Bing and Grace from HIGH SOCIETY

Bing met Grace Kelly on the set of their movie The Country Girl in 1954, more than a year after his first wife's death and after he had already started dating his future wife, Kathryn Grant. At first Bing objected to casting Grace in the role of his wife in the movie because he felt she was too glamorous for the part. He finally consented to her selection and by the end of the movie they were dating. The affair between Bing and Grace apparently continued even after Bing had proposed to Kathryn. Bing postponed his wedding to Kathryn that was set for Sept. 10, 1955, apparently because of Grace. Later that year, according to Kathryn, Bing apologized to Kathryn for his fling with the future princess:

BING: "You were gone for a very long time, you know, and it started out as just a party after our movie wrap-up -- and then I suppose I had too much to drink and one thing led to another. Weeks later, when I told her of my previous commitment to you, she utterly lost her composure. She had always been so calm and serene, but now she wept and screamed at me. I can't understand why a woman would carry on like that. It was just terrible. Then she disappeared!"

Kathryn wrote "I listened in silent glee while he re-enacted their parting scene, her threats of suicide, public exposure, perhaps a suit for breach of promise."

Bing said he postponed his marriage to Kathryn because "I had to have her found, to be sure she wouldn't carry out her threats. I couldn't let her harm herself or cause a scandal that might hurt you or your family. I must be rotten to the core to have treated you like this." (My Life with Bing, page 65) Bing and Kathy

I have reason to doubt Kathryn's account of Bing's fall from Grace. Of all Bing's girlfriends between marriages, Grace Kelly wouuld seem the least likely to be suicidal and litigious about Bing. She didn't need Bing's money -- she was from a wealthy family and was a much in-demand leading lady in A-list movies. Her list of suitors included nearly all her leading men and a host of other wealthy and influential tycoons, such as Oleg Cassini. She could have the pick of the litter, or the entire litter. If Kathryn's account were indeed about Kelly, it is hard to imagine she and Bing would have co-starred as the romantic leads in High Society, a movie that was filmed in 1956 after Grace's engagement to the Prince of Monaco.

Although Kathryn attributes suicidal and litigious threats to Kelly, a more reasonable candidate for such behavior would be Inger Stevens, Bing's co-star in "Man on Fire," with whom he had an affair in 1957 that overlapped Kathryn's "long summer absence" in Spain to film The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. In her book Kathryn includes suggestive photos of Bing and Stevens (page 90), but does not discuss Bing's relationship with her. It seems likely Kathryn combined details of the two affairs into a single story involving the more famous celebrity. Inger Stevens eventually did commit suicide in 1970 after previous unsuccessful attempts.

In 1962, Bing and the now Kathryn Crosby (shown with Bing in photo above) were invited to Monaco to be the guests of now Princess Grace and her husband.

Bing and GraceKathryn wrote: "Staggering in on high heels that should have been made of glass, I felt like Cinderella in reverse, mistakenly donning her ball gown for a picnic.... There was nothing to do but to focus my charms on the prince. His attention, however, seemed fully occupied by Bing and Grace, who had broken the initial tension by the simple expedient of wrapping themselves around each other.... Bing and Grace strolled in, still with their arms about one another's waists. Absorbed in each other, they continued to chat amiably for a moment. Then, as if from an immense height, the princess deigned to take notice of the uproar.... Her Highness turned back to her admiring escort and favored him with a long, soulful Gallic look, the English translation of which seemed to be: 'See, if you'd only married me instead of the over-dressed frump who is now leaving claw marks in the arms of my Louis XVI sofa, you might have had disciplined children.'"

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