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Cary Grant: A Class Apart
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Cary Grant: A Class Apart

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  288 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
More than a biography, this is a savvy portrait of how Archie Leach, born to a poor working-class family in Bristol, England became Cary Grant, one of Hollywood's most irresistible and admired celebrities of all time.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 1998 by Columbia University Press (first published January 1st 1996)
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James Perkins
Born in Bristol to a working class family as Archie Leach, Cary Grant rose to become an icon of cinema's Golden Age. He embodied the stylish, sophisticated gentleman, but set himself apart from others of that ilk by retaining a gentle sense of self-mocking humour, and his humble roots meant he never allowed his own ego to paint his public persona. As a result, he had a wide-ranging appeal to audiences of all ages and classes around the world, and his movies are still fondly remembered today. And ...more
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
"It should not seem paradoxical if the famous seem shy and private. For fame implies that one deeply knows the rules for socially significant behaior, not necessarily that one's temperament is in accord with them. In fact, the greater one's talent for fame, the greater may be one's temperamental distaste for society, since its easier to understand and manipulate social expectations if one is somehow outside to begin with."
Liz Alexander
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Cary Grant was a mass of contradictions, as Graham McCann's excellent book serves to illustrate:

The old-time vaudeville act who became a modern movie star, whose career lasted until his self-imposed retirement in 1966;
The working class boy from the Old World who epitomized high class taste and urbanity as he gracefully navigated the glamorous New World of Hollywood; The man whose life could have been made into a movie (why hasn't anyone done this yet?), lending even more truth to the realizati
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the best I've read about Cary Grant. A biography, but mostly insofar as it pertains to the artist he became. The book is more of a critical study than anything, written by Graham McCann, a professor who has obviously done his research and who also clearly admires Cary Grant – the man and the actor – very much.

The brilliance of Grant's showbiz savvy is enough to fill a book in itself. He was one of the first stars to break free of the studio system and go freelance, one of th
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memior
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. I admired its respectful treatment of a man who, I think, was one of the greatest movie actors of all time. Unlike many biographers, the author of this book actually seemed to like his subject. Many biographies seem designed merely to point out the worst aspects of a person, tearing them apart bit by bit, pushing the worst parts of their lives forward in a sensationalist effort to sell their books. Sometimes they even present unsubstantiated popular ...more
I love Cary Grant. He's my favorite actor from my obsession with old black and white movies. This book was not that great. It got 3 stars simply because I love his films, otherwise not great. Each paragraph had 1 - 10 footnotes. While I appreciate the references and documentation to support as much fact and truth as possible, the entire thing felt like a high school English paper, which undoubtedly would earn an "A" with all the references. 80 pages of the book were footnotes and bibliography. I ...more
Eddie Hodges
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"How old Cary Grant?" "Old Cary Grant fine! How you?" Supposed telegram exchange between Cary Grant and a newspaper editor doing an article on him.

McCann's biography was also fine; in fact, one of the best biographes I've read. Great detail without getting bogged down with minutia; controversial issues were dealt with through the use of fact; not innuendo and the development of the individual; in this case Archie Leach to Cary Grant, is described seamlessly. I think Cary Grant would be pleased w
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Born into a working class family in Bristol, England Archie Leach reinvented himself as Cary Grant and became the Hollywood icon for “gentlemanly grace”.

Mr. McCann writes a beautiful biography. He includes the not so pretty parts, the Hollywood suspicions and the many marriages but he includes them as the facts that made Cary Grant who is was. This is not a cutthroat tell-all book. It is a well researched and well written book. It was a pleasure to read.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classy biography on Grant. If your looking for sleeze or tawdry meddling into private affairs you won't find it here. The author obviously respects and likes Grant and chose to not go down that path. Good ole Archie Leach transforms himself from tramp and circus performer to glamour puss Hollywood star. Grant is greatly intellegent, he delights in formulating, and cultivating his image while at the same time subtly making fun of it. I'm a fan.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I listened to the audiobook, so it took me a while to get through the whole book. Cary Grant is one of my absolute favorites, so I was looking forward to learning more about his life. There were some interesting parts of this book that went into detail about many of his movies, and I found that very interesting. Otherwise, I feel the biographical information kind of skimmed the surface of his life.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
I was quite convinced that Cary Grant was the ultimate man, for much of my younger years. He made me fall in love with nearly every character he played on-screen. His biography was terribly, and sadly, eye-opening, particularly about his childhood. I felt he was still an enigma at the end of the book. The writing wasn't the best, but the story was very interesting.
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book. Its focus was mainly on Grant's acting and what made him the great actor that he was - and how he created the "Cary Grant" character. Makes you want to go and watch his movies all over again.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well-written, and extremely well-researched, biography of one of the best stars in Hollywood history. Fair, perceptive and sensitive, it is high quality from start to finish.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like Cary Grant himself, this is an elegantly constructed and charming history.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved this book almost as much as I love Cary Grant! (And that's a lot!)
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the silver screen
Shelves: biography
This appears to be well researched and seems to be unbiased. Highly enjoyable.
I love Cary Grant (blissful sigh)!
Jun 06, 2016 added it
Shelves: biographies
I like how respectful this author was of this man.
Nov 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I think this is the biography that I read, based on the summary. I know it was quite a few years ago.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Cary Grant, so this was a really good book into his life.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I love reading about the lives of movies starts that I love. This was well done. I learned so much!
Janet Keeten
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, wonderful man.
Rosamunde Bott
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fascinating read about Archie Leach and how he transformed himself into Cary Grant. A very well researched and well written book. My only criticism was that I would have liked more photographs.
Kathy Giovingo
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