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.