the tender age of 4, Karolyn Grimes began memorizing lines and acting in the fantasy
world of cinema. She worked with film legends John Wayne, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Loretta
Young, Fred MacMurray, Betty Grable, Danny Kaye and, of course, Jimmy Stewart. She already
had appeared in four films when the part of Zuzu came along. It was just another small
part, but one that has made an indelible imprint on the American consciousness.
Karolyn's life has not always
been wonderful. In fact, tragedy beset her early and often. Her Hollywood career ended
in her teens when her mother died from early-onset Alzheimer's disease and her father
was killed in an automobile accident. An only child, Karolyn was sent by the court to
live in tiny Osceola, Mo. Living in a less than desirable home, she found support from
the townspeople, and, through their love and encouragement, Karolyn decided to get an
education and became a medical technician.
She eventually married and
had two little girls. The marriage ended in divorce, and two years later her girls' father
was killed in a hunting accident. Karolyn then married a man who had three children.
They had two more together, so Karolyn raised a family of seven children. Her youngest
child committed suicide at age 18, and Karolyn describes this time in her life as the
most devastating. As she climbed out of that despair, her husband of 25 years died from
pursuing one of her hobbies..Fishing on the Puget Sound.
At the time, the rebirth
of interest in "It's a Wonderful Life" had begun, and Karolyn soon found a new life's
focus. She moved to the Seattle area from Missouri and serves as the unofficial ambassador
for the film, traveling the world and speaking at screenings, benefits, conventions and
other venues. Her sparkling personality and her courageous story allows her audiences
to feel good about themselves and their lives, no matter the hardship.
here to read Thoughts, Stories and Essays by Karolyn Grimes.