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Jimmy Stewart: A Biographyby Marc Eliot
Synopses & Reviews
Jimmy Stewart's all-American good looks, boyish charm, and deceptively easygoing style of acting made him one of Hollywood's greatest and most enduring stars. Despite the indelible image he projected of innocence and quiet self-assurance, Stewart's life was more complex and sophisticated than most of the characters he played. With fresh insight and unprecedented access, bestselling biographer Marc Eliot finally tells the previously untold story of one of our greatest screen and real-life heroes.
Born into a family of high military honor and economic success dominated by a powerful father, Stewart developed an interest in theater while attending Princeton University. Upon graduation, he roomed with the then-unknown Henry Fonda, and the two began a friendship that lasted a lifetime. While he harbored a secret unrequited love for Margaret Sullavan, Stewart was paired with many of Hollywood's most famous, most beautiful, and most alluring leading ladies during his extended bachelorhood, among them Ginger Rogers, Olivia de Havilland, Loretta Young, and the notorious Marlene Dietrich.
After becoming a star playing a hero in Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939 and winning an Academy Award the following year for his performance in George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story, Stewart was drafted into the Armed Forces and became a hero in real life. When he returned to Hollywood, he discovered that not only the town had changed, but so had he. Stewart's combat experiences left him emotionally scarred, and his deepening darkness perfectly positioned him for the '50s, in which he made his greatest films, for Anthony Mann (Winchester '73 and Bend of the River) and, most spectacularly, Alfred Hitchcock, in his triple meditation on marriage, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo, which many film critics regard as the best American movie ever made.
While Stewart's career thrived, so did his personal life. A marriage in his forties, the adoption of his wife's two sons from a previous marriage, and the birth of his twin daughters laid the foundation for a happy life, until an unexpected tragedy had a shocking effect on his final years.
Intimate and richly detailed, Jimmy Stewart is a fascinating portrait of a multi-faceted and much-admired actor as well as an extraordinary slice of Hollywood history.
"An actor's life, presented admiringly....[A] good story about the movies and one of its stars. Stout, readable story about how a nice guy got his acting chops and became one of Hollywood's greats." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] thorough and intimate examination of Stewart's life and career that, while marred by occasionally awkward prose, makes a worthwhile addition to any public or academic library." Library Journal
"It was a wonderful — and long — life, and Eliot...covers it all." USA Today
With fresh insight and unprecedented access, bestselling biographer Eliot tells the previously untold story of one of the greatest screen heroes. Intimate and richly detailed, this book is a fascinating portrait of a multi-faceted actor as well as an extraordinary slice of Hollywood history.
About the Author
Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biography Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, Down 42nd Street, Take It from Me (with Erin Brockovich), Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, and Death of a Rebel. He has been featured in many documentaries about film and music and has written on the media and popular culture for numerous publications, including Penthouse, L.A. Weekly, and California magazine. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles. Visit him at marceliot.net.
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