So how much did you know about that interesting-looking woman above — the one taking a precarious climb over the back fence? (Which studio hand dreamed up that stunt?)
We’re talking Betty Grable here, the record holder for continuous consecutive years among the top 10 Hollywood box office stars (13 years running). Not to mention her status as a cultural icon, World War II’s No. 1 pinup girl.
Grable had a long and successful career, making 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck extremely happy. At her peak, she alone was responsible for bringing in some $5 million in Fox revenues per year. And this was back in the days when $1 million was really $1 million.
Besides exuding an air of wholesome sexiness, Grable was a talented dancer and fine light comedienne. And, when she turned on the burners, should could handle tougher stuff onscreen.
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Monday Betty Grable Quiz. As usual, scroll down to the blog below to review the questions. Here we go:
1) Answer: b) Alice Faye.
2) Answer: As expected, the answer is d) 1944’s Pin-Up Girl.
3) Answer: After largely unfruitful early stints for Sam Goldwyn and at RKO and Paramout Pictures, Grable in the late Thirties took a break and turned to the Broadway stage. She landed a part in the Cole Porter musical, 1939’s Dubarry Was A Lady, costarring Ethel Merman and Bert Lahr. The show won plaudits for Grable — she even made the cover of Life Magazine — and provided a big spark to her career. The stage musical was turned into 1943’s movie version costarring Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball and Red Skelton.
4) Answer: b) Harry James. The marriage lasted from 1943 to 1965.
5) Answer: c) 1941’s I Wake Up Screaming, a solid film noir (check it out!) in which Grable played the wholesome sister of a shady model who is murdered. Among other things, Betty winds up giving the cold shoulder to an amorous Victor Mature.
6) Answer: Betty, as well as all of the actresses named, were considered potential replacements to then reigning Fox diva Alice Faye. It was Grable who emerged with the mantel of Fox’s biggest female star.
7) Answer: a) Jackie Coogan was husband No. 1. The marriage was relatively brief, spanning the years 1937 to 1940.
8) Answer: a) True. In 1947 and 1948, Grable earned $208,000 a year, making her the highest paid woman in the country at that time.
9) Answer: c) Marilyn Monroe.
10) Answer: a) True. Although insuring Grable’s legs sound like a publicity stunt, there is sufficient reason to believe it was actually done. Good investment.