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George Cukor: A Double Life

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Through 50 years and 50 films--from "Holiday" and "The Philadelphia Story" to "Camille" and "My Fair Lady"--George Cukor created some of Hollywood's greatest motion pictures. The first book to discuss Cukor's homosexuality openly, "George Cukor: A Double Life" is a sympathetic portrait of a man "whose long career is all the more impressive given the double life he was forc ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published May 15th 1997 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1991)
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Robert Dunbar
Oct 31, 2014 Robert Dunbar rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
“That Jewboy up there!” Clark Gable often referred to David O. Selznik in terms that did nothing to contradict the King’s reputation as a swaggering bigot. His favorite appellation for George Cukor remained simply: “that fag.”

Understandably, the shooting of Gone With the Wind commenced under somewhat strained conditions. “I can’t go on with this,” Gable insisted early on. Worse would follow: “I won’t be directed by a fairy!” When rumors began to circulate about homosexual episodes in his own lif
OK, so this was on the clearance shelf at Half Price for $3. The first page I open randomly, and my eyes hone in on Clark Gable's references to David O. Selznick as "that Jewboy" and George Cukor as "that fag." (As it happened, Cukor happened to be both). Cukor is probably the greatest film director who also happened to be gay, with maybe James Whale in second place. OK OK, and Sergei Eisenstein, probably. The first part of the book talks about the Cukor family's challenges assimilating as Jews ...more
David Claudon
Feb 09, 2014 David Claudon rated it really liked it
Patrick McGilligan in George Cukor: a Double Life, tries to reconcile the public persona of the famous Hollywood "women's director" [whose career spanned from Broadway in the 1920s to being the oldest director (in his 80s) to direct a film in 1981] with the private role as a closeted Homosexual moving in Hollywood's homophobic macho studio world. I had forgotten how many of the credited films Cukor directed that I had seen and enjoyed: among them Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Ca ...more
Elizabeth Periale

"Meticulously researched, George Cukor: A Double Life spends equal time investigating what went into the making of his films as it also tries to go behind the facade of Cukor's Hollywood homosexual life. McGilligan manages to portray Cukor as a well-rounded man, but one wonders what the director, who tried so hard to keep his open secret under wraps would think about his "tricks" being discussed alongside his A-list friendships with such movie stars and ce
Dec 21, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the biographies of a few directors and actors I have the impression that great movies happen almost by accident -- and the system makes it unlikely. That Cukor succeeded in making _several_ great films speaks volumes. It's sad that Cukor had to live a double life, like just about every other homosexual of the era. It just occurred to me: it's funny that McGillan didn't mention the queerish characters in a couple of the Tracy and Hepburn films Cukor made.
Jul 16, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
After seeing so many of his films, it was good to finally read a biography of the great George Cukor. I first encountered him when reading the life of Katherine Hepburn a few years ago and it was good to hear his side of the story. His list of "great films" certainly goes on and on and it is fitting that he finally won the Oscar for My Fair Lady.
Dec 01, 2008 Denis rated it really liked it
Minutious, extremely well-researched and well written bio of one of the greatest Hollywood directors, who also happened to be gay. McGillian does a great job at analyzing Cukor's career and his many films while revealing the hidden part of his life in a very respectful yet honest way. Makes you want to see all of Cukor's movies again.
Jun 06, 2013 Joanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-movies
Excellent. Intelligent. Insightful. What more could you want?
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Patrick McGilligan is the author of Clint one of America’s pre-eminent film biographers. He has written the life stories of directors George Cukor and Fritz Lang — both New York Times “Notable Books” — and the Edgar-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. His books have been translated into ten languages. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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