Monday, December 15, 2008

Jimmy Stewart: A Biography

Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite actors. He is up there with his contemporaries - Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, and others. So I grabbed this biography the second I saw it at the library.

Every Hollywood biography I have read lately reveals deeply troubled people who continually made poor choices. The biography on Henry Fonda certainly did this. You read deeply personal backgrounds with all the dirty, sordid details of their life. Of course, their personal lives are very different from their on-screen personas.

I heard the opposite was true about Jimmy Stewart. I was curious to see what his life was really like after reading about him in the Henry Fonda bio. The two were very close friends that shared much of their early careers together. Henry Fonda was known to have been loose and free with women. Well, unfortunately, so was Jimmy Stewart. Many, many Hollywood stars married and divorced multiple times, slept around with their co-stars, etc.

Several chapters in, and I have to wonder how accurately Marc Eliot is in his depiction of Stewart. He appears to assign a lot of emotions and motivations to Stewart that doesn't make sense to me. He implies a strained relationship with his father, yet he respected his father. He talks a lot about Stewart's sexuality while Stewart was faithfully married to one woman - a truly rare feat in Hollywood. The author spends A LOT of time on the sordid details of his life.

In any event, I had to stop reading the book. I decided I don't want to know all of Stewart's past sins. I want to enjoy my favorite movies without knowing Stewart's affairs behind the scenes. I want to escape from reality.

The golden age of Hollywood produced some of the best movies and actors of all time, but the truth behind the magic is very dirty.

Book rating: 2 stars

No comments: