Mrs. Miniver (1942) racked up 12 Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars including Best Picture, Director (William Wyler), Actress (Garson) and Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright), plus an Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to the film`s producer, Sidney Franklin. Garson entered Oscar lore with her acceptance speech, which began "I am practically unprepared." She rambled on for several minutes, leaving one wit to observe that her speech was "longer than her performance." As the legend grew, some witnesses with faulty memories claimed that she spoke for over an hour.
Garson formed an attractive romantic partnership with the stalwart and gentlemanly Walter Pidgeon, with whom she co-starred eight times.
Greer often laughingly referred to herself as "MGM`s Glorified Mama" - not an unreasonable label, actually, since her home studio of MGM so often cast her as a wise and compassionate wife and/or mother. She was the movies` beloved Mrs. Chips, Mrs. Gladney, Mrs. Miniver, Mrs. Parkington, Madame Curie and Mrs. Forsyte, to name a few, including the wives of Julius Caesar and F.D.R..
Garson didn`t want to do Mrs. Miniver (1942) at all. She didn`t dislike the part, only the idea that she`d have to play the mother of a grown son, something which in the 1940s could dash chances of ever again playing an attractive leading lady. Norma Shearer had earlier turned down the film for the same reason; Norma, however, had the clout to get her own way. Greer, at that point, did not.
Greer was an Academy Award nominee five years in a row as Best Actress (1941-45), a record no one has topped and only Bette Davis (1938-1942) has matched.
Greer was presented a plaque as the Queen of New York`s Radio City Music Hall because more of her films played there (14) than those of any other actress; they also played for the most number of weeks (83) of any actress.
Clark Gable hated Adventure (1945), his first movie after the war, and wasn`t fond of Greer Garson. He put her in the same category as Vivien Leigh-- English girls taking away good parts from American actresses. "A good time to Miss Garson," Clark said, "is tea time." Adventure was a bad movie, but the studio publicity was worse: Gable`s back and Garson`s got him! Critics added, "... and they deserve each other." Clark was angry, embarrassed, and crushed. He would never get over the slogan. His homecoming film should have been a blockbuster, but he refused to pass a movie theater with Adventure on the marquee. His fans didn`t let him down, however. It was a box-office success.
In 1947 Greer received a new seven-year contract guaranteeing her $30,000 a year for life-- whether she stayed at MGM or not.
In Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Judy Garland appeared briefly as Madame Crematon singing "The Great Lady Has an Interview," a satiric spoof of Greer Garson.
Winston Churchill said that Mrs. Miniver (1942) did more for the war effort than a fleet of destroyers.
As a child, Greer suffered from chronic bronchitis, which required that she be confined to bed for six weeks each spring, autumn and winter.
Pre-movie career: Head of market research and information department of Lever Brothers in London.
She kept her weight in check by lunching on hot sauerkraut juice.
Greer liked to work with cameraman Joe Ruttenberg. He had noted that she always photographed better when she held her chin up and devised a set of signals that would tip her off when it began to dip.
She considered "Random Harvest" (1942) her best picture, not Mrs. Miniver (1942).
Her two pet poodles were called Gogo and Cliquot. Gogo got to stroll down a country lane with Greer in "The Valley of Decision" (1945).
On July 23, 1942, Greer put her footprints and autograph in the cement forecourt of Grauman`s Chinese Theater. Underneath the cement square, a time capsule was placed containing a print of the motion picture, "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), a copy of the manuscript and of the book.
"Blossoms in the Dust" (1941) was MGM`s fifth movie in full color.
Two of her nicknames during her pre-Hollywood stage career were "U.P.," the Universal Provider, always ready to help a fellow actor with her ready supply of safety pins, mints, and threads, and "Ca-reer Garson.
She wore a different perfume for every new picture.
She always carried her own thick red pencil in her bag. Her signature in guest books was as much of a standout as she was.
At the height of her career, there were more than two hundred official Greer Garson fan clubs around the world.
After she shampooed her famous red hair, she rinsed it with a cup of California champagne, brushed it out one hundred strokes, and then tied it up in a net for the night.
Louis B. Mayer once compared Greer to his favorite racehorse, Busher, calling her "a classy filly who runs the track according to orders, and comes home with blue ribbons!
Greer`s disillusionment with "Adventure" (1946), the film she hoped would open new opportunities for her at MGM turned to anger when she heard the publicity slogan that Howard Dietz was preparing: "Gable`s Back and Garson`s Got Him!" Dietz tried to appease her objections with an alternate: "Gable Puts the Arson in Garson." "They`re ungallant," she indignantly replied. "Why don`t you say, `Garson Puts the Able in Gable?`" Gable`s sour reaction to the fiasco was unprintable.
Her husband, Buddy Fogelson, taught Greer about the oil industry and named an oil field for her in Palo Pinto County, Texas.
"The Valley of Decision" (1945) brought in $8,096,000, the biggest gross of any Greer Garson film, and Greer`s sixth nomination for Best Actress.
Directors George Cukor and Mervyn LeRoy both worked on Greer`s 1947 movie "Desire Me." Both tried to make something out of it, but failed. Both of them insisted that their names not appear on the screen, and so the picture came out without any director listed at all, the only major film ever issued without a director`s credit.
"Scandal at Scourie" (1953) was the only Greer Garson/Walter Pidgeon film that did not open at Radio City Music Hall. It was also the last time the famous couple would ever act together.
She loved a breakfast of orange juice with a raw egg in it.
She once broke a dental cap in Trader Vic`s restaurant and had to reassemble the bits with gift-shop adhesive.
Donated millions to have the Greer Garson Theater built, at the College of Santa Fe. She had three conditions that had to be followed: 1) It had to be a working circular stage, 2) the first play had to be A Midsummer`s Night Dream, and 3) it had to have large ladies` restrooms. (imdb.com)
She married Richard Ney after filming Mrs. Miniver (1942), in which he played her son. (imdb.com)
Daughter of Nina Ross. (imdb.com)
Best known for her role in Mrs. Miniver (1942) (imdb.com)
Was one of the notable celebrities, along with Roosevelt (Rosie) Grier, who actively supported RFK`s candidacy in 1968, prior to his tragic death. (imdb.com)
In Italy, almost all her films were dubbed by Tina Lattanzi, except When Ladies Meet (1941) and The Happiest Millionaire (1967) where she was dubbed respectively by Giovanna Scotto and Rosetta Calavetta. (imdb.com)
Tutored by Laurence Olivier during her theatre days in London. (imdb.com)
Received the Women`s International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1990. (imdb.com)
Was a recipient of the prestigious TACA/Neiman-Marcus Silver Cup Award for her contributions to the arts in Dallas. (imdb.com)
There is a Greer Garson Theater on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Greer also donated many of her papers and personal effects to the Southern Methodist University Jake and Nancy Hamon Library. (imdb.com)
During the filming of Blossoms in the Dust (1941) she informed fan magazines that she planned to adopt two babies if she did not marry soon because every home in American should not be without children. She did not carry out her statement even though she did marry twice after declaring her wish to adopt. (imdb.com)
Her first marriage lasted for the duration of her honeymoon. On her honeymoon in Austria she was practically held hostage by her possessive husband and on her return to England she moved in with her mother and her husband moved to India. (imdb.com)
In the MGM all-star spectacular Ziegfeld Follies (1946), there is a skit entitled "The Great Lady Gives an Interview" written by Roger Edens and Kay Thompson. It was originally meant to be performed by Garson as a spoof of her image in dramas such as Madame Curie (1943). She refused to do it, and Judy Garland did a satirical impersonation of her as "Madame Crematon, the inventor of the safety pin". (imdb.com)
Measurements: 36 B/C- 25- 38 (imdb.com)
Greer had three step-children, adopted by her husband Buddy Folgolsen after his brother`s death. (imdb.com)
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 225-227. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. (imdb.com)
Graduated from the University of London and studied at the University of Grenoble (imdb.com)
In 1938 she suffered malnutrition from embarking on a crash diet to achieve the standard Hollywood slimline figure.
She was a fan of the film Top Gun (1986).