- Category : Entertainment-Actor-Actress
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 1
American singer and actress who has appeared onscreen from 1940. She had a cute girl-next-door look that was popular in the '40s and '50s, in films that include "Ziegfeld Follies," 1944, "The Kissing Bandit," 1948 and "The Vagabond King," 1956. Her main employment was through the era of MGM musicals.
Kathryn was born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her father, Charles, was in the real estate business and the family moved frequently. When Katie was three, they headed for St. Louis, Missouri. There she attended both public and private schools. The next move was to Texas. During the trip there, they were in an accident and Kathryn and her mother spent five months in a hospital. When that ordeal ended, the family went on to California, where Katie continued her singing.
Louis B. Mayer was present for her audition for the Eddie Cantor radio show and immediately signed the petite lass with the heart-shaped face and the big, coloratura soprano voice to a contract. During her 12 years with MGM, Grayson was responsible for some of the studio's biggest hits. Grayson's first film in 1940-41 was "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary," in which she was given the opportunity to sing "Lucia" and "Voices of Spring." Her first leading role was as the title character in MGM's 1942 remake of "Rio Rita." Grayson leaned towards "diva" behavior as she became more popular, but this did not detract from her audiences appeal. Other popular films included "Anchors Aweigh," 1943, "The Kissing Bandit,"1948, and "The Toast of New Orleans," 1950. In many of her best films, notably "Showboat," 1951 and "Kiss Me Kate,"1953, Grayson was teamed with baritone Howard Keel, with whom she would later appear in nightclubs and tour in summer stock.
In 1956, she left MGM and made a few pictures for Paramount, but soon left the movie industry entirely. She later worked in nightclubs and on stage. She returned before the cameras in the 1980s as a guest on the television show, "Murder She Wrote."
Matrimonially, Grayson's life was stormy. She married actor John Shelton in 1940, when she was just 18. He was the star of the family then, but a stint in the Army stalled his career, while Kathryn zoomed along to stardom. Grayson followed him to Army camps, but wedded bliss just wasn't in the books for them. They separated and reconciled seven times before their divorce in 1946.
In 1947 she wed singer-actor Johnny Johnston. When she discovered she was pregnant, Grayson felt they were the happiest people alive. However, soon after Patti-Kate was born, the Johnstons separated, "because Johnny's too much of a golf fiend and party man." Their attempted reconciliation failed and after waiting a year, they divorced in 1951.
Grayson died February 17, 2010 at her Los Angeles home.