Elizabeth Ruth “Betty” Grable was an American actress, pin-up model, dancer, and singer. Her 42 movies during the 1930s and 1940s grossed more than $100 million. She set a record of 12 consecutive years in the top 10 of box office stars. The Treasury Department in 1946-47 listed her as the highest-salaried American woman. She earned more than $3 million during her career.
Grable came to prominence in the Broadway musical DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), which brought her to the attention of 20th Century-Fox. She replaced Alice Faye in Down Argentine Way (1940), her first major Hollywood film, and became Fox’s biggest film star throughout the remaining decade. Fox cast Grable in a succession of Technicolor musicals during the decade that were immensely popular, co-starring with such leading men as Victor Mature, Don Ameche, John Payne, and Tyrone Power.
In 1943, she was the number-one box-office draw in the world and, in 1947, she was the highest-paid entertainer in the United States. Two of her biggest film successes were the musical Mother Wore Tights (1947) and the comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), one of her last films. Grable retired from screen acting in 1955 after she withdrew from her Fox contract, although she continued to perform on the stage and on television.
Throughout her career, Grable was a celebrated sex symbol. Her bathing suit poster made her the number-one pin-up girl of World War II, surpassing Rita Hayworth. It was later included in the Life magazine project “100 Photographs that Changed the World”. Hosiery specialists of the era often noted the ideal proportions of her legs as thigh (18.5 in (47 cm)), calf (12 in (30 cm)), and ankle (7.5 in (19 cm)). Grable’s legs were famously insured by her studio for $1 million as a publicity stunt.
With the man the world is his heart, with the woman the heart is her world.
I have got two reasons for success and I’m standing on both of them.
It may sound peculiar to say so, because she is no longer with us, but we were very close. Once when we were doing that picture How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) together, I got a call on the set: my younger daughter had had a fall. I ran home and the one person to call was Marilyn. She did an awful lot to boost things up for movies when everything was at a low state; there’ll never be anyone like her for looks, for attitude, for all of it.
It’s loud, it’s cheap, it’s gaudy. It’s like everything I’ve ever done – I LOVE IT!
There’s nothing mysterious about me.