A Rose for Mrs Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/9/16
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In this first-ever biography of Greer Garson, Michael Troyan sweeps away the many myths that even today veil her life. The true origins of her birth, her fairy-tale discovery in Hollywood, and her career struggles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are revealed for the first time. Garson combined an everywoman quality with grace, charm, and refinement. She won the Academy Award in 1941 for her role in Mrs. Miniver, and for the next decade she reigned as the queen of MGM. Co-star Christopher Plummer remembered, "Here was a siren who had depth, strength, dignity, and humor who could inspire great trust, suggest deep intellect and whose misty languorous eyes melted your heart away!" Garson earned a total of seven Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, and fourteen of her films premiered at Radio City Music Hall, playing for a total of eighty-four weeks--a record never equaled by any other actress. She was a central figure in the golden age of the studios, working with legendary performers Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Robert Mitchum, Debbie Reynolds, and Walter Pidgeon. Garson's experiences offer a fascinating glimpse at the studio system in the years when stars were closely linked to a particular studio and moguls such as L.B. Mayer broke or made careers. With the benefit of exclusive access to studio production files, personal letters and diaries, and the cooperation of her family, Troyan explores the triumphs and tragedies of her personal life, a story more colorful than any role she played on screen.
"(Troyan) successfully evokes the enormous drive, self-awareness and capacity for kindness of an actress who, inevitably, was more complex than her screen image indicated." -- Dallas Morning News
"The author has done his homework in researching and writing this critical biography of legendary superstar Greer Garson. He presents Garson as a strong-willed, stubborn individual when with the studio moguls -- she was not quite the elegant that she often played in pictures." -- Gene Phillips
"MGM's great lady was a bit of an Irish cut-up, radiant, funny, brave, and smart. Michael Troyan knows that, and has written a most entertaining book about my friend, Greer." -- Gregory Peck
"A sweet, contained view of Louis B. Mayer's favorite actress and Hollywood's icon of WWII fortitude." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Amid the glowing tributes that Troyan offers in his diligent account of this most elegant of stars, one poignant headline that ran in many newspapers after her death read simply: Goodbye, Mrs. Miniver." -- Movie Maker
"The biography is brilliant and author Troyan dares to delve in to aspects of her life that Garson might otherwise have wished to remain dormant. But in every case, Michael presents his findings in a fair and well-balanced manner, allowing readers to determine for themselves the true nature of a nurturing, nourishing, loving woman." -- Palo Alto Daily News
"In a definitive biography, Troyan takes readers from Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson's birth in London in 1904 to her death in Dallas in 1996 as she held the hand of her good friend, the pianist Van Cliburn." -- Publishers Weekly
"The rich, well-written and heavily researched book is a touching memoir revealing much about the actress who was 'Queen of MGM' and a top box office draw for most of the 1940s." -- The Albuquerque Tribune商品の説明をすべて表示する
But actors are different. Some of them have had their biographies written in such a way that it makes you wonder how difficult it would be to come up with a more preposterous, or worse, more scurrilous book. The prime example of the latter still is "Sweethearts," a joint biography of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, coincidentally two of MGM's biggest stars at the time when Miss Garson joined the studio, with which author Sharon Rich managed to bring Hollywood biographies to an unprecedented low of appalling bad taste, dishonesty, and overall amateurishness.
The star-system is largely to blame for such a state of things. For decades it was known that stars had their public profiles manipulated so as to "sell" better. The whole thing bordered on insanity, what with names being changed, birthdates altered, family history rewritten, personal habits fabricated, physical traits modified, and so on and so forth. Whatever came out about stars was not to be trusted in any way. Quite naturally, when the big boom of showbiz biographies began, most authors thought it was quite all right to write their books in the manner of publicity material and fan magazines. It took a long time for the public to become more discriminating and biographies that took their subjects seriously to become the rule, not the exception.
Michael Troyan's "A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson" is a fine example of what Hollywood biographies should be. A gem of a book. To begin with, it's a charming book, extremely well written, attractive all the way, consistent and scholarly, without a single segment that could be called dull. It treats its subject with both objectivity and sympathy. Greer Garson was in many ways an enigmatic character. Too many aspects of her life and career had never been made very clear. One of the most fascinating aspects of her movie stardom, we know now, was the fact that she was 35 when her first film was released, the same age as Garbo (who was one year younger than Garson) when she started to make her final film. The circumstances surrounding her theater days in London and her late arrival to films are discussed with great care, as is Louis B. Mayer's famous single mindedness regarding his stars.
Garson's struggle to escape being stereotyped as the kind of woman epitomized by her most famous role, Mrs. Miniver (for which she won an Oscar), speaks volumes of how much more difficult it must have been for creative actors to work at MGM than at other studios, while learning that she called most of her roles "walking cathedrals" speaks volumes of her delightful sense of humor. Under the light of these insights, it becomes even more lamentable that her employers should choose not to yield to her plea to play comedy, which she could have alternated with drama the way Katharine Hepburn did at the same studio. Surely, the extremely rare occasions when she was allowed to "make 'em laugh," of which the unplanned streap-tease of sorts with the five male dancers in "Julia Misbehaves" will remain the prime example, leave no doubt about her superb comic timing.
Her personal life is also told with objectivity and sympathy. A complex woman, very sweet and ladylike, endlessly kind and generous to her colleagues, she was by all accounts an absolutely adorable person who could also be, we're told, as temperamental as a prima donna, the balance between these two apparently clashing aspects of the same personality making for a fascinating character. The author's admirable work of bringing this character to life in a scholarly, immensely enjoyable book is no small achievement. It decidedly makes it a must for anyone who cares for actors and for the period being depicted. As I finish this review, I almost feel tempted to give it that recalcitrant fifth star.
March 10, 2016 - Since writing the above review and giving the book four stars, I have read a number of actors biographies that made me think of the likes of Michael Troyan as modern heroes in the sense that they are the guardians of a very noble cause: to sustain the principle that actors should have their lives told with the same honesty and professionalism found in biographies of other areas. It is utterly unacceptable to write/publish a book based on lies, stories that cannot be verified, and scandals that have been repeated for ages in spite of the knowledge that they are false. Michael Troyan's life of Greer Garson is one of the most elegant, reliable, and pleasant biographies to have come out in a very long time. It was unfair and thoughtless of me to give it four stars. That's why I decided to edit this review and give the book the five stars it more than deserves.
* The reviewer can be contacted at email@example.com
This book covers all the ground, and you get a clear picture of a worker bee, sometimes having bouts of ego, mostly generous to costars, sometimes scatter-brained, sometimes sharp, suffering through some dire illness but bringing out her inner Miniver, who carved out a fantastic career for herself, and married happily and ended wealthy and lived a long, fruitful life. What more could you ask for?
Garson was born in London in 1904. She became a star on the London stage inspite of being in a string of failing productions, due to her immense talents shining thru. While in a London play, she was discoved by L.B.Mayer on one of his talent searches. She subsequently came to the US.
She was frustrated by Mayer's refusal to allow her to play a variety of roles and frequently appeared in costume dramas with favorite co-star, Walter Pigeon, hence her nickname 'Actress with the Bustle.' She and Pigeon became life-long friends.
Her 1st marriage to a British officer stationed in India, was a disaster. Her 2nd was to her co-star in Mrs. Miniver, Richard Ney, who played her son, strangely enough. Her final marriage was to Col. Buddy Fogelson and it was a very happy one.
A Rose for Mrs Miniver is well written. The research done by the author shows as he discovered the true year of her birth and its location.
Greer Garson was a vivacious, engaging woman who was well educated and lived into her 90's. She was a class act. I enjoyed this bio immensely.