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High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,588 Ratings  ·  156 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2009)
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Dec 28, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 17, 2011 Betsy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Blah, blah, commercial, blah, blah, TV show, blah, blah, Hitchcock, blah, blah, Prince Rainier, blah, blah, dead.

What was this disaster of a biography!? Wikipedia has more information than this sycophantic pile of nonsense. I learned like two new things about Grace Kelly and I didn't even care about them because the book was so boring.

2 stars because she seems like a nice lady.
I'm having a hard time choosing a star-rating for this book. On the one hand, I've learned to like Grace Kelly more than I did before; on the other hand, I haven't been so bored reading a book, or felt that the author left so much out, as I felt reading this book. My main question for Donald Spoto, after reading this, is: why write a biography of someone if you have no intention of telling the full story?

For example, on page 253 of 273, Spoto claims "The births of her children gave her the most
Tom Emory Jr.
Tom Emory, Jr. Review -- 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 y
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
This is an unsatisfactory and superficial retelling of Grace Kelly's life and seems not to treat her as a real person at all, overlooking much of what makes a biography rich and true to the person being written about. While the author tries to convince us he wants to dispense with the myth of the "pretty pretty princess," he succeeds in reinforcing it. The proper white-gloved hands, her early virginity, etc., are lauded. Where it lacks in-depth information about her character, emotions, and reac ...more
Lisa N
Mar 15, 2011 Lisa N rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 22, 2010 Eva rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 02, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I live in the Philadelphia area, the name of Grace Kelly is revered, and I include myself among the legions who admire her beauty, style and talent.

This book was written by a respected biographer who actually had the privilege of conversing with Grace in person many times. This authenticity is very appealing.

The book focuses on her stage career as well as TV and movies. As a fan of the movies, I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories of each film.

The portrayal of Grace Kelly was one of a kind, i
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
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
Jun 28, 2015 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, arts
Probably 3-1/2

I loved the subject matter and learned a lot about Grace Kelly that I didn't know, having never read anything about her before. But the bulk of the book focuses in great detail on her acting career and life as a single woman, with just a chapter at the end to touch on her life as a married woman, mother, and princess. Since these married years spanned more than half her brief life, the narrative is oddly out of balance. So I'm torn--do I knock off a star for all that is missing, or
Oct 14, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
This is indeed a very readable biography. It focuses mainly on the film career of Grace Kelly rather than the private life of the Princess of Monaco, which is nice because it presents the opportunity for fun bits of Hollywood trivia. My only qualm with this work is the author's personal relationship with the subject; the nature of that situation removes the possibility for an objective telling of her life. All in all, it's an informative and enjoyable read.
Dec 14, 2009 Kristi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
interesting facts...horribly written. i actually cringed while reading it.
but grace kelly is interesting so i had to give it 2 stars.
Mar 08, 2014 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 22, 2016 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love High Society because Grace Kelly and the author apparently had a lengthy friendship before he wrote this biography about her. I actually hadn't realized how short her career was until I read this. The result of her limited stint in Hollywood resulted in a rather brief biography, but I still gained a much greater understanding of Grace Kelly, and liked her immensely!

Grace appeared in her films as a poised woman, and the inherent way she carried herself was honed in her early yea
Feb 20, 2017 Kara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an informative overview of Grace Kelly's life for someone who only vaguely knew who she was before reading. However, Miss Kelly was a rather uninteresting person or the author somehow made her seem like it... I don't know enough about her to know which is the case!
Priyanka Tandon
Philadelphia Inquirer rates it as "Addictively readable" and this book is exactly like that... The narrative feels like as if you are gliding through... However, all you get from the book is Grace Kelly's life in form of movies that she has made... There isn't much to her childhood, nor much to do with her life after she becomes the princes... It's almost as if Donald Spoto was only enamoured with Grace Kelly till she was a movie star, rest of her life - before, during and after a movie star did ...more
Jan 29, 2010 Maura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Leslie Goddard
This biography is a good example of why personal friends often don't make great authors of biographies. It's clear from the introduction that he knew Princess Grace and there's a odd feeling throughout the entire book that he doesn't want to say or reveal anything that might offend her family or descendants. This was especially annoying in his descriptions of how wonderful certain acting moments of hers were. Those who don't like her in a particular role just aren't getting the subtlety and nuan ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
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
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
Nov 20, 2009 judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
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
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
So it turns out I already knew all the pertinent points about Grace Kelly. She was an actress, she married a prince of Monaco, she died before I was born.
I mostly read biographies to learn things I didn't know. I felt like the lens on her was so gauzy and worshiping it wasn't interesting. It wasn't "she's so great because..." It was "she's so great she is so great. Bad stuff happened sometimes but she is so great" he alluded to her great relationship with Alfred Hitchcock but I didn't see it.
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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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