Betty Grable was an American actress, dancer, singer, and famous pinup girl whose bathing-suit poster was an icon of the World War II era. Beginnings Ruth Elizabeth Grable was born on December 18, 1916, in Saint Louis, Missouri, to John C. Grable and Lillian Hoffman. Her father was a successful grain broker; her mother coaxed Betty into dancing and vaudeville at an early age. When Betty was 13 years old, her mother took her to Hollywood. Lillian lied about Betty’s age, and she snagged a part in the 1929 film Happy Days. In 1934, Betty signed a five-year contact with RKO pictures. She worked for most of the major studios in the 1930s. The young actress married Jackie Coogan, another child actor, in 1937; however, they divorced in 1940, the year after she signed with Twentieth Century Fox. Betty became the studio`s top star throughout the decade, with such splashy technicolor films as Down Argentine Way, and Pinup Girl. As famous as Mona Lisa? Grable posed for a pinup photo that was destined to become escapist fare among GIs fighting overseas in World War II. The fetching pose matured into one of the permanent images of the war. Despite competition from Dorothy Lamour, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner, Grable was indisputably the number-one pinup girl for the GI. In 1943, Grable married Jazz trumpeter and big-band leader, Harry James. They had two children, but divorced in 1965. In 1947, the U.S. Treasury Department noted that she was the highest-paid star, earning about $300,000 a year. In the late 1940s, 20th Century-Fox insured Grable`s legs with Lloyds of London for $1 million. She remained popular until the mid-`50s, when musicals declined. The veteran actress appeared in her last film, ironically titled How to be Very, Very Popular, in 1955. Grable moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. She continued her career with television and nightclub appearances in the 1950s, and the stage in the early 1960s. Latter days Grable led a starstruck life, but it was not rife with scandal like numerous other careers. She cared about her family; her family life meant more to her than stardom, but she was a star nonetheless. Betty Grable died of lung cancer on July 2, 1973, at the age of 56, and was buried in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.