Kathryn Grayson

Kathryn Grayson

Birth
Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA
Death 17 Feb 2010 (aged 88)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 48322585 · View Source
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Actress. Initially ambitious of becoming an opera singer, she starred in a number of film and Broadway musicals from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick to a musical family, she moved from North Carolina to St. Louis with her family where at 12 she was discovered singing on the stage of an empty opera house; after she received voice lessons from Frances Marshall the Hedricks relocated to Hollywood so that she could gain more advanced training. Meeting Louis B. Mayer she was signed by MGM, her silver screen debut coming in the 1941 "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary". She was soon seen in a number of features including "Seven Sweethearts" and "Rio Rita" (both 1942) and the 1943 "Thousands Cheer" then spent two years entertaining the troops. Thru the late 1940s Kathryn was to have a number of musical roles including an appearance with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in "Anchors Aweigh" (1945) and starring turns in Mario Lanza's first two movies, 1949's "That Midnight Kiss" and the 1950 "The Toast of New Orleans". During the 1950s she appeared as Lili Vanessi in "Kiss Me Kate", took part in "Show Boat" and "Roberta", and on the small screen earned an Emmy nomination for her 1955 portrayal of a blind girl on "General Electric Theater". As the decade progressed Kathryn carried her talent to Broadway where she was Magnolia in "Show Boat", had roles in "Kiss Me Kate" and "The Merry Widow", and garnered rave reviews as Julie Andrews' 1962 replacement as Queen Guenevere in "Camelot". Following a two year run in "Camelot" the 1960s were to see her have a successful cabaret act with Howard Keel and to finally realize her childhood dream of singing opera in Puccini's "La Boheme" and "Madame Butterfly" and Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata". In later years Kathryn was head of the vocal program at Idaho State University, toured in the one woman show "An Evening With Kathryn Grayson", and appeared several times with Angela Lansbury on "Murder She Wrote". Her two early marriages to actors John Shelton and Johnnie Johnston ended in divorce; she lived her final years in Los Angeles where she died of the effects of advanced age. Of performing with the notoriously difficult Lanza she said: "He was great, but I could have murdered him for scene stealing".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 18 Feb 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 48322585
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Kathryn Grayson (9 Feb 1922–17 Feb 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 48322585, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.