- The Girl With the Million Dollar Legs
- Elizabeth Ruth Grable
- St. Louis Missouri USA
- United States
- Legs Hourglass Figure
Betty Grable (born December 18, 1916, in St. Louis Missouri) was one of America's great stage and cinematic musical performers, as well as one of the most talented and lovely actresses of Hollywood's golden age of cinema. Born Elizabeth Ruth Grable in St. Louis to John Conn Grable (1883–1954) and Lillian Rose Hofmann (1889–1964)she was the youngest of three children.
Betty Grable Those Legs
In 1943, Her iconic bathing suit photo, which was shot by photographer Frank Powolny, made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era. It was later included in the Life magazine project "100 Photos that Changed the World". Grable was particularly noted for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and studio publicity widely dispersed photos featuring them. Hosiery specialists of the era often noted the ideal proportions of her legs as: thigh (18.5") calf (12"), and ankle (7.5"). Grable's legs were famously insured by her studio for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London.
Betty Grable Career
Young Betty was propelled into acting by her mother, Lillian . For her first role, as a chorus girl in the film Happy Days (1929), Grable was only 12-years-old (legally underage for acting), but, because the chorus line performed in blackface, it was impossible to tell how old she was. Her mother soon gave her a make-over which included dyeing her hair platinum blonde.
For her next film, her mother Lillian got secured a contract for her using a false identification. When this deception was discovered, however, Grable was fired. Grable finally obtained a role as a 'Goldwyn Girl' in Whoopee! (1930), starring Eddie Cantor. Though Grable received no billing, she led the opening number, "Cowboys." Grable then worked in small roles at different studios for the rest of the decade, including the Academy Award-winning The Gay Divorcee (1934), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In the 1940s – after small parts in over 50 Hollywood movies throughout the 1930s – Grable finally gained national attention on stage for her role in the Cole Porter Broadway hit ` In 1940, Grable obtained a contract with 20th Century Fox, becoming their top star throughout the decade, with Technicolor movies such as Down Argentine Way (1940), Moon Over Miami (1941) (both with Don Ameche), Springtime in The Rockies (1942), Coney Island (1943) with George Montgomery, Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943) with Robert Young, Pin Up Girl (1944), Diamond Horseshoe (1945) with Dick Haymes, The Dolly Sisters (1945) with John Payne and June Haver, and her most popular film, Mother Wore Tights (1947), with her favorite co-star, Dan Dailey. It was during her reign as box office queen in 1943 that Grable posed for her famous pinup photo, which (along with her movies) soon became escapist fare among GIs fighting in World War II. The image was taken by Powolny, who died in 1986.  Despite solid competition from Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Carole Landis, Lana Turner, and her biggest pin-up rival, Rita Hayworth, Grable was indisputably the top pinup girl for American soldiers. She was wildly popular at home as well, placing in the top 10 box office draws for 10 years. By the end of the 1940s Grable was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood, receiving $300,000 a year.
Post World War II cinematic and stage works
Her postwar musicals included: That Lady in Ermine (1948) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948) again with Dailey, Wabash Avenue (1950) (a remake of Grable's own Coney Island) with Victor Mature, My Blue Heaven (1950), and Meet Me After the Show (1951). Studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck lavished his star with expensive Technicolor films, but also kept her busy — Grable made nearly 25 musicals and comedies in 13 years. Her last big hit for Fox was How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe. Grable next starred in Three for the Show (1955) with Jack Lemmon and this film was one of her last musicals.
Grable's later career was marked by feuds with studio heads. At one point, in the middle of a fight with Zanuck, she tore up her contract and stormed out of his office. Gradually leaving movies entirely, she made the transition to television and starred in Las Vegas. In 1967, she took over the lead in the touring company of Hello, Dolly!. She starred in a 1969 musical called Belle Starr in London, but it was savaged by critics and soon folded. Grable's last role was Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, and the last stage she performed on was the Alhambra Dinner Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida in February, 1973.
Betty Grable Grable's Love Life
In 1937, Grable married another famous former child-actor, Jackie Coogan. He was under considerable stress from a lawsuit against his parents over his earnings, however, and the couple divorced in 1939. In 1943, she married trumpeter and big band leader Harry James. The couple had two daughters, Victoria and Jessica. They endured a tumultuous 22-year marriage that was plagued by alcoholism and infidelity. The couple divorced in 1965. Grable entered into a relationship with a dancer, Bob Remick, several years her junior. Though they did not marry, their romance lasted until the end of Grable's life. Somehow she had time to squeeze in time for Dezi Arnaz and Oleg Cassinni.
Betty Grable Grable's Death and Posthomous Recogniton
A longtime cigarette smoker, Betty, in her later years, began suffering ill effects from the longtime habit, eventually succumed to lung cancer and died on July 5, 1973, on what would have been the 40th anniversary of her marriage to ex-husband James.
Among the lumunaries attending her funeral were her ex-husband James, Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Booth, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnnie Ray, Don Ameche, Cesar Romero, George Raft, Alice Faye and Dan Dailey. "I Had the Craziest Dream," the haunting ballad from "Springtime in the Rockies," was played on the church organ. This song was introduced in the film by Helen Forrest. She is interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.
Posthumously, Betty has been recognized with stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and the St. Louis Walk Of Fame. In 2009, she was also recognized by her home state of Missouri as one of its' Famous Missourians. In 2007, in an interview with Terry Gross, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner stated that Grable was the primary inspiration behind the founding of his magazine empire.
Betty Grable Trivia
- Voted Best Figure of 1941.
- Suffered two miladies, "demophobia" (fear of crowds) and somnanbulism (sleep-walking.
- Making $300,000 a year, The treasury Department noted that she was the highest paid woman in America in 1946-47.
- Betty's mesurements changed through the years, from 34 1/2-24-36 in 1940, to 36-24-35 in the mid 40s and 36-23-35, by 1958.
- Was one of the 20 original The Goldwyn Girls, among whom were Lucille Ball, Virginia Bruce, Ann Dvorak and Paulette Goddard.
Samuel Goldwyn, who changed her name to Frances Dean.
Sources: IMDB, Wikipedia, NNDB