Legends & Legacies View More

Googling Greer Garson

Published: 8/20/2010

Greer Garson (AP Photo)Though she died 6 April 1996, Greer Garson was one of the hottest search terms on Google this morning. There's a reason people haven't forgotten the Oscar-winning actress.

Born in London 29 September 1904, Garson had originally planned on becoming a teacher but instead went into advertising and began appearing in local theatrical productions. Like Hedy Lamarr and other imports of the period, she was discovered by Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer while he was in London on a talent scouting trip. She was soon signed to a contract with MGM and made her debut in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). Garson received an Academy Award nomination, but lost to Vivian Leigh, who won for her role in a little film called Gone With the Wind.

Above: British born actress Greer Garson lands at Southampton, England, from Hollywood to take up her role opposite Robert Donat in "Good-Bye Mr. Chips," December 1938. (AP Photo)

Garson would be nominated for an Academy Award six more times during her career. She has the dubious honor of delivering the longest Oscar acceptance speech in history – seven minutes – after winning best actress for her role in Mrs. Miniver (1943). Coincidentally or not, she never won another Oscar. She did, however, enjoy a career as one of the most popular actresses of the early 1940s, typically starring as the upstanding, intrepid-but-elegant wife and/or mother in glossy, sentimental wartime films. Of her MGM typecasting, Garson quipped she had become "Metro's Glorified Mrs."

The post-war period was not as kind to her, and she made few films after her MGM contract expired in 1954. She did continue to act on Broadway and in the occasional TV role before retiring to New Mexico with her third husband, millionaire oilman and horsebreeder E.E. "Buddy" Fogelson. She died 6 April 1996 at 92.

But why the sudden surge of interest in Greer Garson on Google? We're guessing it's because she starred in four films shown in last night's Walter Pidgeon retrospective on TCM: Julia Misbehaves (1944), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944) and Mrs. Miniver (1942). In all, Greer and Pidgeon made nine pictures together. The Marie Curie story seems to have particularly piqued the public's interest, as she was also a hot topic on Google this morning.

comments powered by Disqus
Our Picks