Monday, November 28, 2016

Gloria Grahame, 1923-1981

Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin in The Big Heat (1953)

Today marks the birth anniversary of actress Gloria Grahame, who appeared in a bunch of interesting movies in the 1950s. Actually, her career started in the 1940s playing Violet in It's a Wonderful Life, although to be honest I don't particularly remember that character. More memorable is Gloria Grahame, the nightclub girl who picks up the naive young man who gets involved in a murder he didn't commit in Crossfire.

Grahame won the Oscar for 1952's The Bad and the Beautiful, but I personally prefer her role in The Big Heat, as the moll who runs afoul of Lee Marvin. Well, a lot of people ran afoul of Lee Marvin's characters. There are also films like Man on a Tightrope, in which Fredric March tries to lead his circus troupe (of which Grahame is a member) out of Communist Czechoslovakia, or The Man Who Never Was, where she winds up having to play the girlfriend of the fictitious man who never was.

One thing I didn't know is that she was married to director Nicholas Ray and that this was complicated; after they divorced and Ray's son by a previous marriage grew up, Grahame married that son! And she had children by both marriages, which would make those children not just half-siblings, but also an uncle and two nephews, I think.

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