GREER GARSON Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » greer garson


Name: Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson                                                       
Born: 29 September 1904 London, England                                                 
Died: 6 April 1996 Dallas, Texas, U.S.                                                 
Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson, CBE (September 29, 1904 - April 6, 1996) was an             
Academy Award-winning English actress very popular during the World War II years       
and was the leading lady in many pictures with Walter Pidgeon.                         
Known in childhood as "Eggy",  Greer Garson was born in Manor                           
Park, Essex (now Greater London), England in 1904.  She was the                         
only child of George Garson (1865-1906), a clerk born in London but with               
Scottish lineage, and his Irish wife, Nancy ("Nina") Sophia Greer (d. 1958). Her       
maternal grandfather was David Greer a RIC sergeant in Castlewellan Co Down             
Northern Ireland in the 1880s and who later became a land steward to the               
Annesleys wealthy landlords who built the the town of Castlewellan. He lived in         
a large detached house built on the lower part of what was known as Pig Street         
or known locally as the Back Way near Shilliday’s builder’s yard. The house was     
called ‘Claremount’ and today the street is named Claremount Avenue. It was         
often reported that Ms. Garson was born in this house. She was, in fact born in         
London, but spent many of her childhood days in Castlewellan.                           
She was educated at the University of London, where she earned degrees in French       
and 18th-century literature. She intended to become a teacher, but instead began       
working with an advertising agency, and appeared in local theatrical productions.       
She appeared on television during its earliest years, in the 1930s, most notably       
in a thirty-minute production of an excerpt of Twelfth Night in May 1937,               
alongside Peggy Ashcroft. This is the first known instance of a Shakespeare play       
performed on television.                                                               
Louis B. Mayer discovered Garson while he was in London looking for new talent.         
Garson was signed to a contract with MGM in late 1937, but did not begin work on       
her first film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, until late 1938. She received her first             
Oscar nomination for the role, but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.         
She received critical acclaim the next year for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in         
the 1940 film, Pride and Prejudice.                                                     
Garson starred opposite Joan Crawford in When Ladies Meet in 1941 and that same         
year, became a major box office star with the sentimental Technicolor drama             
Blossoms in the Dust which brought her the first of five consecutive Best               
Actress Oscar nominations, tying Bette Davis' 1938-1942 record, a record that           
still stands.  Garson won the Academy Award for Best Actress in                         
1942 for her role as a strong British wife and mother in the middle of World War       
II in Mrs. Miniver. (Guinness Book of World Records credits her with the longest       
Oscar acceptance speech, at five minutes and 30 seconds, after which the               
Academy Awards instituted a time limit. ) She was also nominated                       
for Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), and The Valley of Decision (1945).     
Garson was a popular dramatic actress for several years when she was teamed with       
Clark Gable in his first film since returning from war service in 1945,                 
Adventure. The film was advertised with the catch-phrase "Gable's back and             
Garson's got him!" Garson's popularity dropped somewhat in the late 1940s, but         
she remained a popular film star until the mid 1950s. In 1951, she became a             
naturalized citizen of the United States.  She made only a few                         
films after her MGM contract expired in 1954. In 1958, she received a warm             
reception on Broadway in Auntie Mame, replacing Rosalind Russell who had gone to       
Hollywood to make the film version. In 1960, Garson received her seventh and           
final Oscar nomination for Sunrise at Campobello, in which she played Eleanor           
Roosevelt, this time losing to Elizabeth Taylor for BUtterfield 8.                     
Garson's last film, in 1967, was The Happiest Millionaire, although she made           
infrequent television appearances. In 1968, she narrated the children's                 
television special The Little Drummer Boy which went on to become a classic             
children's Christmas television programs which was broadcast annually for many         
Greer Garson and co-star Ralph Bellamy with Eleanor Roosevelt during filming of         
Sunrise at Campobello (1960)