It was a cruel irony of "It's a Wonderful Life": The actress who played Zuzu, the 6-year-old girl whose flower petals symbolized the triumph of love over despair, ended up living a real life of heartbreak -- enduring more pain and loss than most.
But Karolyn Grimes, now 74, looks back and sees meaning in her journey, which in many ways started on the set of Frank Capra's beloved 1946 holiday movie, People reports.
"It's all in how you look at your life, because no one has a wonderful life. But you can make it what you want it to be," Grimes tells Seattle's KOMO-TV.
Grimes endured pain beginning as a child. Both of her parents died by the time she was 15. Married young, she soon divorced, and her ex-husband died in a hunting accident. Her second husband died of cancer. And most difficult of all, her son committed suicide at 18.
"He was a good kid," Grimes says today, admitting the guilt never really went away. "I chose to face it. Feel it. And release it," she says. "I did the best I could."
Grimes says the optimistic message of "It's a Wonderful Life," which she helps to spread through personal appearances, resonates because it acknowledges life's hardships. And in a way, the role she played as a child turned out to be the most meaningful of her life.
"It has put me on a path," she says. "I am no longer Karolyn, so much as I really am Zuzu."
The best part for Karolyn is the mail she gets from fans. "The letters I get are just incredible," she says. "They love the movie, they thank me for being in the movie. What a great gift I've been given. And I don't take it for granted, I really don't."
We all love Jennifer Lawrence's dishy oversharing. And we especially love it when her stories involve Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson.
As you might recall, "The Shining" star, 76, sweetly stunned the newly minted Oscar winner, 23, earlier this year while she was talking to "Good Morning America" last spring, People reports.
And now we learn their interaction didn't end there.
"He sent me flowers and a bottle of Cristal and a note that said, 'Missing you already,' " she shared on "GMA" this week, before quickly interjecting, "Not to brag."
Then, in classic JLaw style, she immediately seemed to regret what she said -- sort of.
"I should have probably kept that a secret so it could just be between me and Jack," she said, providing an inflection to his name that pretended they are BFFs. (In reality, she admits they haven't actually spoken since the Oscars.)
Nicholson isn't the only A-lister who seems tickled by Lawrence's quirky sweetness. Julia Roberts also weighed in on the "American Hustle" star, telling MTV News last month that she's too cool to be America's Sweetheart.
When "GMA" told Lawrence about Roberts' comments, she responded, "Wow, that's so cool," before saying dreamily, "Julia Roberts talked about me!"
Tuesday Lawrence edged out Miley Cyrus by one vote in The Associated Press' annual survey of its newspaper and broadcast members and subscribers for Entertainer of the Year.
One man in particular has faith in suspended "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson -- the minister at his church and friend of more than 35 years, Mike Kellett.
Despite the controversy, Robertson "is doing great," the senior minister at White's Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, La., tells People. "There's great support and encouragement from folks at the church and churches all over the country. We've received hundreds and hundreds, probably even thousands of emails and phone calls just voicing support or encouragement."
It's been nearly a week since news broke of Robertson's suspension from the A&E show for voicing his controversial views on homosexuality in an interview.
But Kellett says Robertson, 67, "is a good person" and was a good person long before the cameras began rolling.
"He had a good, strong faith and character before TV was ever a part of their lives, and he'll have a good, strong faith and character far after the days of TV are over," says Kellett.
Asked about Robertson's antigay remarks in relationship to his faith, Kellett says: the doors to his church are always open to anyone.
"We welcome everybody. Regardless of what it is a person struggles with, we're going to teach them the good news about Jesus and what he's done for us. That's the same thing Phil has expressed all along," says Kellett, adding that the church does not advocate "the lifestyle of practicing homosexuality. But everybody is welcome here."
Debbie Allen has received a nice Christmas present -- the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award, The Associated Press reports.
The ticket discounter has declared the award-winning director and choreographer's school the winner of the seventh annual contest that crowns the best version of "The Nutcracker" in the land.
The Debbie Allen Dance Academy's show, "The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker," mounted earlier this month in Los Angeles, beat out nearly 60 other productions of "The Nutcracker." It's Allen's second time winning the award.
Her show begins when young Kara Johnson receives a nutcracker filled with hot chocolate, falls asleep and the nutcracker comes alive. Written and directed by the "Fame" star, the show stars Allen and Carlo Imperato and had an original score by Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen, James Ingram and Thump.
Voting for the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award is determined by Goldstar members who rate and review "The Nutcracker" productions they recently attended. Allen's academy, founded by Allen and husband Norman Nixon (former NBA and Duquesne University basketball player) in 2001, will also win a cash prize.