Best know for her roles in Goodbye, Mr Chips, and her Academy Award winning role in Mrs. Miniver.
The Miracle of Sound
The Valley of Decision
That Forsyte Woman
The Miniver Story
The Law and the Lady
Scandal at Scourie
Her Twelve Men
Strange Lady in Town
The Singing Nun
The Happiest Millionaire
Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was born on September 29, 1904. She was educated at King’s College London, where she earned degrees in French and 18th-century literature, and at the University of Grenoble in France at a time when few actors had university degrees. She had intended to become a teacher, but instead began working with an advertising agency, and appeared in local theatrical productions.
Louis B. Mayer discovered Garson while he was in London looking for new talent. Garson was signed to a contract with MGM in late 1937, but did not begin work on her first film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, until late 1938. She received her first Oscar nomination for the role, but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind. She received critical acclaim the next year for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1940 film, Pride and Prejudice.
Garson starred with Joan Crawford in When Ladies Meet in 1941, and that same year became a major box-office star with the sentimental Technicolor drama, Blossoms in the Dust, which brought her the first of five consecutive Best Actress Oscar nominations, tying Bette Davis‘ 1938–42 record, which still stands.
Garson won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1942 for her role as a strong British wife and mother in the middle of World War II in Mrs. Miniver. (Guinness Book of World Records credits her with the longest Oscar acceptance speech, at five minutes and 30 seconds, after which the Academy Awards instituted a time limit.)
In 1942, Garson also co-starred in the powerful, dramatic film Random Harvest with Academy Award winner Ronald Colman. Set at the end of World War I with Ronald Colman as a shell-shocked, amnesiac soldier and Greer Garson as his love interest, Random Harvest received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It lost to Mrs. Miniver, and Garson won the Academy Award for that role. Colman was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Random Harvest, and Garson could not be nominated for her role in that movie because she was already nominated for her title role in Mrs. Miniver.
She was also nominated for Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), and The Valley of Decision (1945). Garson frequently costarred with Walter Pidgeon, ultimately making eight pictures with him: Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Madame Curie, Mrs. Parkington, Julia Misbehaves (1948), That Forsyte Woman (1949), The Miniver Story (1950), and Scandal at Scourie (1953).
She made only a few films after her MGM contract expired in 1954. In 1958, she received a warm reception on Broadway in Auntie Mame, replacing Rosalind Russell, who had gone to Hollywood to make the film version. In 1960, Garson received her seventh and final Oscar nomination for Sunrise at Campobello, in which she played Eleanor Roosevelt, this time losing to Elizabeth Taylor for BUtterfield 8.
She returned to MGM for a role in The Singing Nun (1966) starring Debbie Reynolds. Garson’s last film, in 1967, was Walt Disney’s The Happiest Millionaire, although she made infrequent television appearances afterwards. In 1968, she narrated the children’s television special The Little Drummer Boy. Her final role for television was in a 1982 episode of The Love Boat.
In her final years, Garson occupied a penthouse suite at the Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. She died there from heart failure on April 6, 1996, at the age of 91. She is interred beside her late husband in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas