An Oscarwinning Hollywood actress who once trod the boards at The Dukes in Lancaster appears on the big screen there this Christmas.
Gloria Grahame played promiscuous Violet Bick saved from disgrace by James Stewart’s character, George Bailey, in the festive favourite, It’s A Wonderful Life to be screened on Christmas Eve.
Gloria went on to win an Oscar as best supporting actress in the 1952 film, The Bad and the Beautiful and became best known for her roles as a sultry, sexy, pouty blonde. She also starred as Ado Annie – ‘the girl who can’t say no’ - in the big screen version of Oklahoma!
As her film career began to wane, Gloria returned to the stage and in 1980, her theatre work brought her to The Dukes where she appeared as Martha in a production, directed by David Thacker, of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Gloria turned down a film part in America and television work worth $25,000 dollars to appear at The Dukes. At the time she said: “I’ve learned much more here than the money would have been worth.”
Gloria was such a hit that David Thacker invited her back to mark The Dukes 10th anniversary season in 1981. However, while in rehearsal for The Glass Menagerie, the star collapsed and it was revealed she had stomach cancer. Gloria died shortly afterwards aged 57.
The Dukes will be screening It’s A Wonderful Life at 6pm on December 24.For tickets priced £5.50/£4.50, call The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org