She has been viewed as “the fallen Queen” of film noir, whose screwball — she was once up for Judy Holliday’s role in 1950’s Born Yesterday — seductive screen presence belied her British and Scottish royal family heritage.
MGM’s Louis B. Mayer changed her name from Gloria Hallward, and once saw in her the aristocratic haughtiness of a Greta Garbo. So how much did you know about Gloria Grahame?
Did you know that after a bumpy career — that at one time flirted with A-list stardom — she died of stomach cancer at a relatively early age. Her personal life was active and complicated, and was almost as dramatic as her onscreen roles.
And, yes, she won an Oscar. Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Monday Gloria Grahame Quiz. Here we go:
1) Question: In which one of the following movies did Grahame’s character get a pot of boiling coffee thrown in her face? a) Naked Alibi; b) It’s A Wonderful Life; c) A Woman’s Secret; or d) The Big Heat.
1) Answer: d) 1953’s The Big Heat, directed by Fritz Lang. The coffee tosser was a young Lee Marvin. Grahame’s character, Debbie Marsh, equals the score with a trusty gat.
2) Question: Grahame won her best supporting actress Academy Award for which one of the following pictures: a) Crossfire; b) The Bad and the Beautiful; c) The Greatest Show On Earth; or d) Odds Against Tomorrow.
2) Answer: b) 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful directed by Vincente Minnelli. Gloria more than holds her own with costars Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.
3) Question: The night she won her Oscar, Grahame did something that bolstered her screen image as a sexy slut. What happened? a) She a engaged in tongue-kissing session with host Bob Hope; b) She stumbled on her way to the award stage suggesting she was tipsy; c) She used vulgar language caught on an unguarded mike; or d) She shamelessly flirted with a bevy of male stars.
3) Answer: b) On her way to the stage to accept her best supporting actress Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful, Grahame she took a serious stumble, suggesting that she was three sheets to the wind. Unfortunately, Gloria played to a broad audience. The 25th annual Oscar ceremonies was the first to be televised on NBC nationwide.
4) Question: Grahame’s first starring role opposite Humphrey Bogart in 1950’s In A Lonely Place was a uniquely personal one for the actress. Why?
4) Answer: The picture was directed by Nicholas Ray, to whom Gloria was married at the time. But the union was a shaky one, paralleling the doomed romantic relationship of Humphrey Bogart and Gloria’s characters in the 1950 film. Grahame was married to Ray from 1948 until 1952.
5) Question: Grahame was NOT Bogart’s first choice as his In A Lonely Place costar. Who was? a) Lauren Bacall; b) Hedy Lamarr; c) Joan Crawford; or d) Gene Tierney.
5) Answer: This one should be easy. a) Lauren Bacall.
6) Question: Grahame set the tabloids of the day afire because of her torrid onscreen love scenes with Harry Belafonte in the tough 1959 film noir, Odds Against Tomorrow. a) True; or b) False?
6) Answer: b) False. In Odds Against Tomorrow, Gloria, excited by his mean streak, has a fling with Robert Ryan’s racist character, not Harry Belafonte’s Johnny Ingram.
7) Question: Grahame had four unsuccessful marriages, two of them to director Nicholas Ray. a) True; or b) False?
7) Answer: b) False. As indicated in #4, Grahame was married to Nicholas Ray just once. But the last of her four husbands was Anthony Ray, Nicholas Ray’s offspring from a former marriage. That sent the tabloids of the time into a frenzy. That marriage lasted longer, from 1960 to 1974.
8) Question: A best personal friend of Grahame’s also played a supporting role in In A Lonely Place. Can you name her? a) Hedda Brooks; b) Ruth Gillette; c) Martha Stewart; or d) Jeff Donnell.
8) Answer: Gloria and d) Jeff Donnell were close friends for years. They met and bonded on the set of 1949’s Roughshod. Donnell is a solid character actress who appeared in some key movies notably including 1953’s The Blue Gardenia and 1957’s Sweet Smell of Success.
9) Question: In 1955, Grahame landed a part in a bigtime Hollywood adaptation of a equally bigtime Broadway musical. Can you name this tuner?
9) Answer: Grahame played Ado Annie in Fred Zinnemann’s 1955 adaptation of Oklahoma.
10) Question: Grahame died young. How young? a) 38; b) 41; c) 52; or d) 57.
10) Answer: Gloria died Oct. 5, 1981. She was d) 57 years old.