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Kathryn Grayson

Kathryn Grayson

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Also Known As: Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick Died: February 17, 2010
Born: February 9, 1922 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA Profession: singer, actor, radio performer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the favorite stars of screen musicals during their heyday in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Kathryn Grayson was a visually and vocally striking singer and actress who graced some of the most popular films of the postwar era, including "Anchors Aweigh" (1947) and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953). Blessed with a coloratura soprano from an early age, she caught the attention of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer while a teenager, and was signed to a contract without the benefit of a screen test or drama lessons. Her lack of formal training left her somewhat wanting as a screen actress, but her combination of looks and voice made her an ideal leading lady opposite some of the biggest male musical performers of the day, including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Mario Lanza, Gordon MacRae, and her personal favorite, Howard Keel, with whom she co-starred in several hit films. The demise of the Hollywood musical, however, brought her screen career to an end, though she remained active on stage in plays, musicals and opera for the next five decades, while the best of her film efforts earned classic status, ensuring her screen immortality.

One of the favorite stars of screen musicals during their heyday in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Kathryn Grayson was a visually and vocally striking singer and actress who graced some of the most popular films of the postwar era, including "Anchors Aweigh" (1947) and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953). Blessed with a coloratura soprano from an early age, she caught the attention of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer while a teenager, and was signed to a contract without the benefit of a screen test or drama lessons. Her lack of formal training left her somewhat wanting as a screen actress, but her combination of looks and voice made her an ideal leading lady opposite some of the biggest male musical performers of the day, including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Mario Lanza, Gordon MacRae, and her personal favorite, Howard Keel, with whom she co-starred in several hit films. The demise of the Hollywood musical, however, brought her screen career to an end, though she remained active on stage in plays, musicals and opera for the next five decades, while the best of her film efforts earned classic status, ensuring her screen immortality.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
2.
 The Vagabond King (1956) [Lady] Catherine [de Vaucelles]
3.
 Kiss Me Kate (1953) Lilli Vanessi "Katherine"
4.
 So This Is Love (1953) Grace Moore
5.
 The Desert Song (1953) Margot Birabeau
6.
 Lovely To Look At (1952) Stephanie
7.
 Show Boat (1951) Magnolia Hawks
8.
 Grounds for Marriage (1951) Ina Massine
9.
 The Toast of New Orleans (1950) Suzette Micheline
10.
 The Kissing Bandit (1949) Teresa
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Studied voice at the Chicago Civic Opera
1937:
Signed to a recording contract by RCA at age 15
:
Put under contract by MGM; abandoned recording career
1941:
First film appearance was in "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary" as Andy Hardy's secretary Kathryn Land
1942:
First romantic lead, "Seven Sweethearts"
1955:
First TV appearance, "General Electric Theater" (CBS); received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the episode "Shadow on the Heart"
1951:
Starred in the film adaptation of the musical, "Show Boat," opposite Ava Gardner and Howard Keel
1953:
Last film for MGM, "Kiss Me, Kate"
1956:
Co-starred in the musical film remake of "The Vagabond King"
1960:
Made operatic debut in "Madame Butterfly"
1962:
Replaced Julie Andrews as Guinevere in the Broadway production of "Camelot"
1978:
Appeared on TV in "Gene Kelly... An American in Pasadena"
1982:
Played first dramatic stage role in "Night Watch"
1987:
Starred in a stage production of the British farce, "Noises Off"
1987:
Had recurring role of Ideal Malloy on "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS)
1989:
Made TV appearance on "America's All-Star Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor"
1997:
Featured in "A Celebration of the Glorious MGM Musicals" at NYC's Carnegie Hall
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Manual Arts High School: Los Angeles , California -
Chicago Civic Opera: Chicago , Illinois -

Notes

Some sources give Ms. Grayson's birth year as 1923.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Shelton. Actor. Married in 1940; divorced in 1946; died in 1972.
husband:
Johnny Johnston. Singer, actor. Married in August 1947; divorced in 1951; died on January 6, 1996.
companion:
Robert Evans. Actor, producer. Dated in the late 1950s.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Clarence Hedrick.
mother:
Lillian Hedrick. Died at age 56 in December 1954.
brother:
Clarence Hedrick Jr. Older.
brother:
Michael Hedrick. Actor. Born c. 1917.
sister:
Mildred Frances Kurstin. Born c. 1924.
daughter:
Patricia Kathryn Johnston. Born in October 1948; married to actor Bobby Towers.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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