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Betty Grable

Betty Grable

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Also Known As: Frances Dean, Elizabeth Ruth Grable Died: July 2, 1973
Born: December 18, 1916 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The biggest box office star of the 1940s and the most desired WWII pin-up girl, acting-singing-dancing triple-threat Betty Grable became the stuff of Hollywood legend after her studio reportedly insured her famously gorgeous legs for $1 million with Lloyd's of London - the same legs that were captured in one of the most iconic photographic images of the 20th century. After a decade of toiling with minor roles in dozens of films, Grable rose to fame with the musical "Down Argentine Way" (1940). From there it was on to a string of hits alongside leading men that included Victor Mature, Cesar Romero and Dan Dailey in such films as "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), "Coney Island" (1943) and "Mother Wore Tights" (1947), respectively. So desired was the bubbly blonde that bandleader Harry James became the most envied man in America when he famously wed the pin-up queen in 1943. Grable single-handedly caused Twentieth Century stock to soar for a solid decade before the girl-next-door's Technicolor reign began to wind down. Even as the sun was setting on Grable's movie career by the early 1950s - as had her desire to continue to make movies - she enjoyed one final hit as she passed the torch to her successor and...

The biggest box office star of the 1940s and the most desired WWII pin-up girl, acting-singing-dancing triple-threat Betty Grable became the stuff of Hollywood legend after her studio reportedly insured her famously gorgeous legs for $1 million with Lloyd's of London - the same legs that were captured in one of the most iconic photographic images of the 20th century. After a decade of toiling with minor roles in dozens of films, Grable rose to fame with the musical "Down Argentine Way" (1940). From there it was on to a string of hits alongside leading men that included Victor Mature, Cesar Romero and Dan Dailey in such films as "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), "Coney Island" (1943) and "Mother Wore Tights" (1947), respectively. So desired was the bubbly blonde that bandleader Harry James became the most envied man in America when he famously wed the pin-up queen in 1943. Grable single-handedly caused Twentieth Century stock to soar for a solid decade before the girl-next-door's Technicolor reign began to wind down. Even as the sun was setting on Grable's movie career by the early 1950s - as had her desire to continue to make movies - she enjoyed one final hit as she passed the torch to her successor and fellow Fox contract player, Marilyn Monroe, in "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953). Grable gracefully retired from film two years later and enjoyed a brief run in a hugely successful Broadway mounting of "Hello, Dolly!" in 1967 before her untimely passing six years later. While some of the films in her incredibly prolific canon may not have stood the test of time, there was no denying the joy Betty Grable brought to many fans, both at home and abroad, during that pivotal decade in American history.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Going Hollywood: The War Years (1983) Herself (Archival Footage)
2.
 Three for the Show (1955) Julie Stewart Lowndes
3.
 How To Be Very, Very Popular (1955) Stormy Tornado
4.
 The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953) Molly Larkins
5.
 How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) Loco Dempsey
6.
 Call Me Mister (1951) Kay Hudson
7.
 Meet Me After the Show (1951) Delilah Lee, also known as Kitty Lee and Sheba
8.
 My Blue Heaven (1950) Kitty Moran
9.
 Wabash Avenue (1950) Ruby Summers
10.
 The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949) [Winifred] Freddie [Jones, also known as Hilda Swandumper]
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Signed by Samuel Goldwyn, who changed her name to Frances Dean; began playing bit parts in films, beginning with the Samuel Goldwyn-produced musical "Whoopee" starring Eddie Cantor
1940:
Achieved star status in film with "Down Argentine Way"
1940:
Appeared in first of four starring films opposite John Payne, "Tin Pan Alley", which also co-starred 20th Century Fox's other leading blonde female musical star, Alice Faye; Grable and Payne had earlier appeared together in "College Swing" (1938) but were not stars
1942:
First made annual exhibitors' list of top ten boxoffice stars, placing eighth; would make the list for ten years in a row (the only female star ever to do so)
1942:
Made first of four films in which Cesar Romero was one of her leading men, "Springtime in the Rockies"
1947:
Made first of four films co-starring Dan Dailey, "Mother Wore Tights"
1951:
Last appearance on exhibitors' top ten boxoffice list; placed third
1955:
Made last film, "How to Be Very, Very Popular"
:
Appeared on Broadway in the late 1960s in the title role of long-running hit musical, "Hello, Dolly!", After Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers and Martha Raye had already played the title role; also went on tour with a company with the play
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hollywood Professional School: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

Grable's boxoffice potency (and durability) is proven by her record in the annual poll of exhibitors for their top ten stars: 8th place in 1942, 1st in 1943, 4th in 1944 and 1945, 9th in 1946, 2nd in 1947 and 1948, 7th in 1949, 4th in 1950, and 3rd in 1951. No other female star in the history of the poll (which began in 1932) has made the list ten years in a row (the female stars who come the closest are Doris Day and Barbra Streisand).

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Jackie Coogan. Actor. Married in 1937; divorced in 1940.
husband:
Harry James. Trumpeter, bandleader. Married in 1943; divorced in 1965.

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