Grace Ford (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

In her own words, Grace Ford fell into motion pictures. She was a dancing instructor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was educated. One of her pupils received an opportunity for a screen test in Hollywood. Miss Ford accompanied her as chaperon.

At Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, it was suggested that the Tulsa dancing teacher make a test. She did and was signed on a contract at once, to make her screen debut in “The Devil Doll,” with Lionel Barrymore.

Miss Ford was born in Hollis, Oklahoma, where her father, Charles Lewis Ford, is an engineer. She attended school in Tulsa and participated in Little Theater drama, never with the intention of becoming a professional actress. Dancing was her whole ambition.

Studied With Fokine

She went to New York where she studied under the direction of the famous M. Fokine, L. Albertiri and Margaret Severn, having first taken professional instruction from Theodore Kosloff and his wife in California. Her first teacher was Irene Frank, who still conducts a dancing school in Tulsa.

Miss Ford is five feet five inches in height, weighs 118 pounds and has golden-brown hair and hazel eyes. She is extremely graceful and athletic. At Tulsa High School she was a star basketball player and still plays a fast game for recreation.

As a child in Hollis, Miss Ford learned to dance in the open, inspired by sheer childish love of rhythm. She is the only dancer in the world, so far as is known, who perfected her natural grace by studying the gentle movement of waving grain in a summer breeze.

Is Book Collector

She is a collector of books, especially those devoted to dancers and dancing. Her favorite of all is “Anna Pavlowa,” a biography by the husband of the great dancer. Others which she treasures are “Theater Street,” by Tamara Karsavina; “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gibran and “My Life,” by Isadora Duncan.

Miss Ford continues her interest in the dancing school in Tulsa, where she began her career. Irene Frank, who operates the school, is still her closest friend and whenever it is possible for her to spare the time, Miss Ford travels back to take a dancer’s vacation instructing a class of youngsters.

In Hollywood, Miss Ford studied the drama under direction of Phyllis Loughton, M-G-M coach, while she continues her dancing.

Creates Own Costumes

She is an expert designer, having taken a special course in the craft in New York and accordingly creates all of her own costumes. She reads voraciously, favoring Dickens, Shakespeare and Santayana, and owns one of the most noteworthy collections in existence of reproductions from the Degas ballet paintings. She admires Eugene O’Neill and Maxwell Anderson among the contemporary playwrights, and her favorite music is by Stokowski’s orchestra.

In Oklahoma, as a child, Miss Ford was alone much of the time and nearly always in the open. She developed a love of flowers that became intensified when she arrived in California. Her garden is the envy of friends and she insists on doing much of the work there with her own hands.

Frequently, when she is able to get leave of absence from her studio work, she drives far back into the desert, or into the rugged mountains where wild flowers grow in lavish profusion. Miss Ford is convinced that dancing is a natural expression and accordingly, she accounts for her love of all things that are natural.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937