Grace Patricia Kelly was an American Academy Award-winning actress and Princess consort of Monaco. In April 1956 Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and became styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and was commonly referred to as Princess Grace.
After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of 20, Grace Kelly appeared in New York City theatrical productions as well as in more than forty episodes of live drama productions broadcast during the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. In October 1953, with the release of Mogambo, she became a movie star, a status confirmed in 1954 with a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination as well as leading roles in five films, including The Country Girl, in which she gave a deglamorized, Academy Award-winning performance. She retired from acting at 26 to enter upon her duties in Monaco. She and Prince Rainier had three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stéphanie. She also retained her American roots, maintaining dual US and Monégasque citizenships. She died on September 14, 1982, two months before her 53rd birthday, when she lost control of her automobile and crashed after suffering a stroke. Her daughter Princess Stéphanie, who was in the car with her, survived the accident. In June 1999, the American Film Institute ranked her #13 in their list of top female stars of American cinema.
A native of Philadelphia, Grace Kelly was born to John Brendan “Jack” Kelly, and his wife, Margaret Katherine Majer. The newborn was named in memory of her father’s sister, who had died at a young age. She was raised Roman Catholic. The family lived in a house at 3901 Henry Avenue in the East Falls neighborhood of the city. Before her marriage, Margaret Majer studied physical education at Temple University and later became the first woman to head the Physical Education Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Jack Kelly was a local hero as a triple Olympic-gold-medal-winning sculler, and subsequently became a self-made millionaire, with his brick business rising to prominence as the largest such enterprise on the East Coast. Registering as a Democrat, he obtained the party’s nomination for mayor in the 1935 election and lost by the closest margin for any Democrat in the city’s electoral history. In later years, he served on the Fairmount Park Commission and, during World War II, was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness.
When Grace was born, the Kellys already had two children, Margaret Katherine, known as Peggy and John Brendan, Jr., known as Kell. Another daughter, Elizabeth Anne, known as Lizanne, was born three-and-a-half years after Grace.