The May-December Affairs of Grace Kelly

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

In Green Fire, there’s a bit where Grace Kelly mentions she’s going to Bogota for a few weeks. Stewart Granger asks her if she’s “going to see anyone in particular,” to which she jokes that there’s a 73-year-old coffee dealer who’s caught her eye. The joke falls flat because, well, compared to the fresh-faced, dewy Miss Kelly, Stewart Granger looks about 73.

This was a particular trend for Kelly’s films. Obviously the May-December pairing was hardly uncommon in Hollywood at the time (Audrey Hepburn was another frequent victim), but Grace seems to have gotten the worst of it. Let’s take a look at her love interests:

  • High Noon: Gary Cooper (28-year age gap between him and Grace)
  • Mogambo: Clark Gable (28-year gap) and Donald Sinden (6-year gap)
  • Dial “M” for Murder: Ray Milland (22-year gap) and Robert Cummings (19-year gap)
  • Rear Window: James Stewart (21-year gap)
  • The Country Girl: Bing Crosby (27-year gap) and William Holden (11-year gap)
  • Green Fire: Stewart Granger (16-year gap)
  • The Bridges at Toko-Ri: William Holden again
  • To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant (25-year gap)
  • The Swan: Alec Guinness (15-year gap) and Louis Jordan (8-year gap)
  • High Society: Bing Crosby again and Frank Sinatra (14-year gap)

In short, exactly two love interests in her entire film career managed to sneak into the single digits when it came to that age difference, and–spoiler alert!–neither of them get what you could really call a happy ending. Of course, the irony here is that Grace Kelly slept with most of these quarter-of-a-century-older men off-screen, too. Maybe Oscar Wilde was right when he said that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”?

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