Kathryn Grayson

Once upon a hollywood time, talent scouts searched for pretty girls who could read lines, play comedy and sing ... opera. The girlish Deanna Durbin established the recipe in the late 1930s; Kathryn Grayson, who died Feb. 17 at 88 in Los Angeles, perfected it by adding a saucy sex appeal. For more than a decade, from Thousands Cheer in 1943 to The Vagabond King in 1956, she was the leading soprano at MGM and one of its top stars.

Legend has it that as a 12-year-old in St. Louis, Mo., Grayson, born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick, was discovered singing on the...

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