• Golden Globe Awards

1956: The Year Grace Kelly Quit Hollywood

On February 23, 1956, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association held the 13th Golden Globes at the Cocoanut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The lavish nightclub, known as Hollywood’s “first playground of the stars,” was the top venue of the Golden Globes for 10 of the next 12 years.
On that Thursday night, the legendary ballroom hosted the crème de la crème of Tinseltown. Attendees included Jack Warner, who received the Cecil B. deMille Award; Golden Globe winner Susan HaywardEsther Williams, a former competitive swimmer who received a special Hollywood Citizenship Award and was accompanied by then-husband Ben Gage; Zsa Zsa Gabor; Stewart Granger and then wife Jean Simmons, the latter of whom won her first Golden Globe as Best Actress for Guys and DollsLucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, the latter of whom received a Golden Globe for Television Achievement; and many other A-listers.
The 13th Golden Globes honored the best in film and television for 1955 including a Special Achievement Award given posthumously to James Dean for Elia Kazan’s East of Eden, which won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama.

Inevitably, this night was also a source of celebrity news. Golden Globe winner Gregory Peck made his first public appearance with French journalist Veronique Passani, whom he had married just two months earlier. Dana Wynter, who shared her New Star of the Year Actress Award with Anita Ekberg and Victoria Shaw that night, was accompanied by her fiancé, celebrity divorce lawyer Greg Bautzer. Jayne Mansfield, who’d just returned to Hollywood from Broadway, came with Mickey Hargitay, the 1955 Mr. Universe and her soon-to-be second husband.

But the media focus was all on Golden Globe winner Grace Kelly. She was presented with the World Film Favorite (Female) Award by Peck, and she also accepted the World Film Favorite (Male) Award for Marlon Brando, who could not attend that year.

That night at the Cocoanut Grove is seen as Kelly’s last public solo appearance in Hollywood. Less than two months later, Kelly would marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco, whom she met during her trip to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955.
Before Kelly left Hollywood to join her royal fiancé, she made her final film: the musical comedy High Society, co-starring Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. Fun fact: Kelly was famously known for choosing her own jewelry for her roles, and in High Society, she wears her actual engagement ring.
According to her biographers, initially, Kelly had no intention of retiring from acting after her wedding; several years later, she even aspired to return to Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie. Eventually, however, as Princess Consort of Monaco, a decision to quit was made. Kelly was the only American actress to marry into a European royal family before Meghan Markle became Duchess of Sussex.
Kelly remains the only real-life princess with a platinum record, though, after High Society’s “True Love,” written by Cole Porter, became a million-seller.