In just seven years (from 1950 through 1956), Grace Kelly made eleven feature films. They established her as one of the screen's iconic beauties, and as a performer of rare intelligence and wit. Initially, she was sustained by the old studio system, which exerted often punitive control over the life and work of its contract players. But Grace Kelly was not a woman who believed in being subservient to anyone or anything. She refused to submit to the pervasive influence of the movie moguls, thus effectively changing the old rules about how actors ought to behave. After her departure from Hollywood, the film-making capital of the world was never the same again.
Drawing on a series of taped interviews with Grace Kelly which have never been published anywhere, Donald Spoto examines the transformation of a convent girl from Philadelphia, raised in wealth during the Depression, to New York print model to television actress to the last star of Hollywood's Golden Age to European princess. Grace Kelly confided in Donald Spoto, they remained friends until her death, and she wrote the Foreword to his first book, The Art of Alfred Hitchcock. To tell her story, Spoto also draws on interviews conducted with a range of people – from James Stewart and Cary Grant to Fred Zinnemann, who directed Grace in her first major movie as the wife of Gary Cooper in High Noon.
Much has been written about her personal life, and there have been wild allegations about the number of her sexual partners. Most certainly, Grace Kelly was a passionate woman. She had a liking for the style and manners of European men, which culminated in her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. With great tact and insight, Donald Spoto examines her key relationships, not only with the men who loved her, but with great directors, like Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford, who helped make her an enduring star of motion pictures.