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High Society, Grace Kelly’s last film, opens

On this day in 1956, the movie-musical High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, opens in theaters around the United States. The film’s tag line–”They’re all together for the first time”–referenced High Society’s all-star cast. High Society marked the last feature film Grace Kelly made before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco and retiring from acting. High Society, which also featured the musician Louis Armstrong playing himself, was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Song, for Cole Porter’s “True Love.”

High Society was a musical remake of 1940’s Philadelphia Story, which starred Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. In High Society, Crosby played C.K. Dexter-Haven, a rich man trying to win back his spoiled ex-wife Tracy Lord (Kelly), who is attracted to Mike Connor (Sinatra) but engaged to marry another man.

Grace Kelly, born in 1929, became a movie star in the 1950s with such films as Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), The Country Girl (1954), for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award, and To Catch a Thief (1955). On April 19, 1956, Kelly married Prince Rainier, whom she met in 1955 at the Cannes Film Festival, and never acted in movies again. In 1982, Princess Grace died at age 52 in a car accident.

Sinatra, born in 1915, rose to fame as a singer in the 1940s. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953) and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). Along with High Society, Sinatra starred in movie musicals Guys and Dolls (1955)and Pal Joey (1957) and played Danny Ocean in Ocean’s Eleven (1960), a role that went to George Clooney in the 2001 remake of the same name. Sinatra died in 1998 at age 82.

Crosby, born in 1903, began his music career in the 1920s. As an actor, he starred in the hugely successful White Christmas (1954), won a Best Actor Oscar for Going My Way (1944), was nominated for Oscars for his performances in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) and The Country Girl, and co-starred in seven popular “Road” movies with Bob Hope between 1940 and 1962. Crosby died at age 74 in 1977.

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