Grace Kelly's Cartier necklace worn by granddaughter at wedding

GRACE KELLY  (1929-82)

All About Grace Kelly's Jewelry in Rear Window | The Adventurine

Grace & Jimmy Stewart – Rear Window

Her predatory reputation followed her onto the sets of her films. She was well-known as a lover of married, older men when she joined Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock thriller Rear Window. His wife, Gloria, was not about to allow Grace to lead her husband astray, so she drove Jimmy to and from the set every day that filming took place. Not that Grace was especially perturbed by this. 1953-4 proved to be a target-rich season for an eager young beauty like her. Not only was she seeing Cassini regularly, she was also embroiled in a torrid affair with the very much married Ray Milland, her co-star in Dial ‘M’ for Murder. He was all set to end his marriage and run off with her, but reluctantly changed his mind when his wife threatened to wipe him out financially if he went through with it. He consequently broke with Grace and his marriage endured for a total of 54 years until his death in 1986. Years later, it was revealed that Grace managed to bed Anthony Dawson, the actor who played her intended killer in the movie, after she and Milland parted company.

Grace Kelly love letters to her ex-boyfriend Oleg Cassini revealed

Grace & her then fiancee OLeg Cassini

None of this overly bothered Grace, of course, for she was still intimately involved with Cassini. Indeed, as he would confirm years later, she aborted his baby in 1955, just before she threw him over for Prince Rainier. But more of that later. Spencer Tracy, by then in his fifties, heard that Grace had a ‘thing’ for older men, so he invited her out for dinner and slept with her that night. He had just completed Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). Frank Sinatra is believed to have had an ‘encounter’ with her in ’54 and Marlon Brando openly spoke of having sex with her. Rumours have since abounded that other lovers included Tony Curtis (1950), producer Robert Evans, Paul Newman (1951), and President John F. Kennedy (1962, but I have been unable to uncover any evidence whatsoever to substantiate them.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

William Holden was married to Brenda Marshall but fell briefly for Grace during the shooting of The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954). She took him home to Philadelphia to meet her parents, but they gave him a cold reception because he was a married man. For that matter, they had no time for Cassini either, Grace’s father referring to him as ‘a worm’, ‘a wop’ and ‘a dago’ – and told him so to his face, even after he and Grace became engaged! Ultimately, she broke it off when Rainier came on the scene, maintaining that she only did so at the insistence of her parents. Given her strong-willed nature, it seems unlikely that Grace would have bowed to her parents’ wishes and married against her own feelings for Cassini, had they been as deep and meaningful as she often declared. In the end it was another of her lovers, French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, who introduced her to the prince in 1955. Was she instantly smitten or did the prospect of becoming a princess take precedence? Whatever the reason, Grace wed Rainier the following year. They had three children together – Princess Caroline (1957), Prince Albert (1958) and Princess Stephanie (1965). Privately, it was pretty much an open marriage from the beginning, with both parties taking lovers throughout its course. Rainier believed his bride was a virgin on his wedding night, his physicians having advised him that she had satisfactorily explained why her hymen was no longer intact. It had been broken, she assured them, in a collision during a high school hockey game many years ago.

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier's 60th Wedding Anniversary ...

Princess Grace & Prince Rainier of Monaco 1956

The prince had been attracted to her from the outset, of course, (few men were not), but there was more to the marriage than just mutual attraction. He needed to increase tourism in his tiny, cash-poor principality, and he needed to produce an heir to eliminate the threat of Monaco ever reverting to France. Marriage to a major, fertile American movie star was bound to achieve both objectives. Indeed, had he not met Grace when he did, there is every possibility that an offer of marriage would have been made to none other than Marilyn Monroe! The Kelly family in Philadelphia were far from happy with his demand for a substantial dowry to accompany Grace to Monaco, but eventually a figure of $2 million was reluctantly agreed upon. The amount was diverted from the bride’s inheritance, possibly at her siblings’ insistence.

The Country Girl

The Country Girl (1954) with Grace, Holden & Crosby

Her wedding, however, was still a year or more into the future when the aging crooner Bing Crosby (also married) flipped over her on the set of The Country Girl (1954). He even proposed marriage. She turned him down but was content to have him service her on a regular basis at Alan Ladd’s home. Ladd was Bing’s next-door neighbour and was none too happy about them using his spare bedroom for their trysting. ‘Doesn’t he know any place else where he can go at night?’ said Ladd. ‘There must be hotels or motels.’ Grace won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Country Girl, the result being the closest vote up till that time that did not end in a tie. She beat Judy Garland (A Star is Born) by just six votes. Controversy has raged over the result ever since. As for Bing, he went the way of all her previous lovers as she moved on to new romances.

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Grace in a famous scene with Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief (1955)

David Niven and Princess Grace, 1959. Photo by Edward Quinn ...

David Niven & Princess Grace 1959

Popular British actor David Niven was dining with Rainier one evening when the prince asked him who was, in his opinion, the ‘best lay’ in Hollywood. For a second Niven forgot to whom he was talking and blurted out: ‘Grace…er… Gracie Fields!’ Cary Grant and Grace were lovers for seven years or so, although their intimacy did not begin when they made To Catch a Thief (1955) prior to her marriage to Rainier. It was not until the early seventies that their friendship evolved into something else. In 1962, incidentally, Grace underwent two abortions but it is unknown who the men involved were.

High Society - Is High Society on Netflix - FlixList

Sinatra, Grace & Crosby

At one time she looked set to return to the screen in Marnie (1964), but both Prince Rainier and the people of Monaco soon vetoed that idea. They did not wish for their Princess to be cast in the role of a thief involved in an affair with Sean Connery. Her much- hoped for screen comeback was stillborn. In fact, all eleven of her career films were banned by Rainier from screening in the Principality of Monaco.

In the years leading up to her death in a motor accident in September 1982, Grace secretly took lovers on a regular basis, often picking them up on the Concorde as she flew back and forth to the states. Rainier did most of his philandering in Paris. Executives, restaurateurs and other businessmen enjoyed passionate, secretive interludes with her over the years. Producer Robert Dornheim was sixteen years her junior when he landed her in 1980-1.

It is uncertain how Grace felt about her reputation as a promiscuous woman, although she did not bother to deny it in private. When her daughter Stephanie was hitting headlines with her love life, it was Grace who privately admitted, given her own track record, that she was in no position to lecture or chastise her daughter on the subject of fidelity. Her reservations about Hollywood were, perhaps, a tad hypocritical. ‘Hollywood amuses me’, she said. ‘Holier-than-thou for the public and un-holier-than-the-devil in reality.’ I guess she would know.


  1. Worse for Grace was going to bed with her bridesmaid’s husband at the wedding in Monaco. The bridesmaid never got over it. Later ended up homeless.

    • I was unaware of that particular tale, Will, but to be perfectly frank, when it came to intimacy regarding Grace, nothing would surprise me. She was quite a predator, it appears.

  2. Trivia: I’d read it was Olivia de Havilland’s husband Pierre Galante, an executive editor for the French journal Paris Match, that arranged Grace’s first meeting with Rainier as part of Kelly heading the 1955 U.S. delegation at the Cannes Film Festival in April & the publicity push for “It Takes a Thief”.

    • Thankyou, Matt. That certainly has a ring of truth about it. Rainier’s people were putting out feelers everywhere and Pierre, being French and wed to Olivia, seems to have been a logical contact.

  3. My two cents: As previously mentioned, saw an unhappy Grace & angry Rainier in Monte Carlo as a kid in 1972. Saw Cassini in the early ’80s walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Recall he was, at most, 5′ tall & was walking alone & didn’t look happy. Strange thing about Cassini: technically he was born a Russian aristocrat with the title of Count. Brother Igor was “Cholly Knickerbocker” New York society columnist back in the ’40s. Cassini was a man with the world as his oyster. Yet by recent accounts, lied about creating First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s iconic “Pillbox” hat (Halston). Why?

    Following your article, read Grace’s “hook-up” with Paul Newman occurred when she showed up uninvited (w/champagne) at his Chateau Marmont hotel room & found Newman in & unengaged for the afternoon.

    Grace’s father…. apparently…. took after Joe Kennedy’s example of grotesquely amoral behavior.* Read while staying at Rainier’s Monaco Palace during the wedding, any servant in a skirt that took his fancy had to strongly defend her honor! John B. Kelly Jr., Grace’s sole brother, was as movie star handsome as Grace was beautiful. He was threatened with disinheritance by the family when he took up with a transexual man in the 1970’s, whom he wanted to marry! To say that the family had sexual peccadilloes would be a Grand Canyon understatement. Grace just followed witnessed examples –

    Seriously doubt Rainier expected Grace to be a virgin, or that they didn’t engage in coitus before the wedding. Short of the Victorian Age, 1950’s America was the most sexually repressed era; to an absurdly ridiculous degree.

    Not only was Monaco cash poor, but Aristotle Onassis was buying up stock in the Société des Bains de Mer, the holding company that owns most of Monte Carlo’s attractions (including the Casino) & economically threating to “own” the Principality. Most people don’t realize that Monaco is a dictatorship – no joke – serious. Rainier could literally order his military to arrest & shoot Onassis by firing squad at high noon in front of the palace &, legally, no one could have done anything! Like your reference to second ran Monroe, Rainier went “shopping” for a celebrity wife, for purely economic reasons. As it was, Rainier banished Onassis & ended his financial shenanigans in Monte Carlo.

    *Kennedy used to bang the household maids in an upstairs bedroom while wife Rose was holding formal lady’s teas in the downstairs living room.. With the LR chandelier swinging with every thrust, Rose & all her guests were acutely aware – VILE doesn’t even begin to describe this behavior. Also on Kennedy’s agenda was early morning rapes of daughter’s teenage friends during sleepovers. Stock “payment” was a mink coat… Seriously, is it any wonder kids of such fathers were so messed up sexually?

    • Fascinating comments, Matt. Much appreciated. The Kelly-Newman hook-up is indeed news to me. The shenanigans at the Kennedy estate do not surprise me in the slightest. Joe was rich enough and powerful enough to do whatever he damned well pleased, and it seems that the Kennedy women (all or most of them) never complained about it. Not ever!

      • Don’t comprehend, for one second, Kennedy’s venomous cruelty to the mother of his children. Rose got her “revenge” with Kennedy’s stroke. Wherein he was completely paralyzed, including speech, with his mind fully functioning. Could anything be more fitting? One of the few observed exceptions: upon being informed of JFK’s assassination he started crying.

  4. Beautiful, talented and wild, that was Grace Kelly.

    I remember watching the sanitized television-movie biography about her life with Cheryl Ladd portraying Grace.

    Seems like few, if any, men could resist her and she well knew it.

    Her daughters & granddaughter Charlotte are all very pretty women.

    Of all of them it was Stephanie that inherited her mother’s active lifestyle with men.

    • I often watch ‘To Catch a Thief’ and ‘Rear Window’, just to look at her. I am no fan of Hitchcock movies but I watch them anyway simply because she is in them. An extraordinarily stunning woman.

  5. I never rated Grace as an actress despite her beauty which gave her presence on screen. Thought her performance in High Society was overdone. Didn’t know she had an affair with Cary Grant whose performances were terrific.

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