26 Facts About Gracie Allen


Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen was an American vaudevillian, singer, actress, and comedian who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns, her straight man, appearing with him on radio, television and film as the duo Burns and Allen.

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Gracie Allen made her first appearance on stage at age three, and was given her first role on the radio by Eddie Cantor.

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Gracie Allen graduated from Star of the Sea Convent School in 1914, and during that time became a talented dancer.

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Gracie Allen soon began performing Irish folk dances with her three sisters, who were billed as "The Four Colleens".

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In 1909, Gracie Allen joined her sister, Bessie, as a vaudeville performer.

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Gracie Allen was born with heterochromia, giving her two different color eyes; one blue and one green.

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Presumably the most reliable information comes from US Census data collected on June 1,1900 that shows Grace Gracie Allen, age four was born on in July 1895, and along with her parents and five siblings.

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Burns and Gracie Allen act began with Gracie Allen as the straight man, setting up Burns to deliver the punchlines and receive the laughs.

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The reformulated team, focusing on Gracie Allen, toured the country, eventually headlining in major vaudeville houses.

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In 1940, Gracie Allen announced that she was running for president of the United States on the Surprise Party ticket.

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Burns and Gracie Allen embarked on a cross-country whistle-stop campaign tour on a private train, performing their live radio show in various cities.

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The Burns and Gracie Allen staff hired a composer to write the "Concerto for Index Finger", a joke piece in which the orchestra would play madly, only to pause while Gracie Allen played a one-finger scale with a final incorrect note.

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Burns and Gracie Allen appeared in three out of the four Big Broadcast ensemble comedies including The Big Broadcast with Bing Crosby, The Big Broadcast of 1936 with Crosby, and The Big Broadcast of 1937 with Jack Benny.

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In 1937, Burns and Gracie Allen starred with Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress, a musical with an original score by George Gershwin that introduced the song "A Foggy Day".

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Gracie Allen felt the script needed more comic relief to enhance the overall appeal of the film.

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Burns and Gracie Allen had each worked in vaudeville as dancers before forming their act, and when word of the project reached them, they called Astaire and he asked them to audition.

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Burns and Gracie Allen matched Astaire step-by-step in the film's demandingly epic dance sequence in a funhouse including amazing visuals with distorted mirrors.

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Unusually, Burns and Gracie Allen performed separately through most of the film until the end, with Gracie Allen singing and dancing the energetic titular song with Powell at one point while Burns is off-screen.

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Gracie Allen made her last movie appearance in a musical cameo as an amusing concert pianist in Two Girls and a Sailor, without Burns, but remained in radio and would segue into series television with her husband six years later.

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Gracie Allen retired in 1958, and Burns tried to continue without her.

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Gracie Allen retired in 1958 for health reasons; Burns repeatedly noted that she had continued with the television show as long as she did in order to please him, in spite of her health problems.

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Gracie Allen, who had a history of heart disease, died from a heart attack in Hollywood on August 27,1964 at age 62.

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Gracie Allen's remains were interred in a crypt at the Freedom Mausoleum in the Sanctuary of Heritage at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

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Gracie Allen Award is presented by the Alliance for Women in Media to recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in radio, television, cable and web-based media, including news, drama, comedy, commercials, public service, documentary and sports.

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Gracie Allen has twice been nominated to the National Women's Hall of Fame, though she has not been inducted.

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Gracie Allen has been honored by James L Brooks, who named Gracie Films after her.

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