Gloria Grahame

Gloria Grahame

New York Times obituary in 1981.

Gloria Grahame, the actress best known for her screen portrayals of sulking and occasionally wisecracking blondes, died Monday night of cancer at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. She was 55 years old.

Miss Grahame, who had been in London rehearsing a play, died three hours after arriving here aboard a commercial flight. Dr. William R. Grace, who had treated her in New York since late spring, said Miss Grahame slipped into shock aboard the flight. Dr. Grace was notified that the pilot had radioed that, according to physicians aboard the plane, Miss Grahame’s death was ”imminent.”

Dr. Grace said that breast cancer was diagnosed five years ago, but that Miss Grahame ”at no time was interested in pursuing aggressive therapy for it.” The procedure that Dr. Grace offered involved the removal of a body fluid to make his patient more comfortable.

”She attempted to have the same procedure done in London,” said Dr. Grace. ”An infection developed as a result of the procedure.” Dr. Grace said that Miss Grahame had left the London hospital ”either against medical advice or she was discharged.” Miss Grahame called her children in this country to help her return to New York, where treatment had been successful.


It was on the flight to New York that shock resulting from the infection set in and ”when she got to the emergency room, she was nearly dead,” Dr. Grace said. Appeared in 30 Films

During her long Hollywood career, Miss Grahame appeared in more than 30 films, usually in a supporting role. She won an Academy Award in 1952 for her supporting role in ”The Bad and the Beautiful,” the story of a Hollywood producer who turns out to be a heel.

She was also noted for her role in ”It’s a Wonderful Life,” a 1947 film directed by Frank Capra, and ”The Big Heat,” a 1953 police melodrama in which Lee Marvin, playing a cretin-faced gangster, flings scalding coffee into her eyes and pouting face.

Miss Grahame was born in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 28, 1925, as Gloria Hallward. She was the daughter of a British actress, Jean Hallward, who had played Shakespearean and other classical roles on the British stage. Miss Grahame made her debut as an actress in Chicago soon after her graduation from high school.

She soon went to Broadway, where she was hired as an understudy in Thornton Wilder’s ”The Skin of Our Teeth,” and began getting substantial roles in other plays. In 1944 she went to Hollywood, where she made her debut in ”Blond Fever” (1944). Nominated for ‘Crossfire’.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress in 1947 for ”Crossfire,” and during the next eight years had prominent roles in a series of films, including ”The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952) and ”Oklahoma!” (1955).

During the late 1950’s her roles declined, as she devoted herself to raising her children. In the 1970’s she made occassional appearances in films. She also played parts on television and the stage, including a role in ”The Man Who Came to Dinner” at the New Darien Dinner Theater in 1977.

She later played a neurotic mother in ”Head Over Heels” (1979), and a comic character in ”Melvin and Howard” (1980). Miss Graham was married four times

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