Grace McDonald Poster


Between 1942 and 1945 there was a pert, sweet-faced "B"-level cutie who knew how to swing with the best of them at Universal. The beautiful dancer/singer might have gone on to better things but ended her career abruptly for marriage and never looked back. Grace McDonald, who was born in New York City on June 15, 1918, struck out into the local vaudeville scene at a young age with her equally talented brother, Ray McDonald. As a brother-sister dance team similar to the Astaires, their specialty proved to be tap. The twosome made it to Broadway with the hit musical "Babes in Arms" and stole part of the show with their version of "I Wish I Were in Love Again." This gave them a one-way ticket to Hollywood, where Ray got picked up by MGM and Grace by Paramount. Her first film, Dancing on a Dime (1940), stumbled a bit and she didn't make another film for two years when Universal decided to sign her up. Though her musicals were obviously hep and had lots of pep, they were pretty much assembly-line productions intended to boost the morale of a war-weary nation. The titles certainly said it all -- Give Out, Sisters (1942), Behind the Eight Ball (1942), How's About It? (1943) and Hat Check Honey (1944). She also appeared frequently in vehicles designed for The Andrews Sisters. Grace was game for straight acting parts as well, playing opposite Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the comedy It Ain't Hay (1943), and also appearing in the dramas Murder in the Blue Room (1944) and Destiny (1944). After making Honeymoon Ahead (1945), Grace fell in love with a Marine and retired to be his wife. Not much was heard of her until her death of double pneumonia on October 30, 1999. Although just a sliver of a memory in the Hollywood annals, Grace was a game trooper and added a little kick to life when it was certainly needed.