Greer Garson (or Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson Fogelson as she was christened) was a huge 1940s movie star who has rather faded from public memory. She was one of MGM’s biggest stars and also one of the biggest box-office draws during the mid 1940s. She also received an impressive 7 Oscar nominations!
She was born in Essex (reem!) in England where she did some stage acting and very early TV roles before being signed to MGM in 1937. Her first film was Goodbye, Mr. Chips with the debonair Robert Donat (from Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps) for which she received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Interestingly the next role she was up for was that of Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, which of course went to the tenacious Vivien Leigh in the end. Leigh won the Oscar for Best Actress that year for her role as Scarlett O’Hara beating Greer.
The early 1940s were very successful years for her. She was nominated for Academy Awards consecutively from 1941-1945 (for When Ladies Meet (1941), Mrs Miniver (1942), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs Parkington (1944) and The Valley of Decision (1945). Despite such numerous nominations she sadly only won one: the oscar for Best Actress for her role in Mrs Miniver.
Her two main on-screen partnerships were with Walter Pidgeon and then with Clark Gable (lucky her – apart from his bad breath!). She was married three times: to Edward Alec Abbot Snelson (a British civil servant), then to actor Richard Ney (who played her son in the aclaimed Mrs Miniver, and then to Texas millionaire oil baron E.E. “Buddy” Fogelson.