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Cary Grant

A Brilliant Disguise

Film historian and acclaimed New York Times bestselling biographer Scott Eyman has written the definitive, “captivating” (Associated Press) biography of Hollywood legend Cary Grant, one of the most accomplished—and beloved—actors of his generation, who remains as popular as ever today.

Born Archibald Leach in 1904, he came to America as a teenaged acrobat to find fame and fortune, but he was always haunted by his past. His father was a feckless alcoholic, and his mother was committed to an asylum when Archie was eleven years old. He believed her to be dead until he was informed she was alive when he was thirty-one years old. Because of this experience, Grant would have difficulty forming close attachments throughout his life. He married five times and had numerous affairs.

Despite a remarkable degree of success, Grant remained deeply conflicted about his past, his present, his basic identity, and even the public that worshipped him in movies such as Gunga Din, Notorious, and North by Northwest.

This “estimable and empathetic biography” (The Washington Post) draws on Grant’s own papers, extensive archival research, and interviews with family and friends making it a definitive and “complex portrait of Hollywood’s original leading man” (Entertainment Weekly).

Photograph by Greg Lovett

Scott Eyman was formerly the literary critic at The Palm Beach Post and is the author or coauthor of fifteen books, including the bestseller John Wayne and (with actor Robert Wagner) the bestsellers Pieces of My Heart and You Must Remember This. Among his other books are Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart; Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMilleLion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer; and Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford. Eyman also writes book reviews for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He and his wife, Lynn, live in West Palm Beach.

"The most entertaining and enlightening star biography in years . . . A captivating look at a captivating star."

– Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press

"[An] estimable and empathetic biography . . . Eyman rightly homes in on [Grant's] inner chiaroscuro, that never-resolving oscillation between dark and light — or, if you like, between Archie Leach and the man he became."

– Louis Bayard, The Washington Post

"That gap between the sublimely charming screen invention and the real man born Archie Leach is at the center of Scott Eyman's new biography, Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, a complex portrait of Hollywood's original leading man."

– Maureen Lee Lenker, Entertainment Weekly

"Replete with meticulous research, perceptive observations, and sharp critiques, this account of the actor’s life consistently engages and illuminates. . . . Top-shelf film history."

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Eyman’s best and most heartfelt book . . . Eyman’s biographical insights show that [Grant's] jauntiness was a mask covering insatiable unease."

– David Thomson, The London Review of Books

“A richly detailed portrait of the man whose greatest performance was the one that fooled moviegoers for decades: the belief that Archie Leach was just like the movie star we knew as Cary Grant."  

– Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian

“Was there ever a more fabulously charming, witty, stylish and seductive movie star than Cary Grant? Scott Eyman’s biography peers under the hood of Hollywood’s most self-invented persona to explore the anxious, self-pitying, needy and depressed narcissist lurking within. Eyman does so with empathy, critical admiration and a deeply historical perspective that bring to life not just this remarkable performer but the golden age of Hollywood that he dominated.”

– Glenn Frankel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Searchers and High Noon

"Riveting . . . In examining Grant's incredible feat of self-invention and the steep price the actor paid for his extraordinary success, Eyman once again demonstrates why he is one of our finest biographers."

– Mark Griffin, author of All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson

More books from this author: Scott Eyman