The ultimate biography of this ever-popular star and icon, from a young Cambridge don who has already made his name with a much praised biography of Marilyn Monroe.
Please note that this edition is text only and does not include illustrations.
Cary Grant made men seem like a good idea. Tall, dark and handsome with a rare gift for light comedy, he played a leading man who liked to be led, a man of the world who was a man of the people. Cary Grant was Hollywood’s quintessential democratic gentleman. Born in England as Archie Leach, made famous in America as Cary Grant, he was a star for more than 30 years, in more than 70 movies, his popularity still intact when he brought his career to a close. He was never replaced: nobody else talked like that, looked like that, behaved like that. He was a class apart. Cary Grant never explained how he came to play ‘Cary Grant’ so well. ‘Nobody is every truthful about his own life,’ he said. ‘There are always ambiguities.’ This book explores the ambiguities in the life and work of Cary Grant: a working class Englishman who portrayed a well-bred American; the playful entertainer who became a powerful businessman; the intimate stranger who was often the seduced male. Thorough and meticulously researched, this book is a dazzling and entertaining account of Cary Grant’s broad and enduring appeal.
About the author
Graham McCann is professor of social and political science at King’s College, Cambridge. His previous books include: MARILYN MONROE: The Body in the Library (1988); WOODY ALLEN: New Yorker (1990); REBEL MALES: Clift, Brando & Dean, and a recent study of Theodore Adorno for Blackwells.
McCann, an instructor at King's College, Cambridge, and the author of previous film books (Woody Allen: New Yorker and Rebel Males: Clint, Brando, and Dean) opens with a disturbing event in his subject's youth. In 1913, when Archibald Alexander Leach was nine, he came home from school one day to be told his mother had gone away for a short holiday. The truth was that his father had put Elsie Leach in a mental institution. Only after his father's 1935 death, did he learn his mother was alive, and the two were reunited. But by that time Archie Leach was Cary Grant, a Hollywood celebrity who had already made the first 20 of his 72 feature films. His screen presence was so Olympian that when he died in 1986, the New York Times wrote, "Cary Grant was not supposed to die." More than a dozen previous books about the actor are available, but McCann's well-researched addition is particularly valuable for its careful investigation of old canards. Dispelling myths, analyzing comedy techniques and rehashing anecdotes, the author sweeps through all corners of the actor's life-therapy, LSD use, the failure of several marriages, "yet to be proven" activities as a WWII spy on behalf of England and persistent rumors of homosexuality. Still, the book's outstanding centerpiece is "Inventing Cary Grant," in which McCann investigates the accents, role models, fashion choices and acting styles which led Leach to cultivate and polish his chosen persona. First serial to the Boston Globe. Photos.