“It wasn’t the way I looked at a man; it was the thought behind it.” – Gloria Grahame
If you do not watch many older films your first reaction is probably “Who’s Gloria Grahame?” Well, she was sort of the Angelina Jolie of her day – the Angelina Jolie before she became a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and started a mini-U.N. of her own. For about ten years Jolie had this sexy, bad girl, don’t know what she’s going to do next, tongues always wagging about her, image. That was Gloria Grahame from the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s.
Like Jolie, Grahame was known for her sex appeal onscreen, especially the way that she looked at men (hence the quote above.) Despite some people wanting to disregard her because of her sexiness she got more challenging roles, culminating in a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). Jolie had a very similar arc, winning her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted (1999).
And after Jolie, in her joy at winning the Oscar, kissed her brother quickly on the lips and then in her acceptance speech said she loved her brother, the gossip mill started with all kinds of stories about “incestuous love affairs.” Jolie was able to put those behind her. Unfortunately, Grahame was not able to put her scandal behind her.
Her second marriage was to director Nicholas Ray – a man 12 years older than her. That ended in divorce, then after a third marriage also ended in divorce, Grahame married Anthony Ray – Nicholas Ray’s son and her former stepson. He was 14 years younger than her. This started rumors that her marriage to Nicholas Ray had ended because he had caught her in bed with his then 14 year old son Anthony. Grahame also had children with each of these husbands. Those must have been some fun family reunions.
(In case you’re wondering, Grahame’s son with Nicholas Ray would have been both a half-brother to Grahame’s two sons with Anthony Ray, and simultaneously an uncle to them, too. That son by Nicholas Ray would also have been both a half-brother to Anthony Ray and simultaneously his stepson. Got all that?)
Despite any rumors about her offscreen life, her career onscreen had an impressive ten year arc, from a brief, but memorable, appearance in 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life that got her noticed, through the big budget 1955 musical Oklahoma. Her personal awards included an Oscar nomination for Crossfire (1947) and her win for The Bad and the Beautiful. In my opinion she probably deserved nominations for her work in both In a Lonely Place (1950) and Human Desire (1954).
Finally, I did a very popular post on celebrity look-alikes back in 2011. It’s had more than four times the number of hits of any other post I have done. If you’ve never seen it, you can find it here. Anyway, while I was watching the 2006 film The Fall there were times that I would have sworn that actress Justine Waddell was a clone of Gloria Grahame. Here are pictures of the two of them.
As I review the films I will come back and add the links for them here.
On to the reviews…