Kathryn Grayson

Active - 1939 - 1994  |   Born - Feb 9, 1922   |   Died - Feb 17, 2010   |   Genres - Musical, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Ever on the lookout for the "new Deanna Durbin", MGM talent scouts discovered coloratura soprano Kathryn Grayson while she was the teenaged vocalist on Eddie Cantor's radio program. Grayson's first film was the 1940 MGM programmer Andy Hardy's Private Secretary, in which she was given the opportunity to sing "Lucia" and "Voices of Spring." Her first leading role was as the title character in MGM's 1942 remake of Rio Rita; years after the fact, Grayson would remember the kindnesses and helpfulness of her co-stars, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Grayson herself leaned towards "diva" behavior the more popular she became, but audiences were less interested in backstage intrigues and more interested in the end result of such films as Anchors Aweigh (1943), The Kissing Bandit (1948), and The Toast of New Orleans (1950). In many of her best films, notably Showboat (1951) and Kiss Me Kate (1953, in which her curvaceous figure was delightfully emphasized in form-fitting Elizabethan garb), Grayson was teamed with baritone Howard Keel, with whom she would later appear in nightclubs and tour in summer stock. Kathryn Grayson made her last film in 1956; she returned before the cameras in the 1980s on (where else?) Murder She Wrote, and died in February 2010, around a week after her 88th birthday.

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