PERFORMING ARTS

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise

­­­S. & S. Oct. 2020. 576p. ISBN 9781501192111. $35. FILM
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Cary Grant (1904–86) was perhaps the epitome of what we’ve come to call a movie star. Rising from humble beginnings, he was adored by women, envied by men, and respected by his peers for his agile wit and on-screen presence. Yet Grant often said he was just a man named Archie Leach and that the role of Cary Grant was merely another performance. Eyman’s (Hank and Jim) engaging, thorough biography explores this lifelong performance, covering his subject’s five marriages, his relationships with playwright Clifford Odets and directors Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock, and his innate insecurity, which was famously aided by LSD therapy in the late 1950s. And unlike Marc Eliot’s Cary Grant, which devoted much space to speculating on Grant’s possible bisexuality, Eyman presents the facts of Grant’s professional and personal life in a detailed yet conversational tone, neither shying from his relationships with men nor exploiting them for unnecessary gossip.
VERDICT Combining existing research with voluminous new interviews and access to Grant’s personal papers, this is an informative and entertaining biography of a legendary actor.

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