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Wondery plus subscribers can listen to even the royals early and ad free right now. Join Wondery plus in the Wondery app or on Apple Podcasts. A quick note about our show. We do a lot of research for our stories, but we also aren't your boring high school history class, so some details and scenes are dramatized. And today's episode contains swearing. That's not exactly suitable for high society, so please be advised.




So, Arisha, in the summer of 2023, a life changing event happened. Barbenheimer. But more importantly, just Barbie, which I'm happy to report to you. I finally watched Brooke.


You did?


Yes. I knew you'd be so excited.


Oh, my God. Finally.


Yeah, last weekend. So I know you obviously watched it when it came out. What was your biggest takeaway?


It was a fun movie. Now, I'll be honest, it wasn't a movie that I was like, I got to see this over and over again.




But it was fun to go back down memory lane of playing with barbies and the different Barbie types. And of know, there was America Ferreira's character's big spiel about how hard it is to exist in this world, especially as a woman.




Loved it for all of that.


Yes. America Ferreira's monolog was a huge standout for me, too. I know. It was a huge standout for everybody. A lot of people were talking about it. It honestly made me tear up, which I was surprised about because I don't usually get too teary.


You're dead inside.


I know. Seriously. But it's the essence of being a woman. Like, you can't be too thin or too big. You can't be too nice or too mean. It's like, give us a break.


You can't win. Yeah.


And I will say today's story is about a princess who was basically a real life Barbie. She was a 1950s Hollywood starlet turned princess of Monaco. Okay, I'm sure you know where this is going. She is, of course, the one and only Grace Kelly.




Yes. So, you know, I love old Hollywood.




Grace Kelly is an icon. I mean, she was one of Hitchcock's leading ladies, but if you don't know her picture, stereotypical Barbie. Literally. She got blonde hair, blue eyes, obviously beautiful. And to the world, she seemed like the ultimate good girl. She was an Oscar winning starlet who married a real life prince. She lived the ultimate fairy tale. But this charmed life came at a price. Grace spent her entire life working towards perfection to be the perfect actress, the perfect wife, the perfect princess, and the perfect mother. And this desire to be the best ultimately cost Grace her own perfect happiness. On March 30, 155 and 25 year old Grace Kelly is just getting back to her suite at the Bel Air hotel in Los Angeles. She kicks off her heels and sighs. Her feet are killing her, and she's dying to get out of the dress she's wearing. But first she gets to work. Washing the makeup off her face, Grace looks at herself in the mirror. The french twist in her hair is loose and mascara is streaked down her cheeks. Just a few hours ago, she looked glamorous, but now she looks how she feels, drained.


Tonight was a big night for Grace. She won her first Academy Award for best actress. It was a night filled with celebration, dancing, and laughter. But now the fun has come to an end. Grace walks over to the bed and flops down. Her ears are still ringing from the night's partying. It's even more noticeable now that she's back in her hotel room, where there are no other noises except for a buz from the bedside lamp. There are no family or friends waiting for her, no special someone by her side to help her celebrate. Grace didn't even have a date for the ceremony, so now it's just her all alone. Grace reaches around to unzip her icy blue dress, but it's too hard to reach by herself. After a minute, she gives up and lies back on the bed. She wishes she had someone to recap the night with, or at the very least, to help her unzip her damn dress.


That's why you go to these events with best friends. Exactly.


Yeah. Eventually, Grace picks up the phone on the nightstand. She starts to dial a number she knows by heart, her ex boyfriend's don. But then she stops and puts the phone back down. She already called Don earlier to tell him about her night. Grace racks her brain for someone else she could call, but she draws a blank. She's a fashion icon, an A list actress, and she just won an Oscar. There should be plenty of people to help her celebrate. It should be one of the happiest nights of Grace's life, but instead, it's one of the loneliest. From wondery, I'm Brooke Zifrin.


And I'm Arisha Skidmore Williams.


And this is even the royals, where we bring you true stories of the world's kings, queens, and all the wannabes in their orbit.


Fancy champagne, let go down. Royal drama in my crown. It's a show about pulling back the.


Gilded curtain, because despite the whole anointed by God thing, royals are just like us.


Yeah, they have messy breakups, backstabbing frenemies, and workplace drama.


Only theirs end in wars, beheadings, and sometimes the fall of dynasties. This two part series is all about Grace Kelly, who trades Hollywood glamor for a royal title and domestic bliss, only to find that no matter who you are, being the perfect woman is an impossible fantasy. This is part one. Fire and ice. Okay, let's go back about 14 years to 1941. It's a cold winter night in Philadelphia, and twelve year old Grace Kelly is walking through the snow on her way home. Well, actually, more like floating. She just saw a play at the local theater and she's head over heels in love. Not with a boy, with the stage.


Oh, I know that feeling too well, having been in Boompa in high school.


Yeah, exactly. We all know that feeling now. Grace watched the whole cast pretend to be other people, and the entire audience cheered for them. She loves playing make believe, but she never knew it could be a career. So now Grace is pretty sure that acting is her destiny. Kinda like Arisha when she's high.


Or not high.


But before Grace can get started, she needs to get her father's permission. She's also kind of hoping that if she's great at acting, her dad will be excited and maybe even proud. Her dad, Jack Kelly, expects the best from his kids. He won not one, but three olympic gold medals for skulling, which is basically rowing. Then he founded a business and ran for mayor. He's a huge deal in Philadelphia at this point, and not exactly a chill guy or father. Unlike her siblings, Grace still hasn't figured out how to make Jack proud. Her brother and younger sister are sporty like their dad, and Grace's older sister, Peggy, has his same sharp sense of humor. But Grace is awkward and quiet. Most of the time, her family makes fun of her or leaves her out.


Yeah, see, that's not what families are supposed to do. What the hell?


Exactly. But maybe now she's finally found the thing that will make her dad notice her. Once he sees her name and lights, Jack will believe she's a real kelly and his eyes will light up like they do when he talks about her siblings. Grace pushes open the front door and kicks off her snowy shoes. She knocks on the door of her dad's smoke filled study and cautiously walks in. Jack looks up at her impatiently and Grace almost turns right back around, but she gathers her courage and blurts out, can I please audition for a show in town? I want to be an actress. Grace holds her breath, waiting for Jack's reaction. He doesn't say anything for a long time. The silence feels thick. Finally, he sighs and is like, sure. But his eyes don't light up like Grace hoped. Her energy deflates like a balloon. This wasn't the reaction she was hoping for, but like a good daughter, Grace thanks her dad and leaves the room. She turns around one last time as she exits and sees that he's already back to work. Like he forgot she was even there.




But Grace is a Kelly, which means she'll succeed. And when she's the best actress in the world, her dad will have to be proud of her. Not long after that awkward father daughter conversation, Grace gets cast in a lead role at her local theater. It's just a kid's play about a circus, but Grace tackles every rehearsal like she's starring in wicked on Broadway.


Like me when I was an Oompa Loompa.


Exactly. Yeah, she really digs deep. Just like you. She's always on time, and she never forgets a line. Grace even volunteers costume pieces straight from her mom's closet.


Listen, costume budgeting is not cheap. I get it. You get it where you can find it.


A few months later, Grace makes her big stage debut. She's nervous, and not just because it's her first show. Grace knows her family is sitting in the crowd. When the curtain goes up, Grace can sense the audience beyond the lights. As she hits her cues and blocking, they respond to her. She gets laughs and applause. It's thrilling to put away her real personality and become someone new. Grace might not fit in with her family, but the stage sure feels like home. After that first show, the Kellys don't suddenly do a 180 at home. They still dismiss her, but it stings a little less, because now Grace has found a place where she belongs. She keeps performing with her local theater. And when Grace gets to high school, she snags the lead roles in Peter Pan and the taming of the shrew. You got to respect the girl's range, even as a teen.


Truly. Yeah.


So meanwhile, all the stage experience is giving Grace more confidence in life. By the time she's 15, she's gone from awkward duckling to swan. She has the kind of poise you have when you just know you're gorgeous but you're not a dick about it.


Oh, the kind of poise I have.






You guys are so similar.


I know. It's like you're reading my biography.


I know. It's uncanny. So obviously, the boys start to notice her at school, but Grace starts to notice boys too. Her acting chops make her a great date. Every encounter is like a little play. Grace knows how to turn the conversation back to her date's favorite subjects. She's gorgeous, a little shy, and willing to mold herself into whatever her dates want. What's not to love? If you're a teenage boy in 1946.


Or any time period, really, not just 1946.


Yeah. And Grace is enjoying herself. She loves flirting and a little backseat canoodling. Basically, the girl loves love, but she stops at losing the big z, even if she might want to. This is the 1940s, and quote unquote, nice girls don't do that in high school.


Thank God we're not nice girls by.


The end of senior year. Grace has a lot of confidence with boys, but she's still having trouble with her family. Whenever they get loud or opinionated, Grace shrinks back to her old self. Her parents think acting is a waste of time at best. And at worst, it's trashy and vain. And to that, I say, get me a mirror and a dumpster, baby, because I love acting.


Yeah, this coming from the guy that throws things.




Wasn't that his Olympic sport was throwing things?


No, it's like rowing.


Oh, that's right.


He's just throwing his shoulder out of its.


Yeah, yeah.


But Grace is determined to prove that acting is a worthy choice, even for a Kelly. So she applies to one of the top acting schools in the country, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Grace is accepted for the fall semester in 1947. But getting in isn't the hard part. It's staying in. There are tough exams and constant critiques. It's pretty common for half the class to drop out before the first year is over. And Grace is starting off behind. The admissions board told her that her voice is, quote, improperly placed, which is a bougie 1940s way of saying, we hate your nasally Philly accent.


So much kinder. Yeah.


Seriously. Most actors at this time are using a special accent that's a made up combination of american and british. Sometimes it's called a transatlantic accent. You know how Catherine Hepburn sounds like kind of british, but not really.


It's basically that I'm very familiar with this accent, thanks to Frazier.


Oh, are you. You got one in your pocket you want to pull out?


God, no. That's one accent I won't attempt.


I love doing a transatlantic accent. It's so fun.


All right, let's hear it.


Okay, well, you see, I was, like, walking over to the couch, and then. Okay, I had to lie down.


What's that note that she got? I'm going to give it to you.


How dare you. Well, listen, if we were in acting school in the 1940s, we'd probably be about as screwed as Grace is right now. She got into this school, but if she wants to stay, she's gotta leave Philly behind. Grace spends night after night doing vocal exercises. She's determined to sound cultured and elegant. And after months of trying, she finally nails the accent. It's a total my fair lady moment. But the hard work isn't over. Grace is going to need to use this voice every day to really make it second nature, which will be great for her acting career, but not so great for her family life. The next time Grace visits her parents, her new voice just becomes one more way for them to make fun of her. Grace tells herself it's no big deal. They'll understand when she lands her first big role. Until then, she focuses on all the fun she's having in New York. She's 18, unsupervised, gorgeous, and living in the city that never sleeps. Grace doesn't feel like the wallflower of the Kelly family when she's here in New York. She's confident, witty, and even sexy. Her idea of having fun is finding a cute boy or two or three or four or five or six.


Been there.


Amen to that. And unlike in high school, she's now going all the way. But this is the 1940s, and the sexual revolution is decades away.


The 1940s are really holding poor Grace back.


I know. They're a real bummer.


Yeah, like, let a girl live, you know? I know.


Well, Grace kind of does that in her own 1940s way. She pretends to be modest in public while doing exactly what she wants in private.


Okay. Love it.


By the end of her first year at school, Grace has several gentlemen callers, and none of them really know the others exist.


God, this girl's an inspiration. Yeah.


One boyfriend introduces Grace to a photographer who helps her book a few modeling jobs, and the camera truly loves her. Grace starts with print ads, but within a year, she's featured on the COVID of some big magazines like Red Book and Cosmo. She even does a few commercials. Grace still wants to act on stage most of all. But it feels good to be successful. And the modeling gigs earn decent money, enough to pay her parents back for acting school tuition and pay her own rent, which good for Grace.




Grace is finally getting somewhere. She's putting her face out into the world. She survived her first year of acting school, and she's got a whole solar system of men orbiting around her. But even with all of this, in a city as big as New York, it's easy to feel lonely. Grace is craving real love, and she's about to find it during the strangest meet cute ever. Unfortunately for Grace, the path to true love won't be easy, because this mystery man will have to go up against the most intimidating opponent of all. The Kelly family.


Hey, I'm Arisha.


And I'm Brooke.


And we're the hosts of Wonderies podcast, even the rich, where we bring you absolutely true and absolutely shocking stories about the most famous families and biggest celebrities the world has ever seen.


Our newest series is all about pop superstar Taylor Swift, a lonely kid who ached for friendship. She did everything in her power to let her music be her voice. But as her career explodes and she rockets to stardom, she'll still have to learn how to deal with the dark side of being famous.


In our series, Taylor Swift Fearless, we'll tell you how a lonely girl desperate for connection became the biggest pop star on the planet.


Follow even the rich on the wondery app or wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge even the rich and Taylor Swift fearless early and ad free right now on wondery. Plus.


All that glitters is a world.


It's the fall semester, and 19 year old Grace Kelly is walking down the academy's main hallway. It's her second year in acting school, and half of her classmates have already dropped out. Only the best are still standing. And right now, Grace feels like the best. She walks with the confidence of a model because, well, she is one. Her face is on a literal billboard. Yes, it's for beer instead of something fancy like jewelry, but it's a billboard nonetheless.


A billboard's a billboard.


Yeah, exactly. The girl is on fire. Well, almost. Her success still means diddly squad at home. Grace's brother is now a champion oarsman, and her older sister is married and doing the whole white picket fence thing near their parents. So Grace is still the family disappointment. I mean, who cares about billboards when you can grow a full yard of petunias? I guess, right?


Yeah. Congratulations.


Yeah, congrats. Plus, not everyone likes seeing Grace's perfect bone structure splashed across billboards or magazine pages. Some of her classmates are jealous. They say she's a snob and an ice queen. Because we all know you can't possibly be pretty and not a raging bitch.


Yeah. It's gotta be so hard to not have success.


It really must be. Grace usually ignores the haters and puts on her best resting I don't give a fuck face, but that's gonna be hard today. Grace steps into an elevator to head to her dorm. But before the doors can close, a bunch of her fellow classmates follow her in. They smile at her, and their vibe is menacing. The doors close to now Grace is stuck in this slow ass elevator. She tries to make herself as small as possible, and that's when the taunting begins. For some reason, one of the guys has a puppy and he shoves its butt in Grace's face.


Wait, what?


Yeah, it's like. What? I mean, poor Grace, but also poor puppy like.


You don't do that. Yeah, fuck that.


I know. And Grace tries to ignore them. And when that doesn't work, she begs them to stop, but they won't. It gets so bad that Grace bursts into tears. The elevator doors open and a young male teacher steps in. It's Don Richardson, a hotshot director at the school. Everyone freezes. Don's eyes go from the kids and their poor puppy to Grace's tear stained cheeks. For a minute, Grace wonders if he's gonna laugh at her, but instead he yells at the kids and makes sure they leave the elevator. Grace is alone with the director for a few more floors. She's embarrassed and can't quite look him in the eyes, but when they reach the lobby, Grace calms the waterworks and looks closer at the guy next to her. Don is her teacher this semester. He has dark hair and brown eyes. She's heard he's intimidating, but right now he seems kind of sweet and cute. He can't be older than 30. They leave the building together and Don hands Grace a hanky, which is so 1940s, and I love it.


My dad still carries hankies.


Oh, that's cute.


He gives me ones whenever I'm crying.


I love your dad. Don tries to hail her a cab, but it's snowing. He finally gives up and suggests they grab a hot drink nearby. But first he needs to get some cash from his apartment. Grace eyes his broad shoulders and looks back up into his eyes, and I imagine she's like, we don't need to go anywhere. There's a hot toddy right in front of me.


Okay, she doesn't have a bunch of gentlemen colors for nothing, you know.


She's got the moves. So Grace follows this handsome older man back to his place, and her mind is racing. Don might only have a beverage on his mind, but she's certainly thinking about more. Only thing is, in school she has a reputation for being a good girl and a serious student. So tonight, she's really hoping that Don's the kind of guy who likes surprises. So, Arisha, do you think Grace got more than just a hot drink?


God, I hope so. I hope so.


Well, your hopes will come true.


Oh, hell, yeah.


Because when they get to Don's apartment, he offers to make her some coffee before they head out again. And after he leaves the room, Grace hops in his bed totally naked.


I mean, Ludacris said it best. Leading the streets.


Freaking the sheets. Freaking the sheets. Yep. So Don stops short when he sees her. He's clearly shocked that the teary eyed girl he invited over is actually a sexual firecracker. But luckily, he's also not complaining, and he joins her. And after that, it's all the way on with Don. They start hooking up in secret because Don is still Grace's teacher, and he's technically married.


Oh, damn it, Brooke. Come on.


I know. I will say he is in the process of getting a divorce, but know it's dicey.


I was so excited because I was like, you know what? And she's initiating this, so it's not like, got that creepy, like, teacher preying on a student. Yeah, and then you have to throw in the.


I know, I know. It's not exactly a great look for Grace to be dating him. So they come up with a system. They ignore each other as much as possible at school, and then they do everything except ignore one another at night at Don's apartment.


Oh, my God.


Pretty soon, Grace is in love, and Don's falling for her, too. He tells everyone that Grace is going to be a film star, and he even helps her get an agent. But she really wants to be on the stage, not in movies. In Grace's new version of her acting dreams, she and Don get married, move to Philly, and open up their own theater. He directs, she acts, and they both make goo goo eyes at each other 24/7 sounds perfect, right?


I mean, I was with her for acting, getting married, love, blah, blah, blah, blah. But she lost me at. Yeah, why not London or Paris?


The city of love, or Hoboken, New Jersey? Just kidding.


Yeah, those are all the same.


Yeah, but before any of this can happen, Don needs his divorce to come through. And Grace needs to get her family's approval. And not just because Don is artsy and married and older than Grace. He's also jewish, which Grace knows won't go over well with her irish catholic family.


Oh, here we go.


About four months later, Grace and Don are having dinner with the Kellys at their fancy country club in Philadelphia, and the night has already gone awry. Grace has been watching her brother and his friends provoke Don all evening.


Oh, no. Do they have a puppy?


No, honestly, it's worse. They're making anti semitic jokes and doing crude jewish impressions.


Oh, my God.


Like total trash behavior. And Grace is mortified. But she's afraid to make a scene. She's still hoping that a pleasant evening will convince her parents that Don is a good match. But Mr. And Mrs. Kelly aren't any better than her brother. As the night wears on and the Kellys keep being assholes, Grace does what she always does when her family is being judgmental, shrink down in her chair and try to fade into the background. At one point, her mom, Margaret, leans over to ask Don how Grace is doing at school. Don smiles and tells her, like he tells everyone, that Grace is gonna be a big movie star one day. Grace's heart melts, but her mom chokes on her food. And it's not because she's in need of the Heimlich maneuver. It's because she's laughing.




Margaret repeats Don's prediction to the rest of the family, and the whole table cackles at the idea of Grace being on the big screen.


What the fuck is up with this family?


They're terrible.


Why don't they go and row themselves into the ocean?


They really should try that. And once again, Grace is mortified. She stares at her lap and wonders how her family can still make her feel so small. So, Arisha, if you think the family visit was bad already, it somehow gets worse.




The next day, Grace's mom kicks Don out of the house with no explanation. Turns out, while Don and Grace were out of the house, Grace's mom went through Don's suitcase and found a couple things she didn't like. A letter from his lawyer about a divorce hearing, and condoms, which, like, how dare he use protection.


I was about to say, does she want a grandchild? Like, come on.


I know, seriously. But Grace's parents are furious. They rail at her about immorality and ban her from going back to New York. But for once, Grace doesn't melt under the heat of a Kelly lecture. She's determined to get back to the city and out of the Kelly household. Grace figures if she books a worthy show, her parents will have to let her return to New York. It takes some maneuvering, but she gets a break, and a few months later, she's cast in her first Broadway play. So the Kellys give in and let Grace move back to the city. But there's still a hard no on Don. And Grace can't bring herself to completely defy her parents. So even though she loves him, she eventually breaks things off with Don.


No, what they don't know can't hurt him.


I know.




But I will say it was that or a lifetime of awkward Christmas dinners, or possibly even being banned from dinners.


Altogether, which, honestly, seems like that'd be a blessing.


I was going to say the same thing.


Who wouldn't want that in this family?


I know.




But Grace can't seem to shake the need for her family's approval and respect. And in the summer of 1949, Grace has more important things on her mind than her relationship troubles. She's now an acting school graduate and preparing for her Broadway debut. Unfortunately, it goes about as well as her love life. The reviews come in, and they are harsh. One even says that the cast performs like a backwoods local theater group.


Okay, rude.


That is rude. That's like the worst thing you can say.


Who's writing this review? Niles Crane.


Yep, you guessed it. Grace was voted the best of the lot, but the show was a total flop. And just like that, she's back on the audition grind. She reads for dozens of parts, but keeps getting no's. They say she's too tall, too leggy, too chinny, which I did not know could be a thing.


Oh, my God. The entertainment industry will literally find any body part to just absolutely tear apart.


That's true. That is such a good point. But finally, in August of 1951, Grace gets another break. She receives a telegram from a Hollywood producer with an offer to star in a movie. It's a western called High Noon, and her character is the leading man's young, mousy wife. But get this. Grace didn't even audition. The director basically just saw a picture of her face and was like, she's pretty, and I don't have to pay her a lot. She'll do again. My dream.


I know. I was about to say, God, this girl is literally living my dream.


Grace has been focused on a career in theater, but Broadway went so badly, it seems careless to turn down a big project. Plus, she'll be acting opposite the Gary Cooper. He's a huge star, and it's a great opportunity to learn from the best coops. Coops? Yep. That's what we all call him.




In the biz, it's also Grace's chance to move into the big leagues. But being in the majors means living up to the standards of Hollywood. Grace is about to be dropped into the deep end, and she doesn't know if she'll swim or sink. A year later, high noon premieres all across the country, and even before Grace sees herself on the big screen, she has a feeling she sank more than swam. Early reviews have barely mentioned her, and when she finally sees herself in the movie, she knows why. Well, I'm begging you, please, let's go.


I can't.


Don't try to be a hero. You don't have to be a hero.


Not for me.


Grace thinks her acting blows. She thinks her voice sounds silly, her movements are stiff, and her performance is emotionless.


Okay, here's the thing. It very much plays like a movie that was made in the I'm not like, oh my God, it's Meryl Streep. But I don't think she's bad. It feels like a performance that I would expect to see in a movie.


From the honestly had the same takeaway, but she's mortified. It's like getting to the Olympics and then coming in dead last.


Well, okay, is this a thing where it's like we're our own worst critics?


Possibly. But I think critics agreed. No, the consensus at the time was that she wasn't great. But for me, watching, I'm like, she's nailing that accent almost better than. You know. When it comes to Hollywood, you only get so many chances. Grace knows that if she doesn't get better fast, her time as a movie star will be very short lived. Every director and moviegoer in America will remember her as nothing more than a pretty face. She's put in too much work. For this to be her last lead role, she has to unlock something that is altogether new for her emotional depth. If she doesn't, Grace can kiss her acting career goodbye. A few months later, after the doomed premiere of High Noon, Grace is sitting face to face with a handsome, dark haired man staring intensely into his eyes. But not in a romantic way, more like a theater geek kind of way. She's in a room filled with other actors in a class at the neighborhood playhouse in New York City, and she's trying something completely new. The teacher tells the students to dig deep and push past their old school ideas about acting.


They need to harness their emotions and bring them to the surface. Grace is willing to try anything to be a better actress. So she digs deep. She focuses on her partner and reaches for all of the emotions buried inside, the shame and loneliness of being the Od Kelly out anger she feels at her parents'authority sadness over losing dawn Grace and her partner start to improvise a scene. No script, just genuine reactions. And something starts to build inside of her. This feels different from other kinds of acting. It feels more real. If this doesn't sound revolutionary, it's because today it isn't. It's the technique actors like Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman have been doing for much of their careers. But in 1952, it's pretty radical. The teacher of the class is Sanford Meisner, aka the father of method acting. This is the technique that makes actors really live their roles instead of just creating an illusion. Or if you're Jared Leto, it allegedly makes you send your co stars anal beads, which he's denied doing, but you get the point.


Yep, I get it.


Grace isn't trying to go that far with it, but she's desperate for a new technique. Her performance in High Noon was stiff and awkward, but the film was still a hit with critics and at the box office. And Grace was able to ride the film's success to a seven movie contract with MGM Studios. But more movies means more people seeing her act, and Grace refuses to feel like a failure again. So that's why she's in this class today, yelling out personal thoughts and opening up old wounds. She reacts to her partner and shares whatever pops into her head. And for the first time, she starts feeling real emotions bubbling inside of her. Even though she's supposedly acting now, Grace just needs to bring this to the big screen. After a year of honing the method approach, Grace gets her first opportunity to put it to the test. In the fall of 1952, MGM sends her to Kenya to shoot a drama called Magambo. Grace is starring opposite a big star, Clark Gable. You know, Mr. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Grace throws herself into her work and also into the arms of her costar.


She and Clark start a whirlwind romance, even though he is 28 years older than her and once again married.


Married? No. Come on.


I know. So, of course, the gossip columns have a great time hinting about the canoodling that may have taken place in Kenya. The relationship doesn't last beyond the film shoot, but Grace's new reputation does. Hollywood insiders start whispering that she goes after all of her leading men. The problem is that Grace likes to have a good time, and this includes hooking up with her costars. But this is the 1950s and she has a good girl reputation to maintain, and she won't let anything get in the way of her growing film career. So Grace hires a publicist who helps her hide her wild side, which Arisha, I assume, is the same reason you wanted to hire a publicist.


Yep. You know, my side is so wild.


So it needs to be tamed. Her publicist has his work cut out for him because Grace's star is rising. She's not just a pretty face in the background anymore. She gets cast in several more films, including Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, made by Hollywood's most sought after director, Alfred Hitchcock. Grace loves working with him. He's famous for complex characters, and Grace is craving any chance she can get to show the world what she's capable of. And working with Hitchcock majorly boosts Grace's career. She becomes one of the director's quintessential elegant blondes, the perfect combo of poised yet playful and sexy. You know, just the age old impossible standard for femininity.


Oh, we love to see it.


We do. But Grace nails it on screen, and the press loves her. Reviews call her fine and fascinating, which don't exactly sound glowing to me. Fine. She's fine.


Fine is like, no, nothing is more insulting. I'd rather you be like, she sucks. She's fine. That's so boring. And in the middle.


I don't know, maybe it's like one of those 1950s things where they're like, fine. Like a fine wine. It was a fine performance, I guess. I don't know. You know, those crazy kids in the 1950s.


I don't know how words work, but.


In the spring of 1954, Grace lands the COVID of Life magazine. The main article predicts 1954 will be the year of Grace. You'd think at this point her family would be proud of her. But as usual, none of this is enough for Grace's dad. Her brother won some rowing race in England around this time, and Jack Kelly threw him a literal parade in Philadelphia.


Oh, my God. Yeah.


But when Grace goes home for a visit, someone asks Jack if he's excited about her huge career success. And she watches him shrug and say he doesn't know why she wants to act. But hey, at least she's making a living.


This guy can honestly go fuck himself.


I know. Is he not impressed that she finally starred with Jimmy Stewart in Rear window? I mean, come on. God.


Oh, my God. Just be proud of your kids. It's not that hard.


You know, these stories we tell make it seem like it is really hard, though, for some reason. And it stings Grace even after all this time. Plus, compared to her sister's charmed wife life, the Kelly's ding. Every guy Grace brings home even famous Hollywood actors. Like, the girl can't do anything right, apparently.


Just the idea of, like, what if I brought home George Clooney and my.


Parents were like, not enough.


Yeah. BFD. Get him out of here. No parade for you, idiot.


Yeah, but instead of dismissing her dad as jealous or just being a dad, Grace decides that all of this is because she's just not the best yet. Her dad's got an olympic gold medal, right? So the equivalent of that is obviously an Oscar. And without one, she can't really prove herself to her family. The Kellys respect the best, so Grace needs to be the literal best actress. Airtight logic.


Oh, yeah. No flaws.


Yep. That same year, Grace gets her shot at an Academy Award worthy role. It's the lead in a movie called the Country Girl. She'll be starring opposite Bing Crosby, who happens to be her new beau. And in the worst Christmas movie of all time, white Christmas.


Don't you dare say it, Brooke. Blasphemy.


I couldn't wait to drag that movie in front of you.




But her former ex is also in the cast, an ex her family had once again rejected. But, I mean, this is just the potential for an onset love triangle and the drama, like, be another don't worry, darling situation.


Oh, God. But better. Yeah.


Anyway, the country girl is 100% pure Oscar bait. Her character is bitter and depressed. She spends most of the movie dressed down in glasses and frumpy sweaters. And if you watch that movie, it's basically the equivalent of putting glasses on Rachel Lee Cook. And she's all that. We can still tell she's gorgeous. Come on.


Well, if you have glasses, you have to be hideous. That's Hollywood's number one rule.


Those are the rules. But for once, Grace can't rely solely on her glamor. The movie comes out in 1954, and critics rave about her gritty performance. And a few months later, Grace gets the news she's been waiting for. She's been nominated for an Academy Award. Grace could finally win the gold medal of acting, the ticket to Kelly Pride. She's worked hard for this moment. But for once, hard work isn't enough to guarantee success. All Grace can do is hope and pray that her performance was enough to sway the Oscar voters. Because if she's lucky enough to win, then maybe she'll finally know what it feels like to be a gold medal Kelly. In the spring of 1955, Grace Kelly sits in Hollywood's RKO plantatious theater, practically glowing in a stunning blue satin dress. So far, the ceremony has been boring. But then actor William Holden takes the stage to announce this year's best actress winner. And P. S. The guy about to open the envelope is the ex who was in the country girl. So Hollywood is a very small world.


It really is. I can't wait to get in it.


And Grace is nervous, but not because her ex is on stage. She's up against legends like Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy Dandridge and Judy Garland. Grace watches as William Holden opens the envelope and leans toward the microphone. William announces the winner, and it takes Grace a minute to realize it was her name that was called. For a second, she's stunned. She actually did it. Grace gets up and glides across the stage to accept her award. She beams at the audience and makes sure to show off her perfect transatlantic accent. I can only say thank you with all my heart to all who made this possible for me. Thank you. She's every bit the elegant Grace Kelly that the world has come to love. She spends the rest of her night in a happy daze. She's surrounded by friends and fans, and she keeps bursting into tears of joy. But what should be Grace's happiest day ever ends up being her loneliest. After a night of partying, Grace goes back to her hotel room alone. And we're right back to where we started our episode. She looks at her gold statuette, and the quiet of the room becomes deafeningly loud.


Grace has been left to celebrate by herself. No family, no boyfriend or husband to share in her moment of joy with, thanks in part to a family who chronically rejects any man Grace has ever loved. But if nothing else, Grace Kelly has won her gold medal. Her family will finally be proud of her. Right? Well, the next morning, Grace opens up the newspaper, and right there in print is a comment her dad wired to all the papers. He said, quote, I can't believe it. I simply can't believe Grace won. Of the four children, she's the last one I'd expect to support me in my old.


Wait, what? What does that have to do with anything?


Literally nothing. A way for him to make it about himself, I guess.


I'm speechless. I don't even know how to respond to what.


Yeah, well, I'm sure Grace doesn't either. She puts the newspaper down and shakes off the hurt. She sacrificed so much to become the perfect actress, the best actress to continue doing what she loves, sure, but also to make the Kelly family proud. Now it's clear that acting will never be good enough for her dad. She closes the newspaper and dumps it in the trash. But even now, Grace doesn't think about quitting. She knows she's just at the start of her career. With an Oscar comes pressure, sure, but also tons of opportunities. Grace will have more control than ever over her scripts, her costars and her life. But in May of 1955, just a month after the Oscars, Grace heads to the Cannes Film Festival in France, which is when her promising career gets knocked completely off course by a fucking prince. Follow even the royals on the Wondery app, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen to every episode of even the Royals, early and ad free right now, by joining Wondery plus in the Wondery App or on Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short Slash Survey this is fire and ice, part one of our two part series on Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.


We use many sources on researching our stories, and you can follow us. Your hosts on social at Brooke Sifrin and at Arisha Skidmore Williams I'm Brooke Cifrin.


And I'm Arisha Skidmore Williams. Corinne Wallace wrote and produced this episode. Story editing by Michaela Bly and sound design by John Lloyd. Fact checking by Sonia Maynard. Our associate producer is Hannah Ward. Our coordinating producer is Taylor Sniffin, and our managing producer is Sophia Martin. Julie McGruder and Rachel Engelman are our producers. Our executive producers are Jenny Lauer Beckman, Ginny Bloom, Marsha Louis and Erin O'Flaherty. For Wondery.