Princess Grace left Hollywood on a high note, getting out before she had a chance to see her career falter, avoiding the clichés of grim determination seen in steely stars like Joan Crawford or Bette Davis, the boring domesticity of other fifties stars such as June Allyson, or the tragic fate of a love goddess like Marilyn Monroe. While Kelly won an Oscar for her portrayal as the wife in The Country Girl in 1954 (a controversial choice as she was up against Judy Garland for A Star is Born), her star rose higher in retrospect in tandem with Alfred Hitchcock’s. She appeared in three of his films: Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief in 1955.
Kelly ispresumed to have been Hitch's favorite actress, the archetypal “cool blonde” of his obsession. Donald Spotto (The Dark Side of Genius) reads Vertigo as a key to both Hitchcock’s personality and his obsession with Kelly; the actresses that he employed after her, such as Kim Novak in Vertigo, were rebound-romances for Hitchcock — he replaced her with lookalikes in an attempt to replace his beloved.
Hitchcock’s genius was to reveal the shadows in the iconic images of Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Grace Kelly. (She and Grant are a match of amoral schemers in To Catch a Thief.) Often noted is his reveal of Grace Kelly’s sexuality from under the surface of her cool, proper, glamorous, and even slightly forbidding exterior in both Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Yet, as noted in many Hollywood tell-all books (such as Oleg Cassini’s), Kelly was noted for being a very sexual woman, reportedly having affairs with William Holden, Oleg Cassini, Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, and others.