Grace Kelly career: How Grace Kelly’s father doubted her success – ‘Black sheep’ | Films | Entertainment

Grace Kelly, later known as Princess Grace of Monaco, rose to stardom after graduating from acting school in 1949. She quickly became a muse of auteur Alfred Hitchcock, before winning an Oscar for her role in the 1954 film The Country Girl. Despite gaining huge success in her field her parents, particularly her father, took against her work and doubted her success.

Grace Kelly was one of four children: she had two older siblings, Margaret (Peggy) and John Jr, (Jack) and a younger sister, Elizabeth (Lizanne).

Her parents were hugely successful in their own rights, with her father earning three Olympic gold medals in rowing in the single and double sculls, while her mother was a PE coach at the University of Pennsylvania.

Grace once even said she felt the competitive spirit her athletic parents had sometimes bled out into the way they were treated as children.

She was reported as saying: “We were always competing for everything – competing for love.”

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For the Kellys, according to expert Gemma Godfrey, who contributes to a new documentary into Grace’s finances, athleticism was hugely important, meaning Grace’s desire to act was not recognised.

Speaking exclusively to, Gemma said: “It’s really interesting. She was the black sheep of the family.

“And it’s interesting because she was successful. And yet the ways in which she was successful, were never recognised.

“She won an Oscar, and that wasn’t really recognised by her father.

“They valued athleticism, they valued going in a different path, and they weren’t approving of her acting career.”

Grace’s friend Judith Balaban Quinn was once reported as saying her father was so against this line of work, he viewed Grace’s career choice as “a slim cut above streetwalker.”

For Grace this dismissal of her dream by her parents would have been incredibly hard, hurting her relationships with her family.

Gemma added: “She was always seeking the approval of her father, she was always there for external validation and love.


“And you can see that in the types of relationships that she entered into.

“Her whole life, she really wanted the approval of her dad, which, on the one hand, may have driven her.

“She was very driven and a very hard worker, so it had its positive effects.

“But obviously it was very sad that she did work hard, she was successful, but she didn’t get, I think, the recognition or the appreciation that she really wanted.”

In order to gain support for her acting, Grace had to turn to her uncles, vaudeville star Walter C. Kelly and playwright George Kelly.

As well as that, as Gemma’s investigation reveals in Grace Kelly: The Missing Millions, Grace had to turn to her own enterprising nature to make her way in the world, doing modelling jobs in order to fund her acting career.

Eventually, Grace’s hard work paid off and she was able to gain major roles in high profile films, such as working with Alfred Hitchcock in three of his works: Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.

After only a few years in the acting business, Grace became one of the most sought after performers and was even the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, though this amount paled in comparison to the earnings of her male counterparts.

However, in 1956, she gave up her acting career to become Princess Grace of Monaco, marrying Prince Rainier III.

After years of royal duties, Grace died in a car accident on September 14, 1982, aged 52-years-old.

Grace Kelly: The Missing Millions Saturday, March 27 at 9pm on Channel 5

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