as difficult to cast with the demise of film noir, a woman too beautiful to be strictly evil, yet too naughty to be an innocent ingenue. She began a slow return to the theater, but returned to films occasionally to play supporting roles, mostly in minor releases. Grahame has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 6522 Hollywood Boulevard. Grahame had a string of stormy romances and failed marriages during her time in Hollywood. These difficulties began to affect her career after marital and child custody problems began to influence Grahame on the set of Oklahoma!. In 1960, even Hollywood was scandalized after her marriage to Tony Ray, Grahame’s former stepson and son of her ex-husband Nicholas Ray (In A Lonely Place, Rebel Without a Cause) whom she had divorced eight years previously. Gloria ended up having children by both father and son. Finding film roles difficult to obtain in Hollywood, she returned to the theater and continued to work as a stage actress. In 1981, Grahame collapsed during a rehearsal for a British stage play, and returned to New York City, where she died soon after from breast cancer at the age of 57. She is interred in Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California. An account of her last days is given in the book Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner. She was survived by her children from various marriages, and a sister.