ACTRESS Grace Kelly once played the part of a princess. Then she became one.
The Academy Award winner, who rejected the bright lights of Hollywood to become Princess Grace of Monaco, died in a car crash on this day in 1982.
Born to an affluent family - her father was a three-time Olympic gold medallist - Kelly was educated at the finest schools but always had her on a career in acting.
Following in her uncle's footsteps, Walter C. Kelly, who made films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures, Kelly made her Broadway debut at the tender age of 19 in The Father.
Kelly quickly moved into television where she appeared in nearly sixty live programs.
But Hollywood was calling and she made her first big screen appearance in a small role in the 1951 film Fourteen Hours.
However, her big breakthrough came when she starred in Mogambo, earning a Golden Globe and her first Academy Award nomination.
But the Oscar would not elude her for long, taking home the gold statue for Best Actress for her role in the 1954 hit The Country Girl.
During this time, she entranced famed director Alfred Hitchcock and the pair worked on three films together; Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.
It wasn't the first time her good looks turned a head or two, but when she finally said "I do", it would create headlines around the world!
After heading a delegation to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, Kelly met with Prince Rainer III, the sovereign of the principality of Monaco.
The pair quickly began a secret correspondence and later that year, Prince Rainer, under the guise of a tour, visited the US, met her family and, after just three days, proposed.
The pair were twice married; a civil ceremony in the royal palace (April 18, 1956) and a religious wedding in the Saint Nicholas Cathedral a day later.
The ceremony - which was dubbed 'the wedding of the century' - was marked by an almost fever in the streets of Monaco, watched by over 30 million people on television and was remarked as "the first modern event to generate media overkill".
The couple welcomed their first child, Princess Caroline, a year later and was joined by Prince Albert (1958) and Princess Stephanie (1965).
Her new role saw her quit Hollywood with her time on screen reduced to roles on television and public readings.
But on September 13, 1982, while driving back to Monaco from her country home with her youngest daughter, Kelly suffered a stroke and lost control of the car.
The pair were rushed to hospital but doctors were not able to save Kelly's life and she died the next night after Prince Rainer made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support. She was 52.
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