Kathryn Grayson

A leading lady who lent her voice to classic Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and '50s, Kathryn Grayson was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Feb. 9, 1922. She trained as an operatic soprano and was discovered while performing on the radio by MGM talent scouts, who swiftly signed her as a contract player.

Grayson is best known for her portrayals of the love-struck Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat (1951) and the tempestuous Lilli Vanessi in Kiss Me Kate (1953), starring opposite big-screen baritone Howard Keel on both occasions. She also appeared in Anchors Aweigh (1945), singing and dancing with co-stars Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.

Later in her career, when movie musicals had largely fallen out of favor, Grayson took to the stage in productions of "La Bohème" and "Madama Butterfly," among other operas, and appeared on "Murder, She Wrote." She died Feb. 17, 2010, just after her 88th birthday.