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Book Review

Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style, Richard Torregrossa

Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style

Richard Torregrossa
Bulfinch Press, September 2006

Reviewer: Elena DeSosa
Posted: September 22, 2008

* * * * * *

Cary Grant: a Celebration of Style is not, as the title implies, merely concerned with the iconic actor’s wardrobe; rather it expands upon his lifestyle, mannerisms, and a chronicled biography of his personal and professional life.

This surprisingly intimate portrait of Grant is an indulgent blend of legendary photographs and confidential details on the actor that simultaneously instills the reader with a sense that they’ve met and known Grant, while carefully illustrating his ascent to the pinnacle of masculine style and elegance in Hollywood.

We are introduced to the actor not as Cary Grant but as Archie Leach, a boy from provincial England with a very modest upbringing. He begins his career as a vaudevillian acrobat and ends it a movie star at the age of sixty-two, wealthy, iconic and still in his hey-day as a box office draw. Author Richard Torregrossa addresses the unlikelihood of Grant’s meteoric rise and impresses upon the reader that there was a hard-fought battle behind Grant’s eventual status as a fashion icon and “a perennial inspiration to fans and fashion designers alike.”

One of the most intriguing aspects of the biography is the clear sense that every detail of Grant’s image and demeanor was deliberate. From the way that he spoke to the way that he lit a woman’s cigarette, Grant was always very aware of the way that each of his actions would render him to the world at large. Despite portraying a sense of effortless ease to his persona, Torregrossa conveys that there was always a great deal of calculation behind every movement that Cary Grant made. This not only serves to humanize Grant, but to make his story all the more inspiring.

By pitting Grant as an underdog, Torregrossa leaves readers rooting for the actor, frustrated at the difficulties he faces along the way and cheering for his triumphs. This biography essentially succeeds in creating a relatable, engaging and impeccably-groomed protagonist, with a classically gratifying culmination leaving readers with the sentiment “Only in Hollywood.”

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Copyright Info

Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style, Richard Torregrossa
Bulfinch Press, September 2006

Review © Elena DeSosa, 2008

Segments quoted from this review must give credit to both the reviewer--Elena DeSosa and The review may not be resold or re-distributed in any manner without express, written consent from the reviewer and/or

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