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Grace Kelly: 13 Rare Photos of the Gorgeous Young Actress Turned Princess

The stunning starlet lived a life of glitz and glamour


Grace Kelly was one of the most iconic young actresses of the ’50s, yet she only had a few years of experience on the screen before leaving Hollywood behind for a life of royalty. So how, exactly, did this lovely Hollywood starlet go from a wealthy family in Philadelphia to the big screen, to the life of a (literal!) princess?

The all-American beauty had a rather privileged upbringing before she headed to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after high school, having danced and acted throughout her youth and seeking a future of performance.

By 1949, Grace Kelly had made her debut on Broadway and not long after that, she had her first appearance on the big screen in Fourteen Hours (1951). Prior to her film debut, she made appearances on various television series such as Big Town and The Clock, perfecting her craft before making the jump to higher-stakes roles.

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Grace Kelly in 1960
Grace Kelly in 1960Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty

Although her part in Fourteen Hours was minor, it paved the way future film roles in the tense 1952 Western High Noon and the Technicolor 1953 adventure Mogambo (for which she earned an Oscar nod), as well as a selection of television credits.

Kelly then won the Oscar for her role as the put-upon wife of an alcoholic actor (played by Bing Crosby) in the 1954 film The Country Girl. She also appeared in suspense master Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic thrillers Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955) and became known as the embodiment of the icily beautiful “Hitchcock Blonde.”

The actress was a certified A-lister, but following her role in the 1956 musical High Society, she said goodbye to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, and traded it in for another kind of glitz and glamour.

The princess in 1956
Grace Kelly in 1956Bettmann/Getty

When she married Prince Rainier in 1956 at the age of 26, Grace Kelly would become Princess Grace of Monaco, dedicating the remainder of her life to her children, charity work and her royal duties. She tragically passed away in 1982 at just 52, when she suffered a stroke behind the wheel of her vehicle, losing control.

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To this day, Princess Grace is remembered for her classic film performances and the glamour and elegance she embodied both on and off the screen. Here, take a look at her throughout the years.

Grace Kelly young

1931: Grace Kelly young — a princess-to-be

Grace Kelly, 1931
Grace Kelly as a baby in 1931Bettmann/Getty

A young Kelly, at merely 1 ½ years old, flashes an adorable smile at the camera. Who knew she would grow up to make a living in front of one?

1937: Sisters in the sand

Grace Kelly and sister Margaret, 1937
Grace Kelly and her sister, Margaret, in 1937Bettmann/Getty

A 7-year-old Grace plays in the sand alongside her sister, Margaret, age 12, in Ocean City, NJ.

1944: The Kelly clan is a tight knit bunch

Grace and her brother Jack, 1944
Grace Kelly and her brother, Jack, in 1944Bettmann/Getty

A teen Grace congratulates her brother, Jack, after his boat race. Their father, John B. Kelly Sr., won gold in the Olympics for sculling.

1948: Grace Kelly and a kitty

Princess Grace poses with a cat, 1948
Grace Kelly and a kitten in 1948George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty

Kelly flashes her pearly whites in this adorable snapshot with a furry feline friend!

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1950: Grace Kelly gives a model-like glance

Grace Kelly, 1950
Grace Kelly modeling in 1950Bettmann/Getty

With her natural beauty and poise, it’s no surprise Kelly started out as a model. In this early modeling shot, she poses in an office setting and manages to make using the typewriter look glam.

1950: A stunning starlet

The soon-to-be princess in 1950
The star in 1950Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty

Kelly looks ethereal in this mesmerizing portrait.

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1954: Made for the movies

The soon-to-be princess in Dial M for Murder, 1954
The actress in Dial M for Murder (1954)Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Kelly gave one of her most memorable performances in this 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller film, in which she played a wealthy woman who is having an affair, leading her husband (Ray Milland) to plot to murder her.

1954: Big name costars

James Stewart and the soon-to-be princess, 1954
James Stewart and Grace Kelly, 1954Silver Screen Collection/Getty

In Hitchcock’s iconic 1954 film Rear Window, Kelly played the posh girlfriend of a wheelchair-bound photographer (James Stewart) who believes he witnesses a murder in the apartment across from his.

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1956: The Swan

Jessie Royce Landis and Grace Kelly, The Swan, 1955
Jessie Royce Landis and Grace Kelly in The Swan (1956)Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty

Before Kelly became a real-life princess, she played one on the screen in the 1956 romance The Swan. The release of the film was timed to her wedding, and it marked her second to last onscreen appearance. Her final film was High Society that same year.

1956: Wedding bells ring for the actress turned princess

Grace marries Prince Rainier III, 1956
Grace marries Prince Rainier III (1956)© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty

Grace Kelly became Princess Grace after her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier. The high-profile wedding was a media sensation.

1958: Actress, princess, mother

Princess Grace and Prince Albert, 1958
Princess Grace and Prince Albert in 1958Bettmann/Getty

Princess Grace had two daughters and a son, all of whom have royal titles. In this sweet portrait, she holds her second child, Prince Albert, in a loving embrace.

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