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Extended Audio Sample Cary Grant: A Biography: A Biography Audiobook, by Marc Eliot Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.07 out of 53.07 out of 53.07 out of 53.07 out of 53.07 out of 5 3.07 (41 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marc Eliot Narrator: Marc Eliot Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2004 ISBN: 9781415917305
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“Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”—Cary Grant

He is Hollywood’s most fascinating and timeless star. Although he came to personify the debonair American, Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach on January 18, 1904, in the seaport village of Bristol, England. Combining the captivating beauty of silent-screen legend Rudolph Valentino with the masculine irresistibility of Clark Gable, Grant emerged as Hollywood’s quintessential leading man. Today, “the man from dream city,” as critic Pauline Kael once described him, remains forever young, an icon of quick wit, romantic charm, and urbane sophistication, the epitome of male physical perfection. Yet beneath this idealized movie image was a conflicted man struggling to balance fame with a desire for an intensely private life separate from the “Cary Grant” persona celebrated by directors and movie studios.

Exploring Grant’s troubled childhood, ambiguous sexuality, and lifelong insecurities as well as the magical amalgam of characteristics that allowed him to remain Hollywood’s favorite romantic lead for more than thirty-five years, Cary Grant is the definitive examination of every aspect of Grant’s professional and private life, and the first to reveal the man behind the movie star.

Working with the most talented directors of his time, Grant starred in an astonishing seventy-two films, ranging from his groundbreaking comedic roles in such classics as Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks) and The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor) to the darker, unforgettable characters of Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion and Notorious, culminating in the consummate sophisticates of An Affair to Remember (Leo McCarey), North by Northwest (Hitchcock), and Charade (Stanley Donen). The camera loved Grant, and his magnetism helped illuminate his leading ladies, some of the most glamorous women ever to grace the silver screen: Mae West, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, and Sophia Loren, among others. Yet, because of his pioneering role as an independent player, Grant was repeatedly denied the Oscar he coveted—a snub from the Academy that would last until 1970, when he graciously accepted a special lifetime achievement award.

Grant’s sparkling image on-screen hid a tumultuous personal life that he tried desperately to keep out of the public eye, including his controversial eleven-year relationship with Randolph Scott, five marriages, and numerous affairs.

Rigorously researched and elegantly written, Cary Grant: A Biography is a complete, nuanced portrait of the greatest Hollywood star in cinema history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Highly readable…Glimpses of the debonair leading man’s dark side are the most intriguing elements of this welcome biography.”

    People (3 stars)

  • “Eliot gives us a Grant we’ve never fully glimpsed before.”

    Vogue

  • “A fascinating and thorough portrait…Eliot does a good job of cracking the screen fantasy.”

    Esquire

  • “Keeping the actor’s astonishing career firmly in view, Eliot assembles a portrait that shows the dark shadows behind the gleaming facade, while also revealing Grant’s own shrewdness in maintaining that fictional persona.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] fascinating, sympathetic portrait.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Although numerous biographies of Grant have appeared, this legendary film icon continues to fascinate and perplex both biographers and readers, and this new treatment by the author of the acclaimed Walt Disney undoubtedly will garner popular attention…Grant still emerges as the ultimate charmer, possessing all the charisma, humor, and dramatic appeal of his legendary screen persona.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter Lyte | 2/16/2014

    " Enjoyably written trashy coverage of a true Hollywood star. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rainey | 2/10/2014

    " A candid review. Wonderful and telling. A window in to the life of an enigmatic man. I loved it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 anaisabel | 1/30/2014

    " trashy and informative. pairs well with a beach and a martini??? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kaethe | 1/28/2014

    " Unreadable. The author used "Episcopal" for "Anglican" twice in the same sentence. Also more Freud than I've seen since a sophomore-level English course. If I'm going to bother to read a biography, I do expect some minimum standards. It's a shame, really, because that is one of the cleverest and most appealing book covers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 1/27/2014

    " An enjoyable read. It helps if you're a fan of Cary Grant which I am. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Tackett | 1/20/2014

    " I've always loved him as an actor and enjoy biographys but very long and some parts I wasn't as thorough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 carla | 1/18/2014

    " excellent story about his life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evett DiBianco | 1/16/2014

    " Another favorite celebrity book - made me watch most of his movies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judy | 12/30/2013

    " I don't really know why I bothered to finish this showbiz biography, which is full of breathless speculation about Grant's love life and doesn't have nearly enough about the films. I still found it interesting as a fan of classic Hollywood... but was a bit disappointed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rayna | 11/24/2013

    " Was quite a read. Typical biography but the story of this actors life was intriging to say the least "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura Lee | 11/8/2013

    " Not great, and I love Old Hollywood. Seemed like author didn't even like Grant! Crummy photos. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 10/7/2013

    " Marc Eliot has all the makings for a great biography but isn't good at putting anything together. Nothing is revealed in this book...that is why people read biographies, is it not? I could have found out the whole book by reading IMDB. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracie | 9/25/2013

    " Don't read it. The poor man was pretty messed up. . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Desrosiers | 7/24/2013

    " A very illuminating and well-researched biography. Thumbs up especially for acknowledging his "bisexuality", and for the digression upon his "LSD therapy" in the early 60s. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Calvin | 5/14/2013

    " Full of all sorts of unsubstantiated speculation, some probably true. But just because can throw out the theory that Grant worked for Mae West as a Gigilo doesnt mean you should. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erik Kalm | 3/22/2013

    " Lots of great research ruined by the author pushing his not so hidden agenda. Torregrossa did it much, MUCH better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rosary | 2/27/2013

    " Eliot clearly had an argument he wanted to prove about Grant's sexuality, and that often got in the way of the story. It was okay to read, but I was often frustrated by Eliot's agenda. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz Meyers | 2/13/2013

    " I love reading about the lives of the 'old' stars if you will. Cary Grant certainly lived an odd and at the same time, exciting life! I've read several books on him and each one was just as fascinating the other. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 1/28/2013

    " Another beautifully written biography of an amazing actor, the life, career, ups and downs wonderfully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon | 1/27/2013

    " What a slimeball.. even though I love his movies, good book though "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barb | 1/3/2013

    " Engaging if you are interested in Old Hollywood - too gossipy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave Bc | 5/9/2012

    " Insightful and human peek at Cary grant from the perspective of dozens of those who knew and loved him. Not a gripping book but a pleasant read for anyone who enjoys biographies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Belinda | 4/7/2012

    " One of the better Cary Grant biographies because it includes actual references and is less sensational than others. Worth a read if you're interested in Cary Grant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 3/21/2012

    " I live Cary Grant. Thus book had great pictures. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle Jesky | 3/18/2012

    " Found out more than I really wanted about him, sort of burst my bubble a bit. I still adore him! =) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 babyhippoface | 2/11/2012

    " I love Cary Grant. I don't want to hear this kind of stuff about him! Eww! This book is one giant IMAGE-BUSTER. So I'm just going to go with "it's all a pack of lies," and keep loving him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luann | 6/20/2011

    " Cary Grant is my all-time favorite actor. This book was a little disappointing to me only because it touched on so many "negative" things in his life. I don't think it did enough to focus on his accomplishments and his triumph in life after a very disturbing and rough childhood. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barb | 4/11/2011

    " Engaging if you are interested in Old Hollywood - too gossipy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abigail | 2/3/2011

    " Fabulous biography. Really well written and researched. I loved it, great insight into the ultimate leading man. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nikki | 1/26/2011

    " A third of the way in. I think I just got to busy with life to finish it. Will some day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Calvin | 12/27/2010

    " Full of all sorts of unsubstantiated speculation, some probably true. But just because can throw out the theory that Grant worked for Mae West as a Gigilo doesnt mean you should. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 9/20/2010

    " Another beautifully written biography of an amazing actor, the life, career, ups and downs wonderfully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 6/4/2010

    " This was good, but I got bored with the in-depth descriptions of the movies. I understand some were relevant, but others were not.
    Overall, it was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/19/2010

    " What an interesting and incredible life, the book was great... Inspired me to rewatch Cary's movies and I found a few I hadn't ever seen! Even the kids liked them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 6/17/2009

    " Found out more than I really wanted about him, sort of burst my bubble a bit. I still adore him! =) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandon | 6/16/2009

    " Very interesting life. His life reads like a novel. Also, a must read for anyone that aspires to be as classy as Cary Grant. His biography is a showcase of old Hollywood; the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of it. Eliot does a great job. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 5/21/2009

    " A thorough examination of the classic movie star, sometimes too thorough. It could have focused more on movies and less on the personal demons and sexual escapades of the subject. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catherine | 3/11/2009

    " I enjoy Cary Grant and was looking forward to reading this story but I was disappointed. I just couldn't get into the book, especially since I was reading several at the same time. It just couldn't hold my interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 1/13/2009

    " Interesting look at the life of a cinema icon and the duality of the Archie Leach/Cary Grant personas. However, I wonder about the sources of information as nothing is cited within the work. I'd like to read another biography just to compare. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 1/12/2009

    " My favorite actor from yesteryear. A great insight into his real life! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Toni | 1/12/2009

    " While the story is interesting, the writing is poor and overly flowery at times, and the author makes so many mistakes in describing the plots of Grant's movies that one is left to wonder if he ever saw them! "

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About the Author

Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince, and American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. He writes for a number of publications and frequently speaks about film to universities, film groups, and on radio and television. He lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York.