The Only Academy Award Grace Kelly Ever Won

More than half a century before Meghan Markle left Hollywood to marry the prince of a nation, there was Grace Kelly. Grace Kelly's acting career lasted barely seven years, making her debut on Broadway in November 1949 at only 19 years old in a production of August Strindberg's "The Father," as told by Britannica. The next year, she left the Broadway stage to find work on the small screen, appearing in several television dramas. Finally, in 1951, Kelly made her big-screen debut in "Fourteen Hours." According to Biography, on the set of the film, actor Gary Cooper came across the young actress and decided to cast her to play his wife in the Western movie "High Noon." 

Over the next five years, Kelly would become one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood. Leaving acting before she was even 30 years old, Kelly appeared in 11 films and over 60 television productions during her short career. She was linked romantically to Clark Gable while the two were filming "Mogambo" and became known later in her career for her collaboration with director Alfred Hitchcock. However, it was not with Clark Gable or a Hitchcock film that Kelly earned the highest honor of her career.

Grace Kelly won best actress for The Country Girl

Grace Kelly's role in the 1953 film "Mogambo" was a turning point in her career. According to Biography, Kelly was nominated for her first Academy Award and won a best supporting actress Golden Globe Award. She was also offered a seven-year contract with MGM after the film, which she accepted under the agreement that she could live in Manhattan, so she could continue her stage work. The next year would be a busy year for Kelly, but a rewarding one, and a year that actors can only dream of having.

The 24-year-old Kelly turned down a role opposite Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront" to work with Alfred Hitchcock. The duo would collaborate on two films in 1954, "Rear Window" and "Dial M for Murder." While both films would become classic cinema standards, it was Kelly's role in "The Country Girl" that would net her critical acclaim. Kelly played the dejected wife of an alcoholic husband played by Bing Crosby, as told by Britannica. Her role was in stark contrast from her previous work, which led to her nomination for best actress at the Academy Awards. According to IMDb, "The Country Girl" was nominated for seven different awards. Against Judy Garland's performance in "A Star is Born," Kelly took home the Oscar for best actress.