Kathryn Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick in Winston-Salem, NC, on February 9, 1922. She was discovered by MGM talent scouts while singing on the radio. The studio quickly signed her to a contract. Kathryn, a coloratura soprano, made her first film in 1941, a “B” picture called Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941). She soon was cast opposite some of MGM’s top musical stars of the 1940s, such as Gene Kelly and Mario Lanza. Grayson’s most memorable roles came in the early 1950s. They were Show Boat (1951), where she played “Magnolia”, opposite Ava Gardner and Howard Keel; Kiss Me Kate (1953), playing actress “Lilli Vanessi”, who portrayed “Katherine” in the movie’s “show within a show”, a musical version of “The Taming of the Shrew”. In 1953 she exited MGM, then made only one more film, The Vagabond King (1956), at Paramount. She later worked in nightclubs and on stage.
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