Cary Grant, the Making of a Hollywood Legend

Much has been written about Hollywood icon Cary Grant, whose legacy lives on through his family, friends, and film fans all over the world. To this day, he continues to inspire artists and performers as well as authors and scholars wishing to delve into his story. In 2020, two biographies about Grant were released: Mark Glancy’s Cary Grant, the Making of a Hollywood Legend and Scott Eyman’s Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, both possessing their own differences and merits. This review focuses upon the former.

Glancy’s biography depicts the many challenges Grant faced as a child in Bristol, thoughtfully portraying Grant’s journey from Archie Leach and his many struggles to a reinvented, dashing Hollywood film star. Among these challenges are Grant’s mother and her struggle with mental illness, an impoverished childhood, and Grant’s expulship from school at age 14. Glancy draws from Grant’s personal papers to not only depict these struggles but to also portray his transitions from vaudeville and Broadway to the height of his stardom as a reputable actor.

Grant cemented his place in film history with successful film appearances in films such as Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Notorious (1946), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959), Charade (1963), and many others. Though initially a contract star, Grant eventually took control of his creativity and career, as depicted in Glancy’s book.

Behind the scenes, Grant found happiness as a family man, having his first child–Jennifer Grant–at age 62. Grant’s influence as a father and strong presence in Jennifer’s life has led her to continue carrying on her beloved father’s legacy.

Glancy’s book works well as a supplement to Eyman’s depiction of Grant. Offering glimpses of Grant both inside and outside of studio walls, Glancy succeeds in culling together a cohesive book based upon Grant’s personal papers. While Glancy’s prose is not as inviting as Eyman’s, Glancy works to strike a balance between portraying Grant’s personal life and professional life. In doing so, however, Glancy occassionally becomes too focused upon film plots, which detracts from the narrative’s intended focus upon Grant. Nonetheless, if the reader is not familiar with the breath of Grant’s filmography, Glancy’s book steps in as a guide through Grant’s many works.

Cary Grant, the Making of a Hollywood Legend is available through Oxford University Press.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s