Cary Grant A Brilliant Disguise - Review

Cary Grant A Brilliant Disguise - Review
In Cary Grant A Brilliant Disguise, bestselling author Scott Eyman details the life, loves, and career of one of Hollywood’s most debonaire personas. The focus of this biography is to contrast the differences between the sophisticated persona known as Cary Grant and the man underneath – the rough and roguish Archie Leach.

Eyman is straightforward in his account of how Leach became Grant, but he also addresses the “why” of the transformation, beginning with young Archie’s childhood.

His childhood was a sad one, and the facts presented give strong reason to why Archie Leach needed to become someone else. Someone more successful, someone more worthy than the little boy from Bristol, England.

Grant himself is quoted as saying, “I think I became what I portrayed.” And in many ways, it was his saving grace. In essence, the greatest role the actor Archie Leach ever played was that of “Cary Grant.”

This “disguise” is the basic framework for Eyman’s biography. And what a disguise it was.

While most fans easily imagine a well-dressed Cary Grant cocktailing responsibly, the truth is that Archie Leach would often get passed-out-drunk and engage in fist fights.

Ultimately, Cary Grant would seem to emerge without a scratch, as Archie Leach suffered physically and mentally.

As you might expect, details of his films are included as well are stories about his four marriages and his only daughter. Grant’s sexuality is discussed by people close to him, as was his use of LSD.

The book itself mellows toward the end, just as Grant did as he reached the end of his life. Comfortable with what the past had delivered, and uncomfortable about the role he played in some of it, Grant had a conscience. One must not discount the fact that, deep down, he was still that ambitious kid escaping an unhappy life in Bristol.

Perhaps the best thing about the book is the candid depiction of the real, flawed man, Archie Leach who worked hard to become the success that was Cary Grant.

The book is a healthy 481 pages, plus acknowledgements and notes; thus, even the most ardent Grant fan will need to take some time to read it in its entirety. While it is a good read, there is a lot of information held within which deserves some time to be taken.

As for this fan of both Grant and Eyman, it was well worth the time.

NOTE: I purchased and reviewed this book at my own expense and not at the request of any outside company or service.

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