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Jimmy Stewart: A Biography


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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


Jimmy Stewart, perhaps America's most beloved film actor, is the subject of two biographies this year-this one by Eliot (Cary Grant: A Biography) and Michael Munn's Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend. The broad facts of Stewart's life are well known: he worked in his father's Pennsylvania hardware store; he rose to fame in Hollywood and developed several high-profile friendships, collaborations, and romances; he served honorably as an aviator in World War II; and at age 41, he married former model Gloria Hatrick McLean. Eliot fleshes out those events via access to personal papers and correspondences, as well as anecdotes from one of Stewart's twin daughters (it is important to note, however, that this biography is not "authorized"). The result is 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. (Index not seen.)-Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Eliot, a seasoned leading-man biographer (Cary Grant), turns in an exhaustive report on Stewart, throwing open new windows on America's boy-next-door with archival research, new photographs and anecdotes from Stewart's daughter, Kelly. Born to reserved parents in Pennsylvania, Stewart dipped his feet into theater at Princeton, joining the University Players troupe and cementing a fateful friendship with Henry Fonda. In the lean years of the Depression, Stewart won acclaim for Broadway roles, striking out West in 1935 to star in Capra films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Stewart, whose grandfather was a Civil War hero, obligingly joined the air force to lead bombing raids in Europe during World War II. Upon a safe return, he took on diverse genre roles from westerns to thrillers, shading his characters with depth and dimension. Alfred Hitchcock played deftly on Stewart's Boy Scout likability by giving him vaguely sinister roles in Rear Window and Vertigo. Stewart's heyday came in 1955, when the media anointed him king of Hollywood, knocking John Wayne to second banana. As Eliot chronicles Stewart's films and friendships, he entertains the usual speculation of illicit starlet affairs and brooding disillusionment, but he can't find much to tarnish this Golden Age icon. Photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"It was a wonderful- and long- life, and Eliot...covers it all."
-USA Today

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