by ALMIE ROSE
I just found out that Grace Kelly was a slut and this has to mean something.
Maybe I should clarify (or not, it’s Manhattan, who gives a fuck): I had heard the old Hollywood rumors that Grace Kelly was not as pristine as her cool Hitchcockian image would have one believe. But the recent biography True Grace is quite revealing.
Grace Kelly would sleep with a guy on the first date. I find this shocking considering the era. And also considering that in those times, dates were dates. You wouldn’t spend the evening “watching a movie” on some guy’s couch; you’d get dressed up and go dancing at the Stork Club. You’d sit at a table in front of Bobby Darin while he sang about love and later he’d try to grab your ass but that would be OK. These were simpler times. But for all the decadence and politeness people still did it, and sometimes that’s easy to forget, which is why it’s so surprising to hear that Grace Kelly put out on the first date or Peggy on Mad Men asking her date, “Do you have a Trojan?”
One of Kelly’s signature moves was to emerge totally naked. I don’t mean at Bergdorf’s or on the street, I mean after she was alone with her date. She would excuse herself into the bathroom and come back naked, or if he went to the bathroom he would come back to find her naked. I can see her doing this but only posing as though she were a store mannequin, one perfectly manicured hand on her hip, the other lifted into the air as if to say, “Why not take a gander at my vagina?”
According to Leigh, the night Kelly won the Academy Award (for The Country Girl) she also won Marlon Brando, taking him back to her place, where their adult plans were interrupted by a scathing phone call from Judy Garland shouting, “This is Judy Garland, Judy Fucking Garland. You bitch! You took what was rightfully mine. [Garland was also nominated for “Best Actress” for her work in A Star Is Born, and favored to win.] Tonight was my last chance for the Oscar. You’ll have many more chances in your future. This was it for me. I’ll never forgive you.” Or in other words, “What don’t you fucking understand? You and me are done professionally.” In this way, Garland was clearly the Christian Bale of her time.
But as it would turn out, Kelly did not have “many more chances”; not long after she married the Prince of Monaco in a move that made her family and contemporaries say, “WTF LOL WHUT.” Prince Rainier was a far cry from Marlon Brando or John F. Kennedy, who Kelly also “dated” (and by dated I mostly mean slept with.) And Kelly’s father literally bought Grace the title, with a dowry of $2,000,000.
Maybe Kelly was sick of falling for married co-stars and wanted a real Prince and not a man like Bing Crosby, who appeared princely on the screen, but in real life broke Kelly’s heart after changing his mind about leaving his wife and beat his children with sweet Valenica oranges. I know, right, Bing Crosby? What on earth is sexy about Bing Crosby? Grace Kelly had a thing for older men. Unresolved Daddy issues? You bet. Her father often said that his youngest daughter was his favorite and was openly vocal about this and his surprise in that Grace amounted to anything other than a housewife. So Grace Kelly found her solace in old grizzled men like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and Jimmy Stewart.
A lot of people think of Gwyneth Paltrow as the modern day Grace Kelly, but the truth is, it’s more like Sienna Miller.
She was known for having affairs with all of her costars and didn’t let a marriage stop her, though Jimmy Stewart is apparently the only married co-star she didn’t sleep with, maybe because Stewart’s wife, knowing about Kelly’s reputation, visited the set every day. Kelly would move from man to man holding her steel-cut jaw high, rarely getting heartbroken, with the exception of Gable, who she practically had to beg to sleep with her, because Gable was more interested in Ava Gardner, but didn’t care to cross Sinatra. Kelly was clingy around Gable and desperate to capture his attention and hold onto it. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve romanced an old Hollywood legend only to think, "Does he really like me for me or for the publicity?" You know, that age-old dilemma.
My point though is not to shun Kelly for her wanton ways. But rather instead I’m suggesting that we step a little further from our romantic notions of old Hollywood and see that era for what it really was. Just because couples didn’t sleep in the same bed in film or television in those times doesn’t mean that they weren’t screwing like mad. Also, that bitch Grace Kelly got everything she ever wanted through family connections, money, and impeccable features. Fuck her and the pristine horse she rode in on.
Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She writes here.
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