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Thursday, September 14, 2017

September 14, 1982

You know, I have to remember next time I feature a month long feature on food to not have it in September.  I'm telling you, there are no food related Throwback Thursday posts to be had!  Sigh...I suppose I'll just have to choose a topic at random and hope that it is interesting enough.

In the meantime, it's September 14th.  What happened throughout history on this planet?  Let's have a look...

1180 - The Battle of Ishibashiyama takes place in Japan

1814 - "The Defence of Fort McHenry" is written by Francis Scott Key - which is later used as the lyrics for "The Star-Spangled Banner"

1901 - American President William McKinley dies from gunshot wounds sustained eight days earlier by assassin Leon Czolgosz

1919 - Actress/comedian Kay Medford (d. 1980) is born in New York, New York

1917 - Russia is proclaimed a republic

1940 - The Ip Massacre takes place during World War II

1949 - Lynyrd Skynyrd member Steve Gaines (d. 1977) is born in Seneca, Missouri

1954 - Musician Barry Cowsill (d. 2005) is born in Newport, Rhode Island

1959 - Luna 2 - a Soviet probe - lands on the surface of the Moon

1960 - OPEC is founded

1969 - September 14 is selected as the first Draft Lottery date by the U.S. Selective Service

1983 - Singer Amy Winehouse (d. 2011) is born in Southgate, London, England

1984 - Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to fly a gas balloon across the Atlantic Ocean solo

1994 - Due to the Major League Baseball strike, the 1994 baseball season is officially canceled

1998 - WorldCom and MCI Communications merge to form the new company MCI WorldCom

2000 - Windows ME is released

2001 - Two vigils - one at the Washington National Cathedral and one at Ottawa's Parliament Hill - are held in memory of those who died during the September 11, 2001 attacks

2002 - Actress LaWanda Page dies at the age of 81

2006 - Actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay dies at the age of 80

2009 - Actor Patrick Swayze passes away at the age of 57

2012 - Canadian actor Winston Rekert dies at the age of 63

And celebrities that are turning one year older today are the following; Zoe Caldwell, Walter Koenig, DeWitt Weaver, Joey Heatherton, Sam Neill, Ed King, Steve Berlin, Edu Manzano, Beth Nielsen Chapman, John Berry, Morten Harket, Melissa Leo, Callum Keith Rennie, Faith Ford, Michelle Stafford, Ben Garant, Craig Montoya, Mark Webber, Jeff Loomis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Andrew Lincoln, Nas, Mike Ward, Ben Cohen, Carmen Kass, Danielle PeckAdam LambergJessica Brown Findlay, Logan Henderson, and Jesse James.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's have a look at where we will be going to on this Throwback Thursday post. about we go 35 years into the past to September 14, 1982?

Unfortunately, my personal tales to tell of this date are rather limited.  I was only a year old at the time.  In all likelihood, I was probably playing with my Fisher-Price mobile while Dad worked and Mom watched her soap operas on television.  Her favourite was "As The World Turns".

And I can only imagine that the show might have been pre-empted when the word broke out about this person's sudden demise.  It really was quite a shock to the world, not just for who died, but how she died.

The tale takes place a day earlier, on September 13, 1982.  It was a typical day for this mother and daughter pair.  The mother, still a ravishing beauty at the age of 52, was the quintessential package of grace (pardon the pun) and class.  Her then 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, was the beauty of her mother's eye - a woman who would later go on to become a pop star in addition to her royal title.

It had been years since Princess Grace of Monaco (also known as Grace Kelly) walked away from her Hollywood career to become the wife of Monaco's Prince Rainier, but at that time, she was considering making a brief film comeback.  She had acted in a 33-minute long independent film entitled "Rearranged" with her husband three years earlier, and after it was screened in Monaco, ABC was interested in airing the film - though it had to be at least an hour in length to make it worth their while.  It was rumoured that Princess Grace was going to approve of the deal and film some more footage that year.

Sadly, it never came to be.

While she and her daughter Stephanie were driving down a steep road on the way back to the palace in Monaco from their country home in Roc Agel, Grace lost control of the 1971 Rover P6 3500 and the car plummeted down the side of the mountain cliff (which was 120 feet tall).  Miraculously, Stephanie managed to survive the accident with some minor injuries (a fracture on her vertebra and a mild concussion).  Princess Grace was not nearly so fortunate.  She had injuries to her thorax, a fractured femur, and a severe head injury that caused severe brain damage.  After doctors told Prince Rainier that there was nothing that could be done, he made the difficult decision to pull his wife off of life support.

Princess Grace of Monaco was pronounced dead on September 14, 1982 at 10:55pm.  She left behind her husband, Princess Stephanie, and two other children, Princess Caroline, and Prince Albert.

Though the brain damage was what ultimately killed her, it is speculated that the reason why the car veered off the road was because she had suffered a stroke behind the wheel of the car and lost control.  Stephanie, to her credit, did what she could to steer the car to safety, but to no avail.

It was really a tragic end to a beautiful star.

I still remember the first time I watched Grace Kelly in a feature film.  It was about eighteen years after she died, and I was taking a film studies class in college.  One of the films we watched was the movie "Rear Window" directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  The film starred James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and was about a man who was confined to a wheelchair and watched in horror as he believed that a man who lived across from him was a murderer.  

I have to admit that it was one of my favourite films that we watched in that class, and part of the reason was that my gaze was firmly fixed on Lisa, played by Kelly.  She was, quite honestly, one of the most beautiful women that I had ever seen on film.  Her radiance made the entire film glow, and even though the film was meant to be a horror film, Grace Kelly was the type of actress that could never look bad.  She had great fashion sense, she was definitely the belle of the ball, and she had instant chemistry with almost everybody she worked with, in particular with Stewart.  On the day of Princess Grace's funeral, September 18, 1982, Stewart read a eulogy for her, which included the following...

"You know, I just love Grace Kelly.  Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I had ever met.  Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own.  No question, I'll miss her.  We'll all miss her.  God bless you, Princess Grace."

I should also note that she didn't just shine in "Rear Window".  She was also featured in two more Hitchcock films - "Dial M for Murder" and "To Catch a Thief" (both highly recommended).  She was also featured in the film "The Country Girl", for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

And while she didn't do any acting jobs during her reign as Princess of Monaco (aside from the 1979 project she did with her husband), she took on a life of philanthropy, founding AMADE Mondiale, The Princess Grace Foundation, and hosted an annual Christmas party for local orphans.

And, here's one more bit of eerie trivia - one of the mourners who attended Princess Grace's funeral was a newly crowned princess herself - Diana, Princess of Wales.  You could say that Grace and Diana were two princesses cut from the same cloth...even right up to their deaths, as we all know that both died in car accidents.  

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