When it comes celebrities, there are sometimes two different people: the real person and the persona created by the public relations department.
Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, by Scott Eyman was published last October. On screen, Cary Grant, was charming, affable, and an audience favorite for decades. But the actor movie fans thought they knew and the man who walked off the soundstage was two different things entirely. Grant (nee Archie Leach) was born in 1904 in Bristol. To say that his childhood was not easy is an understatement. His father preferred the bottle to his son and his mother was committed to an asylum before her son was a teenager.
His ticket out from his miserable childhood was to join a theater troupe as an acrobat. Eventually, Archie became Cary and the movie star we know him to be. But behind the scenes, the trauma from his youth was never far behind. Married five times, the inner conflict was just beneath the surface, but hidden from those who flocked to see him in the movie theaters.
I loved this book. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a teenager, but I was not aware of the man behind the screen. In digging into both Cary/Archie’s personal life and career, Eyman gives the reader an insight into the person, not just the actor.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.