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Beamed a New York friend: "Here, for the first time in history, is a babe that Hollywood can't get to. Can't touch her with money, can't touch her with big names. Only thing they can offer her is good parts." Steel Insides. She has managed to get the parts. In the short space of 18 months she has been paired with six of Hollywood's biggest box office male starsClark Gable, Ray Milland, James Stewart, William Holden, Bing Crosby, Gary Grant. These seasoned veterans have learned to view with a jaundiced eye the pretty young newcomers assigned to play opposite them. Grace, as usual, was different. Says Holden, one of Hollywood's ablest pros: "With some actresses, you have to keep snapping them to attention like a puppy. Grace is always concentrating. In fact, she sometimes keeps me on the track." Says Jimmy Stewart: "She's easy to play to. You can see her thinking the way she's supposed to think in the role. You know she's listening, and not just for cues. Some actresses don't think and don't listen. You can tell they're just counting the words."
Outside the studio, Grace continued to disregard the Hollywood rules. She was friendly, but she refused to court the important columnists. Interviewers who tried to get her to open up came away swearing that they would rather tackle a train window any time. One producer grumbled that she had "stainless steel in-sides." She flatly refused to divulge even the standard data (bust, waist, hips). One columnist asked routinely whether she wore nightgowns. "I think it's nobody's business what I wear to bed," she said coolly. "A person has to keep something to herself, or your life is just a layout in a magazine."
In the end, publicists had to content themselves with tagging Miss Kelly as "a Main Line debutante." She is neither Main Line nor a debutante, but she is the next thing to both.
The Beautiful People. In Philadelphia, the Kellys are about as conspicuous as the 30th Street Station, which, like many of the city's major structures, bears the credit: Brickwork by Kelly. Handsome, athletic John B. Kelly, Grace's father, the son of a farm boy from County Mayo, began business life as a bricklayer. Eventually he parlayed a borrowed $7,000 into the nation's biggest brickwork construction company. One of his brothers was George Kelly, Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright (Craig's Wife); another was Walter Kelly, the famed "Virginia Judge" of the vaudeville circuits.