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May 21, 2023

The Shimmy Queen: 30 Stunning Portraits of Gilda Gray From the 1920s

Born 1901 Marianna Michalska as in Kraków, Polish-American dancer and actress Gilda Gray popularized a dance called the “shimmy” which became fashionable in 1920s films and theater productions. In 1928, she went to England to star in Piccadilly, a 1929 silent film written for her by Arnold Bennett that appeared in the United States with added sound and effects.

During World War II, Gray worked for Poland including raising money. In 1953, Ralph Edwards did her life story on the television show This Is Your Life. He portrayed her courage in bringing six Polish citizens to America during the Cold War era. Gray also subsidized their education. She was decorated by Poland “for her interest and help to her countrymen and her country”.

Gray died in 1959 of an apparent heart attack at the home of friends in Hollywood, aged 58. Take a look at these stunning photos to see the beauty of young Gilda Gray in the 1920s.


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