Here are 10 things you should know about Greer Garson, C.B.E., born 117 years ago today. She was something of an overnight success in pictures, portraying women she once described as “noble and admirable characters.”
The lovely Greer Garson was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson 112 years ago today in London, England. Here are 10 GG Did-You-Knows:
- Garson was of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. Her father was a commercial clerk.
- She attended King’s College London with the intention of becoming a teacher, but the acclaim she received while working on local theatrical productions gave her the acting bug.
- In 1937, Garson appeared in a thirty-minute television production of an excerpt from Shakespeare‘s Twelfth Night. The production is thought to have been the first performance of a Shakespeare play on TV.
- Louis B. Mayer signed Garson to a contract in 1937 while on a talent search in London. Her first film was Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1938), for which she received an Oscar nomination.
- Garson received seven Academy Award nominations, including five consecutive Best Actress nominations, an achievement that tied Bette Davis for the record (which still stands), and a Best Actress win for Mrs. Miniver (1942). After the announcement that she had won, Garson gave the longest acceptance speech in Oscar history, clocking in at five minutes and 30 seconds (another record that still stands).
- Garson married Richard Ney after filming Mrs. Miniver, in which he played her son. He was the second of her two husbands; their marriage lasted just over five years.
- A fire in Garson’s home destroyed her Oscar; the Academy provided a replacement.
- Garson was envious of all the comedy roles Lucille Ball received while the two were both at MGM in the 1940s; for her part, Ball wished she were given more dramatic roles, as Garson was.
- Garson accepted Oscars for two actress who weren’t present for the Academy Awards ceremony: Vivian Leigh in 1952 and Sophia Loren in 1962.
- She played Walter Pidgeon‘s wife eight times in twelve years: Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver, Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), Julia Misbehaves (1948), That Forsyte Woman (1949), The Miniver Story (1950) and Scandal at Scourie (1953).
Happy birthday, Greer Garson, wherever you may be!