Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greer Garson

Greer Garson was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson on September 29, 1904 in London, England. She was the only child of George Carson, a clerk, and Nancy "Nina" Greer.

Greer was educated at King's College in London where she earned degrees in French and 18th century literature. She had intended on becoming a teaching but instead began working with an advertising agency.

Greer Garson began her professional career on stage, starting at the Birmingham Repetory Theatre in 1932. She was tutored by Laurence Olivier. She also appeared on television in its earliest years most notably starring in the thirty minute production of Twelfth Night (1937).

Louis B. Mayer discovered Greer Garson while he was in London looking for new talent. Garson was signed to a contract with MGM in late 1937. Her film debut was in Goodbye Mr. Chips (1938).

Greer Garson's movie credits include Pride and Prejudice (1940), When Ladies Meet (1941), Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Random Harvest (1942), Mrs. Parkington (1944), That Forsyte Woman (1949), The Miniver Story (1950), Julius Caesar (1953) and Sunrise at Campobello (1960).

She would earn seven Academy Award Best Actress Oscar nominations, She was nominated for Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939), Blossums in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), The Valley of Decision (1945), and Sunrise at Campobello (1960).

Greer Garson won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1942 for her portrayal as a strong British wife and mother in the middle of World War II in Mrs. Miniver. Her acceptance speech is the longest in history, five minutes and 30 seconds. The Academy Awards then instituted a time limit in response.

She would tie with Bette Davis, a record which still stands today, for the most consecutive Academy Award Best Actress nominations, being nominated five years straight.

She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for Sunrise at Campobello (1960).

Greer Garson was married three times. Her first marraige was to Edward Alec Abbot Snelson (1933-1943, divorced). Her second marriage was to Richard Ney, her co-star in Mrs. Miniver, twenty eight years her junior (1943-1947, divorced).

In 1949, she married E.E. Buddy Fogelson and they remained married until his death in 1987. In 1967, the couple retired to their Forked Lightning Ranch in New Mexico. They purchased the U.S. Hall of Fame champion Thoroughbred Ack Ack in 1971 and were highly successful breeders. They also maintained a home in Dallas, Texas where Greer funded the Greer Garson Theater at Southern Methodist University.

Although she retired from the silver screen in 1967, she would continue to make limited appearances on television shows such as The Virginian, Little Women, Hallmark Hall of Fame specials and her final appearance being in 1982 on The Love Boat.

Greer Garson died from heart failure on April 6, 1996 at the age of 91, she is interred in Dallas at the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery.

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