Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 20
Grace Kelly November 12, 1929
Grace Kelly born

In 1956, Grace Kelly would be reborn into royalty as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco after she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in a ceremony watched the world over. Her actual birth, however, as the third child (and second daughter) of Margaret and John Kelly of Philadelphia, was less dramatic. While her family was wealthy, they were far from the high society she would often represent in films. Indeed, as Democratic Irish Roman-Catholics, her family was for the most part barred from competing in real Philadelphia society. On the other hand, in the midst of America’s worst economic collapse, she wanted for little. Born only a month after the stock market crash of 1929, Kelly was raised in a world of affluence and ease. While both her parents were enthusiastically athletic, Grace was more interested in books, art, and drama. One of her biggest influence was her uncle George, a successful playwright who was generally shunned by the family for being both an artist and a gay man. Kelly later said of her uncle, “He introduced me to all kinds of things I would never have considered or been exposed to––classical literature, poetry and great plays. …He was also one of the few people who stood up to my father, disagreed with him, contradicted him. I thought Uncle George was fearless.” At age 17, Kelly also stood up to her father when she moved to NYC to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She further enraged everyone by refusing any assistance, carving out a successful modeling career to pay for her education. Having gotten cast in several Broadway shows (including The Philadelphia Story, the drama she would later redo as a musical in her last film High Society), Kelly then showed up in a small part in the 1951 suspense drama Fourteen Hours. However, her real screen debut would be the next year when she was cast opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon. From that point, her career took off. Before she stopped acting in 1956 to become Princess Grace, she’d made 10 films (three with Alfred Hitchcock), received an Oscar nomination in 1954 for Mogambo, and won a Best Actress Academy Award the next year for The Country Girl

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More Flashbacks
August 20, 1958
David O. Russell born

With the setbacks he’s had in recent years – namely his latest movie, Nailed, being in limbo due to financial issues, and the bad publicity he got following the leaking of videos showing his violent on-set spats with Lily Tomlin – it’s easy to forget that David O. Russell, born August 20, 1958, remains one of the foremost directors of American comedy.

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20 August 1942
Talk of the Nation

As newspapers were filled with patriotic headlines about the war abroad, Americans showed up in large numbers for the latest Cary Grant comedy Talk of The Town.

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