Judy Balaban, the daughter of a longtime studio mogul who dated Montgomery Clift and Merv Griffin, married Tony Franciosa and served as one in all Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids at her wedding ceremony to Prince Rainier of Monaco, has died. She was 91.
Balaban died Thursday evening in a hospital in Los Angeles, her good friend, writer and documentary filmmaker Cari Beauchamp, informed The Hollywood Reporter.
Balaban was a champion for civil rights, serving on the board of administrators for the ACLU of Southern California for many years.
In a 2010 piece for Self-importance Truthful that she and Beauchamp co-wrote, Balaban described utilizing LSD (then authorized) as a type of remedy within the early Nineteen Sixties when her good mates Cary Grant and his third spouse, Betsy Drake, had been utilizing it, too.
“What I had with Cary and Betsy was a sort of soul-baringness that the tradition didn’t begin to cope with till years later,” she says within the story. “We continued to have that even when our lives went off in numerous instructions.”
Balaban additionally talked about these days throughout an look within the 2017 Showtime documentary Turning into Cary Grant.
Her 1961-67 marriage to Franciosa (A Hatful of Rain, The Title of the Sport) was sandwiched between her marriages to high-profile Hollywood agent Jay Kanter from 1953-61 and to actor Don Quine (The Virginian) from 1971-96. All three resulted in divorce.
Judith Rose Balaban was born in Chicago in October 13, 1932, to Tillie and Barney Balaban. Her father co-owned a sequence of theaters earlier than he was elected president of Paramount in 1936, and he would preside over the studio by way of 1964.
Her brother was famous jazz musician Pink Balaban, and her half-brother was Burt Balaban, a producer of movies together with 1960’s Homicide, Inc.
She and her household moved to New York when her dad took the Paramount job, and he or she attended highschool in Washington, D.C., earlier than returning to Manhattan to work within the vogue business.
Balaban, who was within the gossip sheets as courting Clift within the early ’50s when he was making movies like A Place within the Solar, was going out with Griffin and watching him sing at a nightclub when she was launched to Kanter. Their marriage introduced her to Hollywood.
Balaban turned quick mates with Kelly by way of Kanter, who was the actress’ agent (he additionally represented the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando and Paul Newman throughout his profession). The star of Excessive Midday, Rear Window and The Nation Lady known as her “Judybird”; she known as Kelly “Graciebird.”
When Kelly and Rainier wed at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco on April 18, 1956, Balaban was there alongside fellow bridesmaids Maree Frisby, a high-school good friend of Kelly’s; Sally Parrish and Bettina Thompson, classmates from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; Carolyn Scott, a modeling companion; and actress Rita Gam, Kelly’s onetime roommate in Hollywood.
All traveled to Monaco with the bride-to-be aboard the SS Structure. (Ava Gardner, who starred with Kelly in 1953’s Mogambo, reportedly declined to be a bridesmaid.)
Balaban wrote in regards to the expertise in her 1989 e-book, The Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and Six Intimate Pals.
She described Kelly’s costume — created by MGM costume designer Helen Rose — as “twenty-five yards of silk peau de soie, one other twenty-five of sunshine silk taffeta, ninety-eight yards of silk tulle and almost 300 and twenty yards of Valenciennes lace.”
Balaban additionally appeared in 1983 and 2018 documentaries about Clift and one about Kelly in 1987 and was interviewed for Mark Cousins’ acclaimed 2011 doc sequence The Story of Movie: An Odyssey.
Survivors embody her daughters, Amy, whom she had with Kanter, and Nina, whom she had with Franciosa; and a cousin, Oscar-nominated actor Bob Balaban. Victoria, her different daughter with Kanter, died in June 2020.
Scott Feinberg contributed to this report.