How Oscar-winning actress's wild affair with 13-year-old stepson ruined her career
The talented actress became a household name in the mid-1940’s.
Shared reported that Gloria Grahame’s career saw a meteoric rise with Blonde Fever, but came crashing down after a scandalous affair.
Though she started her career in theater, she soon made her transition into the movies and was part of some of the biggest films of her time.
Her silver screen debut was in the 1944 film Blonde Fever. She then appeared in It’s a Wonderful Life as the flirtatious Violet Bick. She was running for the Oscar with her third film Crossfire in 1947.
MGM Studios made a big mistake when they ended Grahame’s contract because they were not convinced she had what it took to become a successful star.
She proved them wrong by bagging some of the famous roles in a number of movies alongside established actors such as Humphrey Bogart.
She then earned an Oscar for her stellar cameo in The Bad and the Beautiful in 1950, a record for the shortest performance to win an Academy Award. The record was broken in 1977 by Beatrice Straight.
Her fall from grace was quite drastic. She went from starring in big productions and a living in lavish mansion to sleeping in cheap hotels while she hoped for callbacks for stage roles in London.
Though she was engulfed in scandals very early in her career, the biggest was when she was married to director Nicholas Ray, her second husband. Best known for his work Rebel Without a Cause, he even later admitted that he was “infatuated by her, but didn’t like her very much.”
One day he walked in on Grahame in bed with his 13-year-old son, Tony. The couple headed for a divorce, but the reason for their separation came to light after a decade.
She then married producer Cy Howard in 1954 and the two had a daughter, Marianne Paulette. However, she filed for divorce citing ‘mental cruelty’ and it was finalized in 1957.
The actress seemed to be enjoying being single in the years that followed until 1962 when it was revealed that she had secretly married for the fourth time. The secret ceremony in Mexico turned out to be her last marriage.
The reason this particular marriage was much talked about was because the man was her stepson, Tony. Grahame received backlash for her affair with him when he was a minor.
Grahame, however, defended her actions, “I married Nicholas Ray, the director. People yawned. Later on, I married his son and from the press’ reaction you’d have thought I was committing incest or robbing the cradle.”
Though she carried herself with confidence in public, she had a difficult time coping with it in private. Reports suggested that she suffered a major breakdown with the way the public handled the news.
She even underwent electric shock therapy to treat her depression. Despite all the troubles, her marriage to Tony was the most successful one. She was married for 14 years and they had two sons, Anthony Jr. and James.
The Human Desire star and her husband eventually went their separate ways and their divorce was finalized in 1974.
Grahame was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974. After undergoing radiation and making some lifestyle changes, she went into remission. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in 1981 and the she passed on October 5, 1981.