Betty Grable filmography

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Betty Grable (1916–1973) in her famous 1943 pin-up. It was shot by studio photographer Frank Powolny and became one of the biggest-selling photographs of World War II, selling over five million copies.

This is a complete filmography of Betty Grable, an American actress, dancer, and singer. As a major contract star for 20th Century-Fox during the 1940s and 1950s, she starred in a succession of musicals and romantic comedies.

Grable began her career in 1929 at age twelve, after which she was fired from a contract when it was learned she signed up under false identification. She made her film debut in Happy Days (1929) as an unbilled extra appearing in blackface. Grable had contracts with RKO Radio Pictures and Paramount Pictures during the 1930s, and she starred in roles as college students in a string of B-movies. In the campus musical Pigskin Parade (1936), she received positive reviews, but her performance was overshadowed by newcomer Judy Garland.

She eventually came to prominence in the Broadway musical Du Barry Was a Lady (1939) and signed an exclusive long-term contract with 20th Century-Fox. After replacing Alice Faye in Down Argentine Way (1940), she became the studio's biggest asset throughout the following decade, starring in a series of commercially successful musicals and comedies, often co-starring with renowned leading men, including Victor Mature, Don Ameche, John Payne, Tyrone Power, and Dan Dailey. Between 1941 and 1951, she was consistently listed in the "Top Ten Moneymaking Stars Poll", sometimes as the only female on the list. In 1943 and 1944, she was the number one box office draw in the United States. Her famous 1943 pin-up became one of the most-identified photographs of World War II.

The majority of Grable's films followed the traditional backstage musical genre point-by-point. Plot point one: boy meets girl; plot point two: boy teams up with girl; plot point three: girl dumps boy; and plot point four: boy and girl reunite in time for the finale. Despite the often similar storylines, her films remained immensely popularity for over a decade, some of them becoming the year's highest-grossing films, including Springtime in the Rockies (1942), Coney Island (1943), The Dolly Sisters (1945), and When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948). Two of her greatest successes were Pin Up Girl (1944) (which showcased her famous pin-up) and Mother Wore Tights (1947). The 1949 western comedy The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend was Grable's first film in nine years to lose money financially.

The changing tastes of the public and the waning popularity of the musical genre in the early 1950s contributed to Grable's career decline. Although Wabash Avenue and My Blue Avenue (both 1950) were successes, some of her films thereafter failed to live up to their hype. How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), a comedy about three models scheming to marry wealthy husbands, was one of her last big successes for Fox. She co-starred with newcomer Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall, and while tabloids publicized a rivalry between the three women, they nevertheless became close friends. In 1953, she declined to renew her contract with Fox, hoping to revitalize her stage career. This move was not successful and, after falling into bankruptcy, Grable returned to the studio for what would be her final film: the satirical comedy How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), which parodied her earlier films in some aspects.

Credits[edit]

Film appearances[edit]

The cast of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953): Marilyn Monroe (left), Grable (middle), and
Lauren Bacall (right).
List of acting credits in film, with directors and principal cast members
Title Year Role Director Co-stars Notes
Happy Days 1929 Chorus Girl Benjamin Stoloff Uncredited
Let's Go Places 1930 Chorine Frank R. Strayer Uncredited
New Movietone Follies of 1930 1930 Chorine Benjamin Stoloff Uncredited
Whoopee! 1930 Goldwyn Girl Thornton Freeland Uncredited
Kiki 1931 Goldwyn Girl Sam Taylor Mary Pickford Uncredited
Palmy Days 1931 Goldwyn Girl A. Edward Sutherland Uncredited
The Greeks Had a Word for Them 1932 Hat Check Girl Lowell Sherman Uncredited
Probation 1932 Ruth Jarrett Richard Thorpe Grable's first credited role
The Age of Consent 1932 Student at Dormitory Gregory La Cava Uncredited
Hold 'Em Jail 1932 Barbara Jones Norman Taurog
The Kid from Spain 1932 Goldwyn Girl Leo McCarey Uncredited
Cavalcade 1933 Girl on couch Frank Lloyd Uncredited
Child of Manhattan 1933 Lucy McGonegle Edward Buzzell
Melody Cruise 1933 First Stewardess Mark Sandrich Uncredited
What Price Innocence? 1933 Beverly Bennett Willard Mack
The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi 1933 Band Singer with Ted Fio Rito Edwin L. Marin
The Gay Divorcee 1934 Dance Specialty Mark Sandrich
Student Tour 1934 Cayenne Charles Reisner
By Your Leave 1934 Frances Gretchell Lloyd Corrigan
The Nitwits 1935 Mary Roberts George Stevens
Old Man Rhythm 1935 Sylvia Edward Ludwig
Collegiate 1936 Dorothy Ralph Murphy
Follow the Fleet 1936 Trio Singer Mark Sandrich
Don't Turn 'Em Loose 1936 Mildred Webster Benjamin Stoloff
Pigskin Parade 1936 Laura Watson David Butler
This Way Please 1937 Jane Morrow Robert Florey Charles 'Buddy' Rogers
Thrill of a Lifetime 1937 Gwen George Archainbaud The Yacht Club Boys
College Swing 1938 Betty Raoul Walsh
Give Me a Sailor 1938 Nancy Larkin Elliott Nugent
Campus Confessions 1938 Joyce Gilmore George Archainbaud Grable received top billing for the first time
Man About Town 1939 Susan Hayes Mark Sandrich
Million Dollar Legs 1939 Carol Parker Nick Grinde
The Day the Bookies Wept 1939 Ina Firpo Leslie Goodwins Joe Penner
Down Argentine Way 1940
  • Glenda Crawford
  • Glenda Cunningham
Irving Cummings
Tin Pan Alley 1940 Lily Blane Walter Lang
Moon Over Miami 1941 Kathryn 'Kay' Latimer Walter Lang
A Yank in the RAF 1941 Carol Brown Henry King Tyrone Power
I Wake Up Screaming 1941 Jill Lynn H. Bruce Humberstone
Song of the Islands 1942 Eileen O'Brien Walter Lang
Footlight Serenade 1942 Pat Lambert Gregory Ratoff
Springtime in the Rockies 1942 Vicky Lane Irving Cummings
Coney Island 1943 Kate Farley Walter Lang
Sweet Rosie O'Grady 1943
  • Madeline Marlowe
  • Rosie O'Grady
Irving Cummings
Four Jills in a Jeep 1944 Herself William A. Seiter
Pin Up Girl 1944
  • Lorry Jones
  • Laura Lorraine
H. Bruce Humberstone
Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe 1945 Bonnie Collins George Seaton
The Dolly Sisters 1945 Yansci 'Jenny' Dolly Irving Cummings
Do You Love Me 1946 Girl in Taxi (cameo) Gregory Ratoff Grable had a cameo as a fan of Harry James's character
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim 1947 Cynthia Pilgrim George Seaton
Mother Wore Tights 1947 Myrtle McKinley Burt Walter Lang
Hollywood Bound 1947 Various Various Various Astor Pictures compilation of three 1930s RKO short subjects, Ferry-Go-Round (1934), A Night at the Biltmore Bowl (1935), and The Spirit of 1976 (1935).
That Lady in Ermine 1948
  • Francesca
  • Angelina
  • Lubitsch died early into production.
  • Preminger finished the film but insisted on Lubitsch receiving full credit.
When My Baby Smiles at Me 1948 Bonny Kaye Walter Lang
The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend 1949 Winifred Jones Preston Sturges
Wabash Avenue 1950 Ruby Summers Henry Koster Remake of Grable's earlier hit Coney Island
My Blue Heaven 1950 Kitty Moran Henry Koster
Call Me Mister 1951 Kay Hudson Lloyd Bacon Remake of Grable's earlier hit A Yank in the RAF
Meet Me After the Show 1951 Delilah Lee Richard Sale
The Farmer Takes a Wife 1953 Molly Larkins Henry Levin
How to Marry a Millionaire 1953 Loco Dempsey Jean Negulesco
Three for the Show 1955 Julie Lowndes H.C. Potter
How to Be Very, Very Popular 1955 Stormy Tornado Nunnally Johnson

Box Office ranking[edit]

For a number of years exhibitors voted Grable among the most popular stars in the country in the Quigley Moving Picture Poll.

  • 1941 – 16th (US)[1]
  • 1942 – 8th (US)
  • 1943 – 1st (US), 5th (UK international stars)
  • 1944 – 4th (US), 2nd (UK international stars)
  • 1945 – 4th (US), 6th (UK international stars)
  • 1946 – 9th (US)
  • 1947 – 2nd (US)
  • 1948 – 2nd (US)
  • 1949 – 7th (US), 10th (UK international stars)
  • 1950 – 4th (US)
  • 1951 – 3rd (US)
  • 1952 – 20th (US)

Short subjects[edit]

Stage work[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mickey Rooney Tops List Three Times in a Row: Leads Money-Making Stars Again in 1941; Hollywood Luminaries Pay Capital a Visit; Items of News and Gossip of the Theater The Washington Post (1923–1954) [Washington, D.C] January 2, 1942: 18.