Greer Garson Trivia

Greer Garson was best known for her role in Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Her given name, Greer, was a contraction of MacGregor, her mother's maiden name.

Had homes in Dallas, Los Angeles and ranch near Pecos, New Mexico.

Graduated from the University of London and studied at the University of Grenoble.

Signed up by MGM boss Louis B. Mayer when he saw her acting on a London stage. [1937]

Well-known for activities on behalf of educational and cultural institutions.

Donated millions to have the Greer Garson Theater built, at the College of Santa Fe. She had three conditions that had to be followed: 1) It had to be a working circular stage, 2) the first play had to be A Midsummer's Night Dream, and 3) it had to have large ladies' restrooms.

Greer Garson married Richard Ney after filming Mrs. Miniver (1942), in which he played her son.

Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1990.

Nominated for an Academy Award five years in a row: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945. She holds the record for most consecutive nominations with Bette Davis.

Lana Turner remembered that in the MGM wardrobe department, Garson's fitting mannequin had the largest hips, "but she is a tall woman."

Was a recipient of the prestigious TACA/Neiman-Marcus Silver Cup Award for her contributions to the arts in Dallas.

There is a Greer Garson Theater on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Greer also donated many of her papers and personal effects to the Southern Methodist University Jake and Nancy Hamon Library.

A fire at her home destroyed the original Oscar she had won for best actress in Mrs. Miniver (1942). The Academy of Motion Pictures later sent her a replacement.

While Greer Garson was at MGM in the 1940s she said that she would liked to have been cast in more comedies rather than dramas, and was jealous that those roles were given to another redhead who recently signed with the studio, Lucille Ball. Ironically, Ball was dissatisfied at being overlooked for dramatic roles.

Tutored by Laurence Olivier during her theatre days in London.

In the MGM all-star spectacular Ziegfeld Follies (1945), there is a skit entitled "The Great Lady Gives an Interview" written by Roger Edens and Kay Thompson. It was originally meant to be performed by Garson as a spoof of her image in dramas such as Madame Curie (1943). She refused to do it, and Judy Garland did a satirical impersonation of her as "Madame Crematon, the inventor of the safety pin".

Replaced Rosalind Russell in the Broadway version of Auntie Mame in 1958.

In 1952, Greer Garson accepted the Oscar for best actress in a leading role on behalf of Vivien Leigh, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony.

In 1962, she accepted the Oscar for best actress in a leading role on behalf of Sophia Loren, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony.

In the 1982, she turned down Aaron Spelling's offer of a part in the hit soap "Dynasty" (1981), playing mother to Joan Collins's Alexis.

Greer Garson was one of the notable celebrities, along with Roosevelt (Rosie) Grier, who actively supported RFK's candidacy in 1968, prior to his tragic death.

Greer Garson had three step-children, adopted by her husband Buddy Folgolsen after his brother's death.

Measurements: 36 B/C- 25- 38

She was a fan of the film Top Gun (1986).

During the filming of Blossoms in the Dust (1941) she informed fan magazines that she planned to adopt two babies if she did not marry soon because every home in American should not be without children. She did not carry out her statement even though she did marry twice after declaring her wish to adopt.

Her first marriage lasted for the duration of her honeymoon. On her honeymoon in Austria she was practically held hostage by her possessive husband and on her return to England she moved in with her mother and her husband moved to India.

In 1938 she suffered malnutrition from embarking on a crash diet to achieve the standard Hollywood slim line figure.

Was in consideration for the part of Susan Trexell in Susan and God (1940), but Joan Crawford was cast instead.

She once broke a dental cap in Trader Vic's restaurant and had to reassemble the bits with gift-shop adhesive.

She loved a breakfast of orange juice with a raw egg in it.

"Scandal at Scourie" (1953) was the only Greer Garson/Walter Pidgeon film that did not open at Radio City Music Hall. It was also the last time the famous couple would ever act together.

Directors George Cukor and Mervyn LeRoy both worked on Greer's 1947 movie "Desire Me." Both tried to make something out of it, but failed. Both of them insisted that their names not appear on the screen, and so the picture came out without any director listed at all, the only major film ever issued without a director's credit.

"The Valley of Decision" (1945) brought in $8,096,000, the biggest gross of any Greer Garson film, and Greer's sixth nomination for Best Actress.

Her husband, Buddy Fogelson, taught Greer about the oil industry and named an oil field for her in Palo Pinto County, Texas.

Greer's disillusionment with "Adventure" (1946), the film she hoped would open new opportunities for her at MGM turned to anger when she heard the publicity slogan that Howard Dietz was preparing: "Gable's Back and Garson's Got Him!" Dietz tried to appease her objections with an alternate: "Gable Puts the Arson in Garson." "They're ungallant," she indignantly replied. "Why don't you say, 'Garson Puts the Able in Gable?'" Gable's sour reaction to the fiasco was unprintable.

Louis B. Mayer once compared Greer to his favorite racehorse, Busher, calling her "a classy filly who runs the track according to orders, and comes home with blue ribbons!"

After she shampooed her famous red hair, she rinsed it with a cup of California champagne, brushed it out one hundred strokes, and then tied it up in a net for the night.

At the height of her career, there were more than two hundred official Greer Garson fan clubs around the world.

She always carried her own thick red pencil in her bag. Her signature in guest books was as much of a standout as she was.She wore a different perfume for every new picture.

Two of her nicknames during her pre-Hollywood stage career were "U.P.," the Universal Provider, always ready to help a fellow actor with her ready supply of safety pins, mints, and threads, and "Ca-reer Garson."

"Blossoms in the Dust" (1941) was MGM's fifth movie in full color.

On July 23, 1942, Greer put her footprints and autograph in the cement forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater. Underneath the cement square, a time capsule was placed containing a print of the motion picture, "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), a copy of the manuscript and of the book.

Her two pet poodles were called Gogo and Cliquot. Gogo got to stroll down a country lane with Greer in "The Valley of Decision" (1945).

She considered "Random Harvest" (1942) her best picture, not Mrs. Miniver (1942).

Greer liked to work with cameraman Joe Ruttenberg. He had noted that she always photographed better when she held her chin up and devised a set of signals that would tip her off when it began to dip.

She kept her weight in check by lunching on hot sauerkraut juice.

Pre-movie career: Head of market research and information department of Lever Brothers in London.

As a child, Greer suffered from chronic bronchitis, which required that she be confined to bed for six weeks each spring, autumn and winter.

Winston Churchill said that Mrs. Miniver (1942) did more for the war effort than a fleet of destroyers.

In 1947 Greer received a new seven-year contract guaranteeing her $30,000 a year for life-- whether she stayed at MGM or not.

Clark Gable hated Adventure (1945), his first movie after the war, and wasn't fond of Greer Garson. He put her in the same category as Vivien Leigh-- English girls taking away good parts from American actresses.

"A good time to Miss Garson," Clark said, "is tea time."

Adventure was a bad movie, but the studio publicity was worse: Gable's back and Garson's got him! Critics added, "... and they deserve each other."

Clark was angry, embarrassed, and crushed. He would never get over the slogan. His homecoming film should have been a blockbuster, but he refused to pass a movie theater with Adventure on the marquee. His fans didn't let him down, however. It was a box-office success.

Greer was presented a plaque as the Queen of New York's Radio City Music Hall because more of her films played there (14) than those of any other actress; they also played for the most number of weeks (83) of any actress.

Greer was an Academy Award nominee five years in a row as Best Actress (1941-45), a record no one has topped and only Bette Davis (1938-1942) has matched.

Garson didn't want to do Mrs. Miniver (1942) at all. She didn't dislike the part, only the idea that she'd have to play the mother of a grown son, something which in the 1940s could dash chances of ever again playing an attractive leading lady. Norma Shearer had earlier turned down the film for the same reason; Norma, however, had the clout to get her own way. Greer, at that point, did not.

Greer often laughingly referred to herself as "MGM's Glorified Mama" - not an unreasonable label, actually, since her home studio of MGM so often cast her as a wise and compassionate wife and/or mother. She was the movies' beloved Mrs. Chips, Mrs. Gladney, Mrs. Miniver, Mrs. Parkington, Madame Curie and Mrs. Forsyte, to name a few, including the wives of Julius Caesar and F.D.R.

Garson formed an attractive romantic partnership with the stalwart and gentlemanly Walter Pidgeon, with whom she co-starred eight times.

Mrs. Miniver (1942) racked up 12 Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars including Best Picture, Director (William Wyler), Actress (Garson) and Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright), plus an Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to the film's producer, Sidney Franklin.

Garson entered Oscar lore with her acceptance speech, which began "I am practically unprepared." She rambled on for several minutes, leaving one wit to observe that her speech was "longer than her performance." As the legend grew, some witnesses with faulty memories claimed that she spoke for over an hour. However she did not "ramble on for over an hour" after receiving her 1943 Academy Award for Mrs. Miniver (1942). Her acceptance speech was actually only 5-1/2 minutes in length. This still makes it the longest acceptance speech ever.

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