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Hollywood's wartime pin-up dies at 56.

Retro Report July, 1973 -

BETTY GRABLE, pin-up of troops during World War II and owner of the most famous legs in show business has died in hospital at Santa Monica of lung cancer. She was 56.

Miss Grable had been in and out of hospital for treatment for more than a year. She was taken to St John's Hospital for the last time on Friday from her Beverly Hills home.

She was the star of a long succession of musical films from the mid-1930s until the early 1950s. More than three million copies of a famed photograph of her looking over her shoulder as she posed in tights were distributed to troops during the war.

Miss Grable came to fame in the 1939 movie Million Dollar Legs, and from then on the blue-eyed blonde was one of Hollywood's leading stars.

Betty Grable reached the peak of her screen career in the 1940s with films like Moon Over Miami, Tin Pan Alley and Diamond Horseshoe, after a humble start as an extra in 1930.

She kept her almost ash blonde hair and preserved her figure - even though she said she did not diet, and her only exercise was an occasional round of golf.

Her shapely legs became famous in her early Hollywood career. She never regarded herself as a screen beauty, as a dancer like Ginger Rogers or as a rival to the singer Doris Day. Even as an actress, she said; 'I don't take myself seriously... maybe I had sincerity - and warmth. Those qualities are essential.'

Whatever her failings, Miss Grable hardly lost an opportunity in every film to display her legs. Critics said she looked like the thoroughly American hash-house (cheap-priced cafA) waitress. Her many film parts featured her as a brash but friendly girl - one reason why she became a wartime pin-up.

One of the top bandleaders was Harry James, whom she married in 1943. They had two daughters. Her legs were insured with Lloyd's of London for pounds 250,000. She dropped out of show business in the mid-1950s, but made a comeback a decade later in Las Vegas nightclubs.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 3, 2006
Words:353
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