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8 Memorable Moments Through 60 years of The Monte-Carlo TV Festival

The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is famously known for handing out the prestigious Golden Nymph Award and recognizing the most successful television programs worldwide. As the longest-running TV festival in the world, this year it will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Established by HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1961 to "encourage a new art form, in the service of peace and understanding between people," the Festival occurs every June at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco and is now under the Honorary Presidency of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. The "Golden Nymph," a copy of a statuette of the Nymph Salmacis by artist François-Joseph Bosio, is awarded to the best TV Programs and Actors and is considered one of the highest achievements in international television. Princess Grace of Monaco regularly attended the Festival, celebrating artists' works, who have also honored Grace Kelly & The Princess Grace Foundation-USA through its 60 years. Here, we look back at memorable moments over the past six decades of the Festival.

1961: Sir Laurence Olivier wins The Golden Nymph Award for Best Actor for his performance in the Television Film The Moon and Six Pence

Sir Laurence Olivier is considered one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century and won the first-ever Golden Nymph for Best Actor at the First Edition of the Monte-Carlo TV Festival for his performance in The Moon and Six Pence. The film is an adaptation of the novel by Somerset Maugham about an Englishman who deserts his family to become a painter in the South Seas. Through Sir Laurence Olivier's decorated career, he worked with master of suspense director Alfred Hitchcock in Rebecca, with whom Grace Kelly notably starred in three of his classic thrillers. Today, The London National Theater has dedicated one of its largest auditoriums to the late actor and the Society of London Theater presents an annual award in his name.

1966: Lynn Fontanne wins The Golden Nymph Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Television Film The Magnificent Yankee

In addition to Lynn Fontanne's Golden Nymph Award win, she and her husband Alfred Lunt won an Emmy Award for their performances in The Magnificent Yankee, making them the first married couple to win the award for playing a married couple. The television film is an adaptation of the 1946 play of the same name by Emmet Lavery. As one of the greatest acting teams in American Theater history, the Lunt-Fontanne Theater is named after the duo, and The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program is a groundbreaking national program created in their honor to serve American Theater.

1979: Cicely Tyson wins The Golden Nymph Award for Best Fiction Program Actress for her performance in the Television Mini-Series A Woman Named Moses

Cicely Tyson is remembered for portraying many strong characters through her accomplished film, television, and theater career, including Harriet Tubman in A Woman Named Moses. In 2013, she received the Prince Rainier III Award, an award which "recognizes celebrated artists whose own outstanding artistic excellence is combined with their dedication to giving back to their communities."

"I was privileged to meet and work with the two-time Princess Grace Awardee, Michael Wilson, on my recent return to the Broadway stage after a thirty-year absence, in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful. I can say it was his exceptional brilliance as a director that gave me the confidence to give all I could as a performer, and I am honored to be in his company along with the esteemed college of past honorees in accepting the Prince Rainier III Award," Tyson shared at the ceremony.

1993: Sinatra wins The Silver Nymph Award for Best Mini-Series

Developed by his youngest daughter Tina Sinatra, Sinatra is a biographical drama miniseries about the iconic singer Frank Sinatra. Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra starred together in the hit musical comedy High Society, and their relationship grew to be more than costars, but lifelong friends.

2004 and 2009: Mad Men sweep Golden Nymph Awards for Drama TV Series

The acclaimed television show Mad Men swept the Drama TV Series category at the Festival in 2004 and 2009, winning Best International Producer, Outstanding Actor (Jon Hamm), and Outstanding Actress (Christina Hendricks). The series is set in Manhattan in the 1960s and entails the drama of one of the city's most prestigious advertising agencies. Notably known for showcasing glamorous and classic costumes, it is no surprise that Grace Kelly was a reference. "Costume designer Janie Bryant was heavily influenced by Grace Kelly's style for Betty's early looks, and this dress exemplifies the Princess Grace femininity: nip-waisted floral silk with an ice-blue ruched taffeta sash and green jewels."

2014: Top Of The Lake sweeps Golden Nymph Awards for Mini-Series

The mystery drama Top of the Lake follows Detective Robin Griffith (Elisabeth Moss) as she investigates the disappearance of a young girl in New Zealand. The show took home Golden Nymphs for every award given in the Mini-Series category, including Best Mini-Series, Outstanding Actress (Elisabeth Moss), and Outstanding Actor (Peter Mullan). Golden Nymph winner Elisabeth Moss executive produced the dance documentary Ballet Now, which features 2013 Princess Grace Statue Award Winner Tiler Peck as she curates The Los Angeles Music Center's BalletNOW program.

2019: Patricia Arquette wins Outstanding Actress in a Long Fiction Program for her performance in Escape at Dannemora

Patricia Arquette portrays Joyce Mitchell in the television series Escape at Dannemora, based on Dannemora's real-life prison break story of 2015. She won a Golden Nymph for her performance and dedicated her award to Princess Grace of Monaco, quoting, "To the great spirit of an incredible actress and one of the great beauties on Earth, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace, who has always been an inspiration to me and to many actresses."

2019: The Princess Grace Foundation hosts SpongeBob SquarePants Family Day

In 2019, The Princess Grace Foundation and The Monte Carlo TV Festival teamed up with Nickelodeon to create the Festival's first-ever Family Day! The 2019 Family Day celebrated the late Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob Squarepants and Princess Grace Award winner. In 2002, Stephen won the Foundation's highest honor, the Princess Grace Statue Award. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the show, all children of the principality were invited to join the themed event. Prince Albert II of Monaco expressed, "The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is a valuable international launching pad for new and exciting television projects and the artists who create them, and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA supports emerging artists in my Mother's memory, so there is an organic connection and the opportunity for significant synergy between them."

SpongeBob SquarePants Family Day at The Monte-Carlo TV Festival

The 60th Edition of The Monte-Carlo Television Festival will commence on June 18th and take place through June 22nd, when the Golden Nymph Award winners are announced. Twenty-seven programs from 14 countries are nominated and competing for the prestigious award. “The number of programs participating in the competition shows the ever-growing interest of productions and talent to claim this trophy, a timeless symbol of internationally recognized quality,” says Laurent Puons, CEO of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.

Through 60 years of the Festival, television programs worldwide have been recognized for their excellence in honor of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco’s dedication to the arts. This milestone celebrates the long-standing impact of their initiative.


Credits: Grace & Family, British Film Institute, Ten Chimneys Foundation, Getty Images, Princess Grace Foundation, Courtesy of Warner Brothers, IMDb, Jane Campion, The Hollywood Reporter, Monte-Carlo TV Festival



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Prince Albert II officially unveiled the portrait by renowned Brazilian artist Marcos Marin.


The Wall Street Journal takes a closer look at the legendary Manhattan boarding house, where Grace Kelly lived before she graced the silver screen.

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