Eyman is a master at unveiling the person behind the iconic disguise ... As in so much of his excellent work on Hollywood history, Eyman gives readers a real sense of who Cary Grant was ... Grant began to successfully confront his past...in 1958 ... Eyman covers these years with a frank tenderness, as Grant desperately sought a means to fully accept himself, including his failed relationships ... Eyman has constructed a definitive biography of the Hollywood legend ... this fine biography gets us as close as we have ever been to seeing Grant whole.
Mr. Eyman supplies what feels like the 'true gen'—the real lowdown—on the directors, producers and studio heads with whom Cary Grant worked. He is up on the complex, even arcane, manipulations of Hollywood finance and is able to explain them lucidly. He knows not only where the bodies are buried but also who buried them. He also has a fine ear for gossip.
In the most entertaining and enlightening star biography in years, writer Scott Eyman poignantly notes the realities behind Grant’s remarkable subterfuge while exploring his phenomenal career ... A research-driven and insightful biographer, Eyman surrounds his deep dig into Grant’s personal life with fan-pleasing details of movie productions, vignettes of the wonderful characters who joined Grant in making movies, and a sense of the business side of Hollywood that too often eludes writers caught up in the magic and madness. The result is a captivating look at a captivating star.
Cary Grant wasn’t a real person. Archie Leach, from Bristol, England, was a real person; Cary Grant was a facade. Eyman attempts to bring the two together, as he did in his excellent John Wayne: The Life and Legend (2014). However, this book isn’t nearly as lively or revelatory as that one. Eyman covers all the biographical bases—Grant’s humble birth, his rise to stardom, his many relationships and marriages—but he never quite gets at the heart of the man. There are tantalizing suggestions of an interesting story to be told, but we sense there’s more going on behind the scenes. Speaking of behind the scenes, Eyman does a nice job of taking us onto the sets of some of Grant’s most famous films painting a picture of Grant as a perfectionist, but also as a generous actor, more concerned about the quality of a movie as a whole than his own star turn. A well-written and respectful biography, but it leaves Grant’s personal story a mystery.
Eyman takes a fresh look at a movie legend in the sparkling biography ... Eyman’s consideration of the inner conflicts that drove Grant results in a wonderfully nuanced study of his life. Along with the star’s many marriages and bitter divorces, Eyman explores the rumors surrounding his sexuality and his LSD use, recounting it all in clean, unaffected prose. He mixes Grant’s personal story with several decades’ worth of Hollywood history, and his film analyses are eye-opening. Grant was 'a man for all movie seasons.' They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Cary Grant emerges as a modest egotist, a bold introvert and a handsome man who seemed unaware of his dashing good looks in this sweeping biography by bestselling author Scott Eyman. Drawing from an encyclopedic storehouse of sources, Eyman pictures Grant first as the frustrated teenager determined to escape his dark, troubled family in Bristol, England ... The portrait painted in grand strokes and juicy tidbits is of a working-class kid who took a chance and won a prize, using his charisma and smarts as much as his acting ability to gain and sustain admiration and attention. As Eyman says, 'Cary Grant was not born with style, but he caught it, the way other people catch measles or religion, then developed it and exemplified it.'
...estimable and empathetic ... Eyman rightly homes in on his inner chiaroscuro, that never-resolving oscillation between dark and light — or, if you like, between Archie Leach and the man he became ... Mealy-mouthed? Or just the resigned sigh of a biographer who can no more get a handle on his subject than his subject could?
Alfred Hitchcock once remarked that likability was not something actors could fake. According to author Scott Eyman, the director added that there was 'only one actor in the world so formidably skilled that he could fake a charm he did not in fact possess.' The star Hitchcock had in mind is the subject of Eyman’s richly entertaining new biography, Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise. The book offers ample evidence that many who knew Grant were convinced his charms were genuine. But Hitchcock’s piercing assessment jibes with Eyman’s thesis that the legendary leading man was, even more than most Hollywood stars, a pure invention. The actor admitted as much himself: 'He’s a completely made up character and I’m playing a part.'
I think this is Eyman’s best and most heartfelt book ... Eyman’s book comes into its own once Grant is established in the movie kingdom, and helps us feel the wisdom of his subtitle, ‘A Brilliant Disguise’. We follow along as Grant absorbs the techniques of movie reticence and gains his reputation for fabulous assurance. Eyman’s biographical insights show that his jauntiness was a mask covering insatiable unease.
Among the several biographies of Cary Grant (1904-1986), prolific film historian Eyman’s version garners top billing. Replete with meticulous research, perceptive observations, and sharp critiques, this account of the actor’s life consistently engages and illuminates ... The author’s vivid profiles of Grant’s co-workers—designer Orry-Kelly, director Leo McCarey, writer Clifford Odets, and many others—create a colorful mural of Hollywood during its golden age ... Top-shelf film history.
... enjoyable if overstuffed ... The book is at its best when depicting Grant’s early years as an acrobat and vaudevillian, which took him to America ... The back-lot gossip will most likely entertain casual fans more than the intricate box office and budget details. The longtime speculation about Grant’s bisexuality comes up often, but would benefit from more nuanced consideration ... Though overlong and burdened by extraneous detail, this showbiz chronicle creates an insightful portrait of a man at war with himself.