High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly
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High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  1,006 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Drawing on his unprecedented access to Grace Kelly, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto at last offers an intimate, honest, and authoritative portrait of one of Hollywood’s legendary actresses.


In just seven years–from 1950 through 1956–Grace Kelly embarked on a whirlwind career that included roles in eleven movies. From the principled Amy Fowler Kane in High Noon to the th...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2009)
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Kathy
Jan 13, 2010 Kathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathy by: Andy
First and foremost, I learned that my son Andy pays attention. We watched three Grace Kelly movies, at my request, one night while he was home for Thanksgiving. He bought me this book for Christmas.
A notable quote by the author: "From such casual, spontaneous decisions does one's destiny take shape, and what seems but a confluence of distractions alters the course of life."
Grace Kelly led a very down-to-earth existence, even though her life appeared to be magically bestowed with good fortune. S...more
Betsy
Obviously one must hold regard for Grace Kelly to read this book.
Since one of my life questions to myself when a social, character building decision needs to be made Is..."What would Grace Kelly do?"

Readers will enjoy this book because it does not dwell on her flawless delicate looks. You learn she wore glasses, paid for her own education even though she was a blue blood in real life. Grace always worked, followed social decorum with a flair of being a rebel, and was not able to win her own fath...more
Josh Duggan
This may seem like a weird choice if you don't know me well and know why I was reading it. I can't really get into why I was reading it in this space, but whatever. I read it. It happened.

For those not familiar with Donald Spoto, he is one of the authoritative Golden Age of Hollywood writers. He wrote the seminal books on Alfred Hitchcock The Art of Alfred Hitchcock and The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. It was while writing The Art of Alfred Hitchcock that he became friends...more
Lisa N
This book focused too much on GK’s movie career, delving into the 11 movies she starred in before taking on the title of Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco. Although I found Spoto’s writing style interesting, the move details seemed a little incongruent with the rest of the book. I just picked this book up while browsing library shelves, but I would have preferred something that elaborated more upon her life after her marriage to Prince Rainer, i.e., the challenges of taking on a new cul...more
Carolinenotes
I was quite tempted to give this book two stars instead of three. I gave it an average rating because I think it might be a good reference for someone who is writing a term paper about Grace's movie career. My biggest disappointment with this book is that there's barely any details about Grace's post-cinema life, which is the main reason I read this. I wanted to read about how she adapted to a new life as a head of state in a foreign land, and maybe some details about how she raised her children...more
Eva
The Hollywood story of great actresses coming from humble beginnings is so ingrained that the first surprise this book offered was that Grace was born to a wealthy family. Her father was opposed to her career choice and was constantly critical of her achievements. She was allowed to move to NY to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts as long as she lived in a monitored building filled with other daughters of wealthy families.

The book spends a lot of time on her movies, the people she wor...more
Cheryl
The author draws on interviews he conducted with Grace, as well as previously unrevealed interviews and correspondence with many of her friends and colleagues, to present an affectionate biography of Grace Kelly. He traces her life from her childhood in the wealthy suburbs of Philadelphia, as a model and theatre actress, her life as a Hollywood film star, her marriage to a Prince, and her untimely death in Monaco. The reader is given an especially interesting look at Hollywood during the 1950's....more
Jennifer
This is the second book I have read about Her Serene Highness Princess Grace Kelly Grimaldi. Unfortunately, this book was more serious than I anticipated. For some reason, the author vowed to not publish the book until 25 years after her death. I wasn't quite sure why he vowed this since there was no "Eureka!!" moment, but alas. The book chronicles Grace's rise and short career as a Hollywood Best Actress. There were a few funny tidbits about Grace that I never knew such as she had very poor vis...more
LemonLinda
I have always been fascinated by Grace Kelly. Her transitioning from glamorous Hollywood film star to royal princess, wife and mother is a story worth hearing. Evidently the author was a friend and had interviewed her multiple times in person. He talked as well extensively with family members, fellow actors amd close friends. For all of her beauty, charm and riches, she totally comes across as a down to earth person who never took their fame and fortune too seriously and simply wanted to do thei...more
Lisa
The author clearly regards Grace Kelly as a personal friend and gives her very favorable treatment. I came away from this knowing more about her work ethic and her films that I have not seen but I did not learn much about her as a person. I'm unsure why he waited the 25 years after her death to publish a book that's so favorable to the subject. It's too bad the author glossed over a decades of her life, just casually mentioning her children and the dozens of years she was princess of Monaco. I h...more
Megan
There was nothing especially insightful or interesting in this book. The Wikipedia page would be just as enlightening and take a fraction of the time to read.
Kristi
interesting facts...horribly written. i actually cringed while reading it.
but grace kelly is interesting so i had to give it 2 stars.
Tom Emory Jr.
Grace Kelly, according to the author Donald Spoto, said she didn't consider herself a very interesting person. If she had read Mr. Spoto's book, it would have confirmed her opinion.

Grace Kelly -- Let's leave it at this: She was a working actress.

This palace-approved biography is sweet but short on the kind of meat and potatoes that make a celebrity book worth reading.

Her acting career was woefully short for someone who has gotten the attention she has received over the years for just 11 movies....more
Sandra
I bought this book when I was in London, after having visited an exposition on Grace Kelly. My mom thought I would like it, even though I wasn't familiar with the woman before. My mom was right. I very quickly fell in love with Grace Kelly. They also showed some movie material of Grace's at the exposition which convinced me to buy this book.

I liked the book, although I understand why some people have problems with it. The writer of this book, Donald Spoto, is exceptionally positive about the act...more
Heather
This biography was infinitely better than the first I read (True Grace, by Wendy Leigh). The book is well-written, giving insight into both the events of Grace Kelly's life and her personality and character. Spoto gives a forthright account of her life, relying on excellent sources, and doesn't go diving for scandal or make accusations or conjectures based on sources of questionable credibility (as Leigh does). Two things detracted from the quality of this biography: (1) the author clearly has a...more
Sarah Cler
I'm a huge Grace Kelly fan and have read more books on her life than I'd care to admit...this one focuses mostly on her acting career, with a short overview of her life as Princess of Monaco. What sets this apart from other books about her is that it tastefully dispels (rather than fuels) rumors that she was a husband-stealing nymphomaniac during the time of her brief film career. Spoto is really skilled at painting a respectful portrait of her life, though the story of Grace Kelly's time on ear...more
Maura
I thought it was an interesting book. I have always loved the movie "To Catch a Thief" and have seen a few other movies of Grace Kelly's. Her rather fairy-tale life after Hollywood was intriguing and I wondered how much of what was written in the press about her was true. While Donald Spoto clearly favors Grace, he seems to be fairly honest in his treatment of her life and love affairs, always a hot topic for the press. This book deals with her early years and her acting career. Her marriage to...more
Margarita
This biography provides a solid background on Kelly's family life, career, romantic relationships and marriage and is easy to follow given it moves chronologically. Although well written and devoid of gossip, it is perhaps a little too clean at times a rendering of Grace Kelly. Spoto goes to great lengths to refute the negative claims made about Kelly over the course of her life, but in so doing, he swings her to the other end of the pendulum, equally as unreal. Somewhere in the middle of the tw...more
Danielle
An interesting and well-done biography. I consider this one definitive, since Spoto is the only biographer who interviewed Grace personally (and many times, over many years). He is very respectful without glossing over the truth. Granted there aren't too many salacious bits in Grace Kelly's life, so that wasn't all that difficult. Anyway, it was fun for me to read about how Grace felt toward her craft, her fame, and her role as a princess. The only negative comment I have about the book is that...more
judy
This is a serious book--a tad too serious for me. To truly appreciate it you should be very familiar with Kelly's work and even have given it a bit of analysis. The author had extraordinary access to Kelly, her friends and Hitchcock (about whom he has written several books). Having marveled at her in The Country Girl, I recognized her talent. I didn't realize how devoted she was to her craft or how incredibly hard she worked. Studio system notwithstanding, she had the spunk to control her own ca...more
Bethany
I've never read a biography of a celebrity before, and I can't say that I love this genre. I do really enjoy Grace Kelly's movies and that whole era in Hollywood so I did find reading about all that, and her personal life as well, pretty interesting. I did not find it at all well written; perhaps that's normal in this genre. But it seemed a real stretch that he was basing the book on just a few conversations and meetings he had with Grace. He seemed to rely heavily on a lot of uninteresting and...more
Karen
I love to read works of fiction for many reasons but at the top of that list of reasons is to witness the art of creating characters and plots from an author's imagination to the written page. I've realized as I've gotten older that just as remarkable is the well-written biography that scans a REAL lifetime, beginning to end--REAL character, REAL journey, REAL growth. Grace Kelly is one of my all-time favorite actresses and it was interesting to read how very different she is as a real live char...more
Scarlet
from my bn.com review:

Before Grace Kelly married a prince, she was a princess in America. She was a beloved actress who was known for her poise, professionalism, beauty, and talent. This biography, which was the result of intimate conversations between the author and Grace Kelly, tells with great detail the acting career of the future Princess of Monaco. My only complaint is that there is not more told about her life after her marriage, but I would recommend this biography to any film lover or a...more
Anais
Interesting bio of Grace Kelly, that for once doesn't focus on the fairytale part of her life and instead concentrate on revealing how Grace was.
Magdalena
I love reading different biographies, but this one was really poor. Just dry facts, a little bit about her family. Nothing interesting.
Lizthorne
Since I love Grace Kelley, this was a good read for me. Loved the details about her movies, especially Rear Window.
Leslee
I liked:
1) learning about Hollywood in the 1950s,
2) finding out about Grace Kelly's relationships with family, friends, men
3) that it was written in a style that was fast and easy to read.

I didn't like:
1) Spoilers! I haven't seen all of her movies and he gave away several endings.
2) being pointed to the author's other books about Hitchcock - it seemed a little like a commercial in the middle of the book.
3) some of his analysis of Kelly's roles and films. I thought this was a biography, not fi...more
Joyce
Another light slight and very polite film star biography by a longstanding acquaintance of Her Serene Highness Grace Kelly Grimaldi, a smart, determined young woman who worked hard at her craft and enjoyed great success before her retirement at age 26. This is an official bio, sanctioned by the Grimaldi family and Grace Kelly herself so it is by necessity superficial. It's an easy read and a good jumpstart for anyone interested in Grace Kelly and her movies. In addition, the book contains a list...more
Donald
A rather dry, sparing, factual biography, basically only dealing with the few short years of her film career. I get the impression a couple of interviews have been inflated into an intimate aquaintance that wasn't there . . .
Natalie B
This was pretty good for a biography. Normally I heard biography and immediately zoned out. I could have cared less for them. Then I read this. This book totally changed my opinion. I think I’m a little more open to biographies now because I read this interesting, eye catching book. I could kind of relate to Grace Kelly a little bit. Maybe I liked it because she was an actress and I want to be an actress. Maybe I found the book really inspirational. I don’t know what it was that made me like thi...more
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A prolific and respected biographer and theologian, Donald Spoto is the author of twenty published books, among them bestselling biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, and Ingrid Bergman. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Donald Spoto earned his Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University. After years as a theology professor, he t...more
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