Grahame, Gloria (1924–1981)

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Grahame, Gloria (1924–1981)

American actress who won an Academy Award for her role in The Bad and the Beautiful. Born Gloria Grahame Hallward on November 28, 1924, in Pasadena, California; died of cancer in New York, New York, on October 5, 1981; daughter of Michael (an industrial designer) and Jean (MacDougall) Hallward (an actress); attended Hollywood High School; married Stanley Clements (an actor), in 1945 (divorced 1948); married Nicholas Ray (a director), in 1948 (divorced 1952); married Cy Howard, in 1954 (divorced 1957); married Tony Ray; children: (second marriage) Tim Ray; (third marriage) Paulette Howard; (fourth marriage) two.


Blonde Fever (1944); Without Love (1945); It's a Wonderful Life (1946); It Happened in Brooklyn (1947); Crossfire (1947); Song of the Thin Man (1947); Merton of the Movies (1947); A Woman's Secret (1949); Roughshod (1949); In a Lonely Place (1950); The Greatest Show on Earth (1952); Macao (1952); Sudden Fear (1952); The Bad and the Beautiful (1952); The Glass Wall (1953); Man on a Tightrope (1953); The Big Heat (1953); Prisoners of the Casbah (1953); Human Desire (1954); Naked Alibi (1954); The Good Die Young (1955); Not as a Stranger (1955); The Cobweb (1955); Oklahoma! (1955); The Man Who Never Was (UK, 1956); Ride Out for Revenge (1957); Odds Against Tomorrow (1959); Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966); Blood and Lace (1971); The Todd Killings (1971); Chandler (1971); The Loners (1972); Tarot (1973); Mama's Dirty Girls (1974); Mansion of the Doomed (1976); Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979); A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (UK, 1979); Melvin and Howard (1980); The Nesting (1981).

The daughter of an aspiring actress, Gloria Grahame began performing with the Pasadena Community Playhouse at the age of nine. In 1943, after appearing in stage productions at Hollywood High School and in stock, she made her Broadway debut and was signed to an MGM contract within a year. Sensuous in appearance, with a seductive voice and pouty mouth, Grahame played wayward women with enormous success during the 1950s. Winning an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Grahame was also memorable in The Big Heat (1953) and is often remembered as the "can't-say-no girl" in the musical Oklahoma! (1955). Toward the end of the decade, however, good roles diminished, and she retired from films. She later resurfaced, playing mostly in low-budget films of little consequence.

Grahame's personal life was complicated. She had four husbands, including actor Stanley Clements and film directors Nicholas Ray and Cy Howard, and four children. Her last marriage was to her former stepson Tony Ray, the son of her second husband, Nicholas Ray. In 1978, Grahame had a love affair with a young English actor named Peter Turner, which she ended abruptly in 1980. In 1981, when she was ill with cancer, she collapsed on stage while rehearsing a play in Lancaster, England. Alone and frightened, she reconnected with Turner and spent seven days with him and his family in Liverpool, returning to New York on the day of her death, October 5. Turner later wrote a book about this strange interlude called Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.


Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. NY: Harper-Collins, 1994.

Turner, Peter. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. NY: Grove Press, 1986.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts