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Greer Garson

Biography | Filmography | Awards | Article | Bibliography | Downloads | Links | Image Credits | MRS. MINIVER

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Garson and Pat Barker in BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST

A still with little Tony (played by "Pat" Barker -- who was actually a little girl named Patricia Barker) in Mervyn LeRoy's BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST (1941), the true story of a woman from Wisconsin who moves to Texas with her husband and founds an orphanage after she loses her own child.

BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST was Garson's first film with Canadian leading man Walter Pidgeon, with whom she would go on to appear in eight more films at MGM, and her portrayal of Edna Gladney earned her a second Best Actress nomination. The film, shot in Technicolor and taking full advantage of Garson's red hair and radiant good looks, was itself nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture. But more than that, it's a compelling story that avoids becoming the kind of plotless, sequence-of-episodes biopic that often results when Hollywood tries to tell a true story.

Memorable Quotations:

  • "I'm sorry I wasn't in any danger." --as Katherine Ellis in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS.
  • "It must be tremendously interesting to be a schoolmaster... to watch boys grow up and help them along; to see their characters develop and what they become when they leave school and the world gets hold of them.  I don't see how you could ever get old in a world that's always young." --as Katherine Ellis in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS.
  • "Never be afraid, Chips, that you can't do anything you've made up your mind to.  As long as you believe in yourself, you can go as far as you dream." --as Katherine Ellis in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS.
  • "Why is England cursed with so many more women than men?" --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "I'm afraid that the honor of standing up with you, Mr. Darcy, is more than I can bear.  Pray, excuse me." --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "Oh, if you want to be really refined, you have to be dead.  There's no one as dignified as a mummy." --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "How clever of you, Miss Bingley, to know something of which you are ignorant." --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "Do you expect me to thank you for this extraordinary offer of marriage?" --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "Honesty is a greatly overrated virtue." --as Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
  • "Tell me. Do I look like a hussy?" --as Edna Gladney in BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST.
  • "There are no illegitimate babies -- only illegitimate parents." --as Edna Gladney in BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST.
  • "I've discovered it doesn't pay to be capable.  Husbands don't approve." --as Claire Woodruff in WHEN LADIES MEET.
  • "My vibrations have been a little on the subdued side of late." --as Claire Woodruff in WHEN LADIES MEET.
  • "Oh, Smithy. You're ruining my makeup." --as Paula Ridgeway in RANDOM HARVEST.
  • "It's the end of the world -- lonely and lovely." --as Paula Ridgeway in RANDOM HARVEST.
  • "Smithy, do I always have to take the initiative? You're supposed to kiss me." --as Paula Ridgeway in RANDOM HARVEST.
  • "No one of us can do much, yet each of us, perhaps, can catch some gleam of knowledge which, modest and insufficient of itself, may add to man's dream of truth.  It is by these small candles in our darkness that we see before us, little by little, the dim outlines of that great plane which shapes the universe.  And I am among those who think that for this reason science has great beauty and with its great spiritual strength, will, in time, cleanse this world of its evils: its ignorance, its poverty, diseases, wars and heartaches." --as Marie Curie in MADAME CURIE.
Garson with Spring Byington and Joan Crawford in WHEN LADIES MEET

Garson with Spring Byington and Joan Crawford in a still from WHEN LADIES MEET (1941), a triangular romantic comedy which obviously misses its mark but manages a few worthwhile moments thanks to Garson's performance.  Crawford stars as a novelist who falls in love with her publisher (played by Herbert Marshall), and Robert Taylor co-stars as her suitor who tries to break the relationship up.  Garson received star billing behind Crawford and Taylor and garnered most of the film's few accolades for her compelling performance as the publisher's neglected wife who unintentionally confronts the 'other woman'. Unfortunately, the film was supposed to be a comedy, and Garson's heartfelt performance was not enough to rescue it.

MRS. MINIVER

"I think it's lovely having flowers named after you." --Mrs. Miniver.

A poster from MRS. MINIVER, the Oscar- winning Best Picture of 1942, Garson's second film with Walter Pidgeon and also featuring a host of quality supporting performances from the likes of Teresa Wright, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Henry Travers and Henry Wilcoxon. Garson won her only Oscar for her portrayal of the title character in William Wyler's patriotic  World War II homefront film about an English family sticking it out during the Blitz. It was enormously popular and became one of the United States' biggest box-office successes of the 1940s, carrying Garson to superstardom along with it.  Mrs. Miniver remains her most famous role.

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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