Grimes' parents, Mr. and Mrs. La Van Grimes, were teachers in Kansas City, Missouri. Her mother pushed her into acting, but her acting career declined with her mother's health. The latter died from illness when Grimes was 14, and she lost her father from a car crash a year later. A court ruling sent her from Hollywood to Osceola, Missouri, where she lived in what she called a "bad home" with her aunt and uncle. She went to college in Warrensburg, Missouri at the University of Central Missouri, married, raised children, and became a medical technologist.