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Betty Grable

Betty Grable (December 18, 1916-July 3, 1973) was an American actress and pin-up girl, whose famous bathing suit poster was an icon of the World War II era. Born Ruth Elizabeth Grable in Saint Louis, Missouri, she was propelled into acting by her mother, who insisted that one of her daughters become a star. For her first role, as a chorus girl in the film Let's Go Places (1930) Grable was legally under the age to act, but because the chorus line performed in blackface, it was impossible to tell how old she was. For her next film, her mother tried to get her to sign a contract using false I.D., but when this was discovered, she was fired. It was at this time that she was photographed in the pin-up poster that was so popular among American GIs ten years later.

Grable finally obtained a role in Whoopee!, starring Eddie Cantor and eventually played in some twenty films by 1939, including the Academy Award-nominated The Gay Divorcee, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

In 1935, she married another famous child actor, Jackie Coogan, but Coogan was under considerable stress due to his lawsuit against his parents over his earnings, and the marriage came apart three years later.

Grable's later career was marked by feuds with studio heads, who worked her to exhaustion. At one point, in the middle of a fight with Daryl Zanuck, she tore up her contract with him and stormed out of his office. Gradually leaving movies entirely, she made the transition to television, and starred in Las Vegas.

Betty Grable died of cancer in 1973.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Betty Grable Facts

Birth NameRuth Elizabeth Grable
BirthdayDecember 18, 1916
BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of deathJuly 2, 1973 (age 56)
Height5' 4" (1m63)  How tall is Betty Grable compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.