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High Society


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About the Author

DONALD SPOTO is the author of twenty-five books, including bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, and Audrey Hepburn. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Fordham University. Spoto is married to the Danish school administrator Ole Flemming Larsen; they live in a quiet village, an hour's drive from Copenhagen.


In Grace Kelly's brief but spectacular career (1950-56), she made almost a dozen films in which she starred opposite Hollywood's leading men until she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Using an extensive series of interviews he conducted with the princess, best-selling biographer Spoto (Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies) has produced an affectionate portrait, which, at her request, he waited 25 years after her death to publish. Spoto covers Kelly's life chronologically, from her childhood and early career through her growing distaste for the Hollywood scene, her enduring friendships with costars and Alfred Hitchcock, and her little-known support for civil rights. There is comparatively slight coverage of her years in Monaco, and readers looking for information on her life as princess may be disappointed. Spoto scored a coup in securing wide-ranging interviews with Kelly-the book's outstanding feature. Verdict Spoto's obvious fondness for his subject, plus his intimate knowledge of how Hollywood works, make this honest, refined biography an appealing read for movie buffs and the star struck alike. Arguably the best general book on Grace Kelly currently available.-Stephen Rees, Levittown Lib., PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Noted film biographer Spoto (Spellbound by Beauty) gives readers a previously unseen glimpse into the life of Grace Kelly (1929-1982), who went from Academy Award-winning actress to princess of Monaco. Drawing on hours of personal interviews with Kelly as well as with her numerous co-stars including Cary Grant and James Stewart, Spoto traces the star's life from her childhood in a wealthy Philadelphia neighborhood through her brief but noteworthy career in Hollywood to her years as the wife of Monaco's Prince Rainer. Kelly attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, where she developed a love of theater, nurtured by her uncle, the actor and playwright George Kelly. Though she spent less than seven years in Hollywood, Kelly became an icon of the era. Spoto, as an expert in the films of Alfred Hitchcock and one of the late director's few confidantes, spends considerable time revisiting the trio of films Kelly made with the master of suspense: Dial M for Murder (1953), Rear Window (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955). Though she admitted to missing acting, Kelly settled into her life as a royal, raising three children until her death in a car crash. Cinephiles will love Spoto's insider look at Hollywood in the 1950s, and even those unfamiliar with Kelly's films will be drawn to the author's warm and generous portrayal of a woman who was more than a pretty face. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"She was a great lady, and also great fun."
--Ava Gardner

"She was anything but cold. Everything about Grace was appealing. She had those big warm eyes, and if you ever played a love scene with her, you knew she wasn't cold."
--James Stewart "In two senses, she didn't have a bad side-you could film her from any angle, and she was one of the most untemperamental, cooperative people in the business."
--Cary Grant "The subtlety of Grace's sexuality-her elegant sexiness-appealed to me. . . . With Grace, you had to find it out-you had to discover it."
--Alfred Hitchcock "You couldn't work with Grace Kelly without falling a little in love with her."
--Fred Coe "I thought she was the most gorgeous creature I ever met. . . . She was so entirely unaffected, completely without vanity."
--Rita Gam "She was a delight to have in the company-a rare kind of young person who had a hunger to learn and to improve herself."
--Raymond Massey "I saw the utter perfection of her nose . . . the long, elegant neck . . . the silky, diaphanous blond hair. . . . A very aristocratic-looking girl . . . not the sort you simply called for a date."
--Oleg Cassini

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