Betty Grable

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Betty Grable

Signature on Autograph Album - 1940

Autograph in pencil on album page, during the filming of the 1940 film Down Argentina Way, a 1940 Technicolor musical film made by Twentieth Century Fox. It made a star of Betty Grable in her first leading role for the studio, and introduced American audiences to Carmen Miranda. From the collection of another actor of the same period.

BETTY GRABLE (1916-1973) was an American dancer, singer, and actress. Her iconic bathing suit photo made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era. It was later included in the Life magazine project “100 Photos that Changed the World”. Grable was particularly noted for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and studio publicity widely dispersed photos featuring them.

As the 1930’s ended, after small parts in over 50 Hollywood movies throughout the 1930s – Grable finally gained national attention on stage for her role in the Cole Porter Broadway hit Du Barry Was a Lady (1939).

In 1940, Grable obtained a contract with 20th Century Fox, becoming their top star throughout the decade, with Technicolor movies such as Down Argentine Way (1940), Moon Over Miami (1941) (both with Don Ameche), Springtime in The Rockies (1942), Coney Island (1943) with George Montgomery, Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943) with Robert Young, Pin Up Girl (1944), Diamond Horseshoe (1945) with Dick Haymes, The Dolly Sisters (1945) with John Payne and June Haver.

It was during her reign as box office queen (in 1943) that Grable posed for her famous pinup photo, which (along with her movies) soon became escapist fare among GIs fighting in World War II. The image was taken by studio photographer Frank Powolny, who died in 1986. It was rumored that the particular pose and angle were chosen to hide the fact that Grable was pregnant at the time of the photo. Despite solid competition from Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Carole Landis, Lana Turner, and her biggest pin-up rival, Rita Hayworth, Grable was indisputably the top pinup girl for American soldiers. She was wildly popular at home as well, placing in the top 10 box office draws for 10 years. By the end of the 1940s Grable was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood, receiving $300,000 a year.


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