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Monday, February 22, 2010

Kathryn Grayson 1922 - 2010

Hollywood star Kathryn Grayson died on Feb. 17 in Los Angeles of natural causes. She was 88. Grayson was a beauty, and a more than competent actor, but her greatest talent was her soaring soprano singing voice. She was brought into MGM and groomed as a musical star to compete with Universal, who already had a singing star in Deanna Durbin. Grayson went on to star in classic MGM musicals, "Kiss Me Kate" and "Anchors Aweigh", but her most famous role was as "Magnolia" in MGM's 1951 remake of "Showboat". Co-star Howard Keel once called her the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.


Grayson actually wanted a career as an opera singer, and at one point was even offered a role in "Lucia" at the Metropolitan Opera, but MGM boss Louis B. Mayer talked Grayson out of taking the job, fearing the opera career would hurt her chances at film stardom. Later in life, Grayson was offered the title role in the 1996 Albert Brooks film, "Mother", but turned it down saying the character was "brain-dead". Debbie Reynolds played the role to rave reviews.

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