Betty Grable

Betty Grable

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Lowest Rated: 33% Pin-Up Girl (1944)
  • Birthday: Dec 18, 1916
  • Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • The celebrated "pin-up girl" of World War II, American actress Betty Grable was the daughter of a stockbroker and an aggressive "stage mother." When her older sister Marjorie balked at a show business career, Grable was taken in hand by her mother and trained to sing, dance, tell jokes and play the ukulele and saxophone. Despite her father's objections, Grable begged her mother to take her to Los Angeles for a movie career, preparing herself with a two-girl musical act while attending Hollywood Professional School. Lying about her age, 13-year-old Grable was hired as a chorus girl for short subjects, getting her first important exposure as the energetic blonde "cowgirl" who sings the first chorus of the first song in the Eddie Cantor film musical Whoopee! (1930). Grable played supporting parts in two-reelers and bits in features for the next couple of years, attaining her first major role in Hold 'Em Jail (1932), a comedy starring the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey. Bert Wheeler had promised Grable's mother several years earlier that he'd get the girl a break in pictures if she came to Hollywood, and with this film, Wheeler kept his word. More bits and indifferent supporting roles followed until Grable was signed by Paramount, who loaned her to 20th Century-Fox for Pigskin Parade (1936), which established her with the public. Grable finally landed top billing in Paramount's Million Dollar Legs (1939)--the title referred not to the star but to a college athletic team--which co-starred her first husband, Jackie Coogan. Grable's career stalled at Paramount, but a Broadway appearance in the Cole Porter musical DuBarry Was a Lady led to a contract with 20th Century-Fox, where she remained a number-one box-office attraction from 1940 through 1955. Fox wisely allowed Grable to shed her "college co-ed" image for a more salable screen persona as a wholesomely sexy musical comedy star, emphasizing her greatest attributes: her shapely figure and shapelier legs. After a misfire attempt at heavy dramatics in I Wake Up Screaming (1941), Grable insisted that she be required only to sing and dance, not act, and Fox complied with a string of nonsensical but lavish Technicolor musicals. Grable was enormously popular with American GIs during the war, most of this popularity resting on her famous "pin-up" picture in which, dressed in a one-piece bathing suit and with her back to the camera, Grable glanced saucily over one shoulder. This rear-view image was borne not out of a desire to titillate but from necessity: she was several months pregnant when the picture was taken! Grable furthered her acceptance with the overseas troops when she married trumpeter-bandleader Harry James in 1943. Her popularity undimmed by war's end, Grable continued making Technicolor frolics, though her frequent tiffs with the Fox executives led the studio to try out any number of potential replacements, including Vivian Blaine, June Haver, and even Marilyn Monroe. A few miscalculated breakaways from her accepted screen image--Mother Wore Tights (1947), The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend (1949) and The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1949)--hurt Grable's box-office status, even though these films hold up better than some of her wartime hits. Free-lancing after her last film, the lackluster How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), Grable inadvertently offended producer Sam Goldwyn, thereby losing out on the chance of playing the plum role of Adelaide in Goldwyn's Guys and Dolls (1955); this and a few disappointing TV appearances prompted the actress into semi-retirement, save for a few nightclub appearances. After divorcing Harry James in 1965, Grable made a triumphal return to Broadway as Carol Channing's replacement in Hello, Dolly. Her later foray into musical comedy, Belle Starr, was less satisfying, closing its London run after two weeks. Shortly before her death, Grable appeared in advertisements for a number of low-calorie food products, her alluring figure and beautifu

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Coney Island Actor 2012
No Score Yet Hidden Hollywood: Treasures From The 20th Century Fox Vaults Actor 1997
No Score Yet Family Day at the Movies Actor 1988
No Score Yet Gotta Dance, Gotta Sing Actor 1984
No Score Yet How to Be Very, Very Popular Stormy Tornado 1955
No Score Yet Three for the Show (The Pleasure Is All Mine) Julie Lowndes 1955
No Score Yet Mario Lanza Actor 1954
No Score Yet The Farmer Takes a Wife Molly Larkins 1953
84% How to Marry a Millionaire Loco Dempsey 1953
No Score Yet Meet Me After the Show Delilah Lee 1951
No Score Yet Call Me Mister Kay Hudson 1951
No Score Yet My Blue Heaven Kitty Moran 1950
63% The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend Freddie 1949
No Score Yet When My Baby Smiles at Me Bonny 1948
No Score Yet That Lady In Ermine Francesca / Angelina 1948
No Score Yet The Shocking Miss Pilgrim Cynthia Pilgrim 1947
No Score Yet Mother Wore Tights Myrtle McKinley Burt 1947
No Score Yet The Dolly Sisters Yansci 'Jenny' Dolly 1945
No Score Yet Diamond Horseshoe Bonnie Collins 1945
No Score Yet The All-Star Bond Rally Actor 1945
33% Pin-Up Girl Lorry Jones aka Laura Lorraine 1944
No Score Yet Four Jills in a Jeep Guest Star 1944
No Score Yet Sweet Rosie O'grady Actor 1943
No Score Yet Springtime in the Rockies Vicky Lane 1942
No Score Yet Song of the Islands Eileen O'Brien 1942
No Score Yet Footlight Serenade Pat Lambert 1942
83% I Wake Up Screaming Jill Lynn 1941
No Score Yet Moon Over Miami Kay Latimer 1941
No Score Yet A Yank in the RAF Carol Brown 1941
No Score Yet Tin Pan Alley Lily 1940
No Score Yet Down Argentine Way Glenda Crawford 1940
No Score Yet The Day the Bookies Wept Ina Firpo 1939
No Score Yet Give Me A Sailor Nancy Larkin 1938
No Score Yet College Swing Betty 1938
No Score Yet This Way Please Jane Morrow 1937
No Score Yet Thrill of a Lifetime Gwen 1937
No Score Yet Pigskin Parade Laura Watson 1936
82% Follow the Fleet Trio 1936
No Score Yet Collegiate Dorothy 1936
No Score Yet The Nitwits Mary Roberts 1935
100% The Gay Divorcee Hotel Guest 1934
No Score Yet Student Tour Cayenne 1934
No Score Yet The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (Girl of My Dreams) Herself 1933
No Score Yet Melody Cruise Stewardess 1933
58% Cavalcade Girl on Couch 1933
No Score Yet The Kid from Spain Chorine 1932
No Score Yet Hold 'em Jail Barbara Jones 1932
No Score Yet Probation Ruth Jarrett 1932
No Score Yet The Greeks Had a Word for Them (Three Broadway Girls) Showgirl 1932
No Score Yet Three Broadway Girls Showgirl 1932
No Score Yet Palmy Days The Goldwyn Girl 1931
100% Whoopee Goldwyn Girl 1930
No Score Yet New Movietone Follies of 1930 Chorus Girl 1930

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