By Thomas Myler
For a lady who showed no early interest in becoming a movie star, Greer Garson, with her striking good looks and flowing red hair, became one of Hollywood’s leading screen goddesses in the 1940s. Betty Grable, the so-called Pin-Up Girl whose picture was emblazoned on US planes during the war, was the only female star who surpassed her in popularity.
“Greer Garson brought grace, wit, elegance, charm and a lively Irish vigour to a place and an industry,” wrote film critic Charles Champlin in the Los Angeles Times.
“The films she made were of their day but there was a lot to be said for them, and their messages of courage, caring and optimism. Gifted actress that she was, Greer Garson gave the messages the ring of truth.”
Nominated five times for an Academy Award, a record at the time, she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1942 for Mrs Miniver, a moving drama about a middle-class English family learning to cope with the tough conditions during the war years. Besides Garson’s award, it picked up five other trophies including Best Picture and Best Director, William Wyler.