A LIFE staffer from 1947 until the late 1960s, photographer Allan Grant covered the entertainment world from the inside. His unique blend of cool appraisal and obvious affection for (most) of his subjects went a long way toward making the stars seem just as quirky and approachable as the rest of us mortals.
Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait backstage at the RKO Pantages Theatre during the 28th Annual Academy Awards, 1956.
Audrey Hepburn, 1956.
Senator Richard Nixon on the roof of his home in Los Angeles, trying to douse fires caused by a brush blaze, 1961.
Dean Martin reads lines with Shirley MacLaine, 1958.
Dean Martin relaxes with his sons at home, 1958.
Angie Dickinson on set of Rio Bravo, 1958.
Kirk Douglas, 1949.
Groucho Marx in rehearsal, 1960.
Chico and Harpo Marx, 1959.
Harpo Marx, 1948.
George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen, 1958.
Paul Newman having make-up removed on the set of The Battler (TV play), 1955.
Buster Keaton and Donald O’Connor rehearse for a movie based on Keaton’s life, 1956.
Cecil B. DeMille, Billy Wilder and Gloria Swanson during the filming of Sunset Boulevard, 1949.
James Dean on location for the movie Giant, 1956.
Bob Hope, 1962.
Elizabeth Taylor at a party after winning the Oscar for her performance in BUtterfield 8, 1961.
Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty at the Academy Awards, 1962.
Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly backstage at the RKO Pantages Theatre during the 28th Annual Academy Awards, 1956.
Dorothy Dandridge at home, 1954.
Dizzy Gillespie during a jam session, 1948.
Bob Hope (right) and Frank Sinatra rehearse for The Bob Hope Show, 1962.
Sammy Davis Sr., Sammy Davis Jr. and Will Mastin on stage at Ciro’s in West Hollywood, 1955.
Bobby Darin in his dressing room, 1959.
Ella Fitzgerald, 1958.
Actress-model Suzy Parker, 1957.
Edith Piaf caught in a montage of expressions and gestures while singing during her performance at New York’s Versailles nightclub, 1952.
Shelley Winters in a booth with mirrors, 1949.
Marcel Duchamp with Dada artwork, 1953.
(Photos by Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)