François Ozon (born 15 November 1967) is a French film director and screenwriter whose films are usually characterized by sharp satirical wit and a freewheeling view on human sexuality.
He has achieved international acclaim for his films 8 femmes (2002) and Swimming Pool (2003). Ozon is considered to be one of the most important French film directors in the new "New Wave" in French cinema such as Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Philippe Ramos, and Yves Caumon, as well as a group of French filmmakers associated with a "cinema du corps/cinema of the body".
François Ozon est un réalisateur, scénariste et producteur français, né à Paris le 15 novembre 1967.
Il a été six fois nommé au César du meilleur film et du meilleur réalisateur.
François Ozon was born in Paris, France. Having studied directing at the French film school La Femis, Ozon made several short films such as A Summer Dress (Une robe d'été, 1996) and Scènes de lit (1998). His motion picture directing debut was Sitcom (1998), which was well received by both critics and audiences.
After the Fassbinder adaptation Water Drops on Burning Rocks (Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes, 2000) came the film which made his name known outside France, 8 Women (8 femmes, 2002), starring Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant, Isabelle Huppert and Emmanuelle Béart. With its quirky mix of musical numbers and murder mystery and a production design harking back to 1950s Hollywood melodramas such as those directed by Douglas Sirk, the film became a huge commercial success.
In 2003, Swimming Pool, which starred Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier was released. It was considered by Ozon as a very personal film that gives insight into the difficult process of writing a novel or screenplay.
In 2004 he directed the film 5x2. In 2005 his film Time to Leave (Le Temps qui reste) was screened at various film festivals worldwide.
Ozon's first full English-language production Angel, starring Romola Garai, was released in early 2007. The film, based on a novel by British writer Elizabeth Taylor, follows the story of a poor girl who climbs Edwardian England's social ladder by becoming a romance writer. The film was shot at Tyntesfield House and Estate near Bristol, at other UK locations and in Belgium.
While filming Angel, Ozon developed a strong friendship with Garai and called her his "muse".
On 19 December 2011 Ozon was announced as being on the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, which was held in February 2012.
His 2013 film Young & Beautiful (Jeune & Jolie) was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Ozon was elected as best screenwriter at the 2013 European Film Awards for his 2012 film In the House(Dans la maison).
François Ozon est né d'un biologiste et d'une professeure de français, dans une famille de quatre enfants. Il a reçu une éducation catholique.
Il affirme être homosexuel. La sexualité, l'ambiguïté, l'ambivalence et la subversion des normes sociales ou familiales sont certains de ses thèmes privilégiés.
Ozon se passionne très tôt pour le cinéma. Il fait quelques apparitions comme figuranta et crée quelques courts métrages amateurs en super 8 dans lesquels il fait jouer les membres de sa famille. Après une maîtrise de cinéma à l'université Paris-I, il intègre, en 1990, le département « Réalisation » de la Femis, dont il sort diplômé avec la promotion 1994. Il y rencontre ses futurs producteurs Olivier Delbosc et Marc Missonnier.
À sa sortie de l'école, François Ozon tourne ses premiers courts-métrages « professionnels », qui lui assurent très vite une certaine reconnaissance dans le milieu du cinéma. Ces films obtiennent d'ailleurs de nombreux prix dans des festivals. Durant dix années, François Ozon enchaîne les courts-métrages avant de passer au long métrage avec Sitcom (1998). C'est avec Sous le sable (2000) qu'il reçoit une large reconnaissance publique et critique.
Il rencontre à Paris Philippe Rombi qui écrit des compositions musicales pour des élèves de la Femis en parallèle de ses études au CNSMDP. Il signe ensuite la quasi-totalité des bandes originales de films de François Ozon.
En 2003, François Ozon fonde la société de production FOZ5, qui coproduit la plupart de ses films.
En 2012, François Ozon est membre du jury de la 62e édition du Festival international du film de Berlin, présidée par Mike Leigh. La même année, il obtient la Coquille d'or au 60e Festival de Saint-Sébastien pour Dans la maison, une histoire de vampirisation d’un professeur de français par un élève surdoué.
Les longs métrages d'Ozon démontrent une grande cinéphilie et procèdent par citations visuelles, de Jean-Luc Godard à Claude Chabrol, en passant par François Truffaut, Alain Resnais, Douglas Sirk, Luchino Visconti, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Billy Wilder, Pedro Almodóvar ou encore Rainer Werner Fassbinder dont il adapte une pièce avec Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes.
Il tourne un film par an en moyenne et aime explorer divers genres qu'il mêle parfois : drame intimiste, mélodrame, film fantastique, comédie, film policier, comédie musicale, film noir, thriller ou film à costume. Ses scénarios s'attachent à relater le voyage intérieur de ses protagonistes, majoritairement féminins, qui se trouvent confrontés à la difficulté d'affirmer leurs désirs dans une société normative ou violente. Dans sa manière de filmer, Ozon alterne réalisme et artificialité revendiquée. Il a souvent recours à une forme de stylisation extrême (décors, costumes, manière de filmer, musique) pour faire émerger une vérité cachée sur ses personnages et jouer sur la confusion du vrai et du faux.
Jean Dorothy Seberg (November 13, 1938 – August 30, 1979) was an American actress who lived half of her life in France. Her performance in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film Breathless immortalized her as an icon of French New Wave cinema.
Seberg appeared in 34 films in Hollywood and in Europe, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Lilith, The Mouse That Roared, Breathless, Moment to Moment, A Fine Madness, Paint Your Wagon, Airport, Macho Callahan, and Gang War in Naples.
Seberg was among the best-known targets of the FBI COINTELPRO project. Her targeting was in retaliation for her support of the Black Panther Party, a smear directly ordered by J. Edgar Hoover.
Seberg died at the age of 40 in Paris, with police ruling her death a probable suicide. Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death at which he blamed the FBI's campaign against Seberg for her death. Gary noted that the FBI had planted false rumors with American media outlets claiming that her 1970 pregnancy was a Black Panther's child, and claimed that the trauma had resulted in the child's miscarriage. Gary stated that Seberg had attempted suicide on numerous anniversaries of the child's death, August 25.
Jean Dorothy Seberg was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, the daughter of Dorothy Arline, a substitute teacher, and Edward Waldemar Seberg, a pharmacist. Her family was Lutheran and of Swedish, English, and German ancestry.
Her paternal grandfather, Edward Carlson, arrived in the U.S. in 1882 and observed, "there are too many Carlsons in the New World." He changed the family surname to Seberg in memory of the water and mountains of Sweden. Seberg had a sister, Mary-Ann, and two brothers, Kurt and David, the younger of whom was killed in a car accident at the age of 18 in 1968.
In Marshalltown, Seberg babysat Mary Supinger, some eight years her junior, who became stage and film actress Mary Beth Hurt. After high school, Seberg enrolled at the University of Iowa to study dramatic arts, but took up filmmaking instead.
Jean Seberg made her film debut in the title role of Joan of Arc in Saint Joan (1957), based on the George Bernard Shaw play, having been chosen from among 18,000 hopefuls by director Otto Preminger in a $150,000 talent search. Her name was entered by a neighbor.
When she was cast on October 21, 1956, Seberg's only acting experience had been a single season of summer stock performances. The film generated a great deal of publicity, but Seberg commented that she was "embarrassed by all the attention." Despite great hype, called in the press a "Pygmalion experiment", both the film and Seberg received poor reviews. On the failure, she later told the press:
I am the greatest example of a very real fact, that all the publicity in the world will not make you a movie star if you are not also an actress.
She also recounted:
I have two memories of Saint Joan. The first was being burned at the stake in the picture. The second was being burned at the stake by the critics. The latter hurt more. I was scared like a rabbit and it showed on the screen. It was not a good experience at all. I started where most actresses end up.
Preminger promised her a second chance, and he cast Seberg in his next film, Bonjour Tristesse (1958), which was filmed in France. Preminger told the press: "It's quite true that, if I had chosen Audrey Hepburn instead of Jean Seberg, it would have been less of a risk, but I prefer to take the risk. [..] I have faith in her. Sure, she still has things to learn about acting, but so did Kim Novak when she started." Seberg again received negative reviews and the film nearly ended her career.
Seberg renegotiated her contract with Preminger and signed a long-term contract with Columbia Pictures. Preminger had an option to use her on another film, but they never again worked together. Her first Columbia film was the successful comedy The Mouse That Roared (1959), starring Peter Sellers.
During the filming of Bonjour Tristesse, Jean Seberg met François Moreuil, the man who was to become her first husband. 15 months later, On September 5, 1958, at the age of 19, Seberg married François Moreuil, a French lawyer (aged 23) in her native Marshalltown.
Afterwards, Seberg based herself in France, finally achieving success as the free-love heroine of French New Wave films.
She appeared as the female lead in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (French title: À bout de souffle, 1960) as Patricia, co-starring with Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film became an international success and critics praised Seberg's performance; film critic and director François Truffaut even hailed her as "the best actress in Europe."
Despite her achievements, Seberg did not identify with her characters or the film plots, saying that she was "making films in France about people [I'm] not really interested in."
Jean Seberg's husband Moreuil had ambitions to work in film. After appearing in Time Out for Love (Les grandes personnes, 1961), Seberg took the lead role in Moreuil's directorial debut, Love Play (La Recréation, also 1961). By that time, Seberg had become estranged from Moreuil, and she recollected that production was "pure hell" and that he "would scream at [her]."
They divorced in 1960.
Seberg followed the film Love Play with Five Day Lover (L'amant de cinq jours, 1962), Congo vivo (1962) and In the French Style (1962), a French-American film featuring Stanley Baker released through Columbia.
I'm enjoying it to the fullest extent. I've been tremendously lucky to have gone through this experience at an age where I can still learn. That doesn't mean that I will stay here. I'm in Paris because my work has been here. I'm not an expatriate. I will go where the work is. The French life has its drawbacks. One of them is the formality. The system seems to be based on saving the maximum of yourself for those nearest you. Perhaps that is better than the other extreme in Hollywood, where people give so much of themselves in public life that they have nothing left over for their families. Still, it is hard for an American to get used to. Often I will get excited over a luncheon table only to have the hostess say discreetly that coffee will be served in the other room. ... I miss that casualness and friendliness of Americans, the kind that makes people smile. I also miss blue jeans, milk shakes, thick steaks and supermarkets.
In 1961 Seberg met French aviator, French resistance member, novelist and diplomat Romain Gary, who was 24 years her senior and married to author Lesley Blanch. Seberg gave birth to their son, Alexandre Diego Gary, in Barcelona on July 17, 1962. The child's birth and first year of life were hidden, even from close friends and relatives. Gary's divorce from Blanch took place on September 5, 1962, and he married Seberg secretly on October 6, 1962 in Corsica.
During her marriage to Gary, Seberg lived in Paris, Greece, Southern France and Majorca.
After starring with Warren Beatty in the American film Lilith (1964) for Columbia, which prompted the critics to acknowledge Seberg as a serious actress, she returned to France to make Diamonds Are Brittle (Un milliard dans un billard, 1965).
In the late 1960s, Seberg was increasingly based in Hollywood. Moment to Moment (1965) was mostly filmed in Los Angeles; only a small part of the film was shot on the French Cote d'Azur. In New York, she acted in A Fine Madness (1966) with Sean Connery.
In 1966 and 1967, Seberg played the leading roles in two French films directed by Claude Chabrol and co-starring Maurice Ronet. In May and June of 1967, she played the lead role in the French-Italian Eurospy film The Road to Corinth, shot in Greece.
She filed for divorce from Romain Gary in September 1968, and the divorce was finalized on July 1, 1970.
In 1969, Seberg appeared in her only musical film, Paint Your Wagon (also 1969), based on Lerner and Loewe's stage musical and co-starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Her singing voice was dubbed by Anita Gordon. Seberg also starred in the disaster film Airport (1970).
While filming Macho Callahan in Durango, Mexico in the winter of 1969–70, Seberg became romantically involved with a student revolutionary named Carlos Ornelas Navarra. She gave birth to Ornelas's daughter, Nina Hart Gary, on August 23, 1970. The baby died two days later on August 25, 1970 as a result of complications sustained when Seberg had overdosed on sleeping pills during her pregnancy. Ex-husband Gary assumed responsibility for the pregnancy, but Seberg acknowledged that Ornelas was the father. Nina is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown.
On March 12, 1972, Seberg married director Dennis Berry. The couple separated in May 1976, but never divorced. Her next lover was aspiring French filmmaker Jean-Claude Messager, who later spoke to CBS's Mike Wallace for a 1981 profile of the actress.
Seberg was François Truffaut's first choice for the central role of Julie in Day for Night (La Nuit américaine, 1973) but, after several fruitless attempts to contact her, he gave up and cast British actress Jacqueline Bisset instead.
Seberg's last American film appearance was in the TV movie Mousey (1974). She remained active during the 1970s in European films, appearing in Bianchi cavalli d'Agosto (White Horses of Summer) (1975), Le Grand Délire (The Big Delirium, 1975, with husband Dennis Berry) and Die Wildente (1976, based on Ibsen's The Wild Duck).
In 1979, while still legally married to her estranged husband Berry, Seberg went through "a form of marriage" to Algerian Ahmed Hasni. Hasni persuaded her to sell her second apartment on the Rue du Bac, and he kept the proceeds (reportedly 11 million francs in cash), announcing that he would use the money to open a Barcelona restaurant. The couple departed for Spain, but she was soon back in Paris alone, and went into hiding from Hasni, who she claimed had grievously abused her.
Besides her husbands and lovers, Seberg reportedly had affairs with co-stars Warren Beatty (Lilith), Clint Eastwood (Paint Your Wagon) and Fabio Testi (Gang War in Naples).Writer Carlos Fuentes also claims to have had an affair with her.
On August 30, 1979, Seberg disappeared. Hasni told police that the couple had gone to a movie and when he awoke the next morning, Seberg was gone. After Seberg went missing, Hasni told police that he had known that she was suicidal for some time. He claimed that she had attempted suicide in July 1979 by jumping in front of a Paris subway train.
On September 8, nine days after her disappearance, Seberg's decomposing body was found wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her Renault, parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. Police found a bottle of barbiturates, an empty mineral water bottle and a note written in French by Seberg addressed to her son Alexandre Diego Gary. It read in part, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." In 1979, her death was ruled a probable suicide by Paris police, but the following year additional charges were filed against persons unknown for "non-assistance of a person in danger."
Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death at which he blamed the FBI's campaign against Seberg for her deteriorating mental health.
Seberg is interred at the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.
At the time of Jean Seberg's death, she was working on the French film Operation Leopard (La Légion saute sur Kolwezi, 1980) which was based upon the book by Pierre Sergent. She had filmed scenes in French Guiana and returned to Paris for additional work in September. After her death, the scenes were reshot with actress Mimsy Farmer.
Six days after the discovery of Seberg's body, the FBI released documents under the Freedom of Information Act admitting its defamation of Seberg, while making statements attempting to distance the agency from the practices of the Hoover era. The FBI's campaign against Seberg was further explored by Time magazine in a front-page article titled "The FBI vs. Jean Seberg."
Media attention surrounding the FBI's abuse of Seberg led to an examination of the case by the Church Committee of the U.S. Senate.
In June 1980, Paris police filed charges against "persons unknown" in connection with Seberg's death. Police stated that Seberg had such a high amount of alcohol in her system at the time of her death that it would have rendered her comatose and unable to enter her car without assistance, and no alcohol was found in the car. Police theorized that someone was present at the time of Seberg's death and failed to seek medical care.
In December 1980, Seberg's former husband Romain Gary committed suicide. His suicide note, addressed to his publisher, indicated that he had not killed himself over the loss of Seberg, but because he could no longer produce literary works.
As of 2009, Jean Seberg and Romain Gary's son Alexandre Diego Gary resides in Spain, where he runs a bookstore and oversees his father's literary and real-estate holdings.
Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American actress who, after starring in several significant films in the early to mid-1950s, became Princess of Monaco by marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956.
Kelly was born into a well-known Catholic family of Irish and German origin in the U.S city of Philadelphia. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1949, Kelly began appearing in New York City theatrical productions and over 40 live drama productions broadcast in early 1950s Golden Age of Television. She gained stardom from her performance in John Ford's adventure-romance Mogambo (1953), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the drama The Country Girl (1954). Other notable works include the western High Noon (1952), the romantic comedy High Society (1956), and three consecutive Alfred Hitchcock suspense thrillers: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). Kelly worked with some of the most prominent leading men of the era, including Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Ray Milland, James Stewart, Bing Crosby, William Holden, Cary Grant, Alec Guinness, and Frank Sinatra.
Kelly retired from acting at age 26 to marry Rainier, and began her duties as Princess of Monaco. Her final film contribution was in 1977 to the documentary The Children of Theatre Street directed by Robert Dornhelm, where she served as the narrator. The documentary was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Princess Grace retained her link to America by her dual U.S. and Monégasque citizenship.
Hitchcock hoped that she would appear in more of his films which required an "icy blonde" lead actress, but he was unable to coax her out of retirement. The Prince and Princess had three children: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stéphanie.
Her charity work focused on young children and the arts, establishing the Princess Grace Foundation to support local artisans in 1964. Her organization for children's rights, AMADE Mondiale, gained consultive status within UNICEF and UNESCO.
Kelly died at the age of 52 at Monaco Hospital on September 14, 1982, from injuries sustained in a car crash the previous day. She is listed 13th among the American Film Institute's 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classical Hollywood Cinema. Her son, Prince Albert, helped establish the Princess Grace Awards in 1984 to recognize emerging performers in film, theatre, and dance.
Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929, at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an affluent and influential family. Her father, John B. Kelly Sr. was born to Irish immigrants and won three Olympic gold medals for sculling. He also owned a successful brickwork contracting company that was well known on the East Coast. As Democratic nominee in the 1935 election for Mayor of Philadelphia, he lost by the closest margin in the city's history. In later years he served on the Fairmount Park Commission and, during World War II, was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness. His brother Walter C. Kelly was a vaudeville star, who also made films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures, and his another brother named George was a Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist, screenwriter, and director.
Kelly's mother, Margaret Majer, had German parents. Margaret had taught physical education at the University of Pennsylvania and had been the first woman to coach women's athletics at Penn. She also modeled for a time in her youth. After marrying John B. Kelly in 1924, Margaret focused on being a homemaker until all her children were of school age, following which she began actively participating in various civic organizations.
Kelly had two older siblings, Margaret and John Jr., and a younger sister, Elizabeth. The children were raised in the Catholic faith.
Kelly grew up in a small, close-knit Catholic community. She was baptized and received her elementary education in the parish of Saint Bridget's in East Falls. While attending Ravenhill Academy, a reputable Catholic girls' school, Kelly modeled fashions at local charity events with her mother and sisters.
In 1942, at the age of 12, she played the lead in Don't Feed the Animals, a play produced by the Old Academy Players also in East Falls. In May 1947, she graduated from Stevens School, a socially prominent private institution in nearby Chestnut Hill, where she participated in drama and dance programs. Her graduation yearbook listed her favorite actress as Ingrid Bergman and her favorite actor as Joseph Cotten.
Despite her parents' initial disapproval, Kelly decided to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress.
To start her career, she auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, using a scene from her uncle George Kelly's The Torch-Bearers (1923). Although the school had already met its semester quota, she obtained an interview with the admissions department, and was admitted through George's influence. Kelly worked diligently, and practiced her speech by using a tape recorder. Her early acting pursuits led her to the stage, and she made her Broadway debut in Strindberg's The Father, alongside Raymond Massey. At 19, her graduation performance was as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story. Her uncle would continue to advise and mentor Kelly throughout her acting career.
At her father's insistence, she lived at the Barbizon Hotel for Women in Manhattan. She was hired as a model by the John Robert Powers agency, where some of her first modeling jobs were doing commercials for bug spray and cigarettes. Kelly was reportedly "fond of dancing to Hawaiian music down the hallways of the Barbizon, and given to shocking her fellow residents by performing topless." She later wrote that she had "wonderful memories of the three years I spent at the Barbizon."
Television producer Delbert Mann cast Grace Kelly as the lead in an adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel "Bethel Merriday"; this was her first of nearly sixty live television programs. As a theater personality, she was mentioned in Theatre World magazine as: "[a] most promising personality of the Broadway stage of 1950." Some of her well-known works as a theater actress were: The Father, The Rockingham Tea Set, The Apple Tree, The Mirror of Delusion, Episode (for Somerset Maugham's tele-serial), among others.
Impressed by her work in The Father, Henry Hathaway, director of the Twentieth Century-Fox film Fourteen Hours (1951), offered her a small role in the film. Kelly had a minor role as a young woman contemplating divorce. Following the release of this film, the "Grace Kelly Fan Club" was established, gaining popularity across the country with local chapters springing up and attracting many members. Kelly referred to her fan club as "terrifically amusing".
Kelly's performance in Fourteen Hours went largely unnoticed by critics, and did not contribute to her film career's momentum. She continued her work in the theater and on television.
Grace Kelly was performing at Colorado's Elitch Theatre, when producer Stanley Kramer offered her a role co-starring opposite Gary Cooper in Fred Zinnemann's High Noon (1952), a Western filmed in Columbia, California. She accepted the role, and the film was shot in the late summer and early fall of 1951 over a 28-day shooting schedule in hot weather conditions. She was cast as a "young Quaker bride to Gary Cooper's stoic Marshall", and wore a "suitably demure vaguely Victorian dress", alongside Cooper, who was 28 years her senior. The movie was released in the summer of 1952. High Noon garnered four Academy Awards, and has since been ranked by some reviewers among the best films of all time.
After filming High Noon, Kelly returned to New York City and took private acting lessons, keen to be taken seriously as an actress. She performed in a few dramas in the theater, and in TV serials. She appeared in several television plays, and screen-tested for the film Taxi in the spring of 1952. Director John Ford noticed Kelly in the screen test, and his studio flew her out to Los Angeles to audition in September 1952. Ford said that Kelly showed "breeding, quality, and class". She was given the role, along with a seven-year contract at the relatively low salary of $850 a week. Kelly signed the deal under two conditions: first, that one out of every two years, she had time off to work in the theatre; and second, that she be able to live in New York City at her residence in Manhattan House, at 200 E. 66th Street.(now a landmark).
In November 1952, Kelly and the cast arrived in Nairobi to begin the production of the film Mogambo, replacing Gene Tierney, who dropped out at the last minute due to personal issues.
Kelly later told Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper, "Mogambo had three things that interested me: John Ford, Clark Gable, and a trip to Africa, with expenses paid. If Mogambo had been made in Arizona, I wouldn't have done it." Kelly played Linda Nordley, a contemplative English wife with a romantic interest in Clark Gable's character. Filming took place over the course of three months. The costumes were designed by Helen Rose. The film was released in 1953, and had a successful run at the box office. Kelly won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
After the success of Mogambo, Kelly starred in the television play The Way of an Eagle with Jean-Pierre Aumont, before being cast in the film adaptation of Frederick Knott's Broadway hit Dial M for Murder, opposite Ray Milland and Robert Cummings. Kelly played the role of the wealthy wife of a retired professional tennis player.
Director Alfred Hitchcock, who had also seen her during her Taxi screen test, would become one of Kelly's mentors during the last years of her career. She was subsequently loaned by MGM to work in several Hitchcock films, which would become some of her most critically acclaimed and recognized work.
Kelly began filming scenes for her next film, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, in early 1954, with William Holden, for Paramount Pictures. The story, based on the novel by James Michener, is about American Navy jet fighters stationed to fight in Asia. Kelly plays the role of Holden's wife. Famed dress designer Edith Head did her costumes, with whom she had established a friendly relationship.
Kelly unhesitatingly turned down the opportunity to star alongside Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954). Eva Marie Saint, who replaced her, went on to win an Academy Award for the role. Instead, she committed to the role of Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.
The role of Lisa Fremont, a wealthy Manhattan socialite and fashion model who "never wore the same dress twice", was unlike any of the previous women she had played. This marked her first performance as an independent career woman. In line with their previous collaborations, Alfred Hitchcock brought her elegance to the foreground by changing her dresses many times, including: "glamorous evening short dresses, a sheer negligee over a sleek nightgown, a full-skirted floral dress, and a casual pair of jeans". Upon the film's opening in October 1954, Kelly was again praised.
Grace Kelly played the role of Bing Crosby's long-suffering wife, Georgie Elgin, in The Country Girl (1954), after a pregnant Jennifer Jones bowed out. Already familiar with the play, Kelly was highly interested in the part. MGM once again would have to lend Kelly to Paramount Pictures. Kelly also negotiated a more lucrative contract in light of her recent success. In the film, Kelly played the wife of a washed-up, alcoholic singer, played by Bing Crosby. Her character becomes torn emotionally between her two lovers, played by Crosby and William Holden. She was again dressed by Edith Head to suit her role in the film, initially appearing in fashionable dresses, shifting to ordinary-looking cardigans toward the end of the film.
As a result of her performance in The Country Girl, Kelly won the Academy Award for Best Actress. After receiving the Oscar nomination, Kelly won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best actress for her performances in her three big movie roles of 1954: Rear Window, Dial M For Murder, and The Country Girl. At the Golden Globe Awards in 1955, Kelly won the Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
In April 1954, Kelly flew to Colombia for a 10-day shoot on her next project, Green Fire, with Stewart Granger. She played Catherine Knowland, a coffee plantation owner. Then she flew to the French Riviera to work on her third, and last, film for Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief. Lent to Paramount for the fifth time, Kelly played the role of a temptress who wears "luxurious and alluring clothes", while Cary Grant played the role of a former cat burglar, then looking to catch a thief who is imitating him.
Kelly and Grant developed a mutual bond and admiration for one another. Years later, when asked to name his all-time favorite actress, Cary Grant replied: "Well, with all due respect to dear Ingrid Bergman, I much preferred Grace. She had serenity."
In 1956, Kelly resided in a home rented from Bill Lear in the Pacific Palisades, California for the duration of the filming of her next film The Swan, directed by Charles Vidor. She portrayed Princess Alexandra, opposite Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan.
Grace Kelly's final role was in Charles Walters's musical film High Society, a re-make of MGM's The Philadelphia Story (1940). She portrayed Tracy Lord, opposite Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. When it was released in July 1956.
Kelly headed the U.S. delegation at the Cannes Film Festival in April 1955. While there, she was invited to participate in a photo session with Prince Rainier III, the sovereign of the Principality of Monaco, at the Prince's Palace of Monaco about 55 km away from Cannes. After a series of delays and complications, she met him at the palace on May 6, 1955.
After a year-long courtship, Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier in April 1956.
The Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the laws of the Catholic Church necessitated two ceremonies – both a civil and a religious wedding. The 16-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956, and a reception later in the day was attended by 3,000 Monégasque citizens.
To cap the ceremony, the 142 official titles that she acquired in the union (counterparts of her husband's) were formally recited. The church ceremony took place the following day at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral, presided over by Bishop Gilles Barthe. The wedding was estimated to have been watched by over 30 million viewers on TV.
Her wedding dress, designed by MGM's Academy Award-winning Helen Rose, was worked on for 6 weeks by three dozen dress makers.The Prince and Princess left that night for their seven-week Mediterranean honeymoon cruise on his yacht, Deo Juvante II.
Princess Grace gave birth to the couple's first child, Princess Caroline, on January 23, 1957. Their next child and the heir to the throne, Prince Albert, was born on March 14, 1958. Their youngest, Princess Stéphanie, was born on February 1, 1965.
During her marriage, Grace demurred from continuing her acting career. Instead, she performed her daily duties as princess and became involved in philanthropic work. As princess consort, she became the patron of the Red Cross of Monaco and Rainbow Coalition Children, an orphanage which was run by former dancer Josephine Baker. The Princess also served as president of the Garden Club of Monaco, and president of the organizing committee of the International Arts Foundation.
Grace founded AMADE Mondiale, a Monaco-based, non-profit organization which is recognized by the UN, after she witnessed the plight of Vietnamese children in 1963.
Princess Grace was active in improving the arts institutions of Monaco, forming the Princess Grace Foundation in 1964 to support local artisans.
In 1975, Grace helped found the Princess Grace Academy, the resident school of the Monte Carlo Ballet. She later advocated to preserve the Belle Époque-era architecture of the principality.
Alfred Hitchcock offered Princess Grace the lead in his film Marnie in 1962. She was eager, but public outcry in Monaco against her involvement in a film where she would play a kleptomaniac made her reconsider and ultimately reject the project. Director Herbert Ross also tried to interest her in a part in his film The Turning Point (1977), but Rainier dismissed the idea. Later that year, she returned to the arts in a series of poetry readings on stage and narration of the documentary The Children of Theatre Street. She also narrated ABC's made-for-television film The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966).
Grace joined the board of the 20th C.-Fox Film Corporation in 1976, becoming one of its first female members. In 1980, she published "My Book of Flowers" with Gwen Robyns, detailing her sense of floral aesthetics, symbolism, and flower pressing. Grace and Rainier worked together on a 33-minute independent film titled Rearranged in 1979, which received interest from ABC TV executives in 1982 after its premiere in Monaco, on the condition that it be extended to an hour. Before more scenes could be shot, Grace died and the film was never released, nor was it publicly shown again.
In the early 1980s, Grace collaborated with Springmaid Company, the now-defunct bed linen brand, after a newly hired Springmaid stylist Neil Mandell, found the designs Grace made in a People magazine article on the exhibition in a Paris Gallery.
The collaboration was titled GPK after the initials of her maiden name and features bed linens, tablecloths, napkins, placemats, and others. Princess Grace received more than $1 million in royalties, which she donated to her favorite charities.
On September 13, 1982, Grace Kelly suffered a small stroke while driving back to Monaco from her country home in Roc Agel. As a result, she lost control of her 1971 Rover P6 3500 and drove off the steep, winding road and down the 120-foot (37 m) mountainside. Her teenage daughter Stéphanie, who was in the passenger seat, tried but failed to regain control of the car. The Princess was taken to the Monaco Hospital (later named the Princess Grace Hospital Centre) with injuries to the brain and thorax and a fractured femur. She died the following night at 10:55 p.m. after Rainier decided to turn off her life support.
Princess Grace's funeral was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate in Monaco-Ville, on September 18, 1982. After a Requiem Mass, she was buried in the Grimaldi family vault. Over 400 people attended, including Cary Grant, Nancy Reagan, Danielle Mitterrand, Empress Farah of Iran, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Rainier, who did not remarry, was buried alongside her after his death in 2005.