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A Rose for Mrs. Miniver

The Life of Greer Garson

Michael Troyan

Publication Year: 1999

" 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.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

A Rose for Mrs. Miniver

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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

HALF A CENTURY AGO, in a world where the primary form of entertainment was the black-and-white motion picture and the movie star was of magical interest, the advent of Greer Garson was of major importance. Some actors achieve stellar position due to talent, a particular original persona, exploitation, and good fortune. Then there are ...

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pp. ix-xiii

IN THE FALL OF 1994 when I first began the research for this, my first book, I thought of Greer Garson—as most cinema audiences and film scholars do—as a rose-colored creature of celluloid, the very incarnation of the English lady: graceful, witty, beautiful, and courageous. She was known to me then as Mrs. Miniver, Paula Ridgeway ...

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pp. 1-4

ON THE EVENING OF MARCH 4, 1943, as waiters in the Ambassador Hotel began serving dinner to the attendees of the fifteenth annual Academy Awards ceremony, Louis B. Mayer glanced at his watch. It read 8:15. Sitting with Ronald Colman and Walter Pidgeon and their wives, Benita and Ruth, the most powerful mogul in Hollywood ...

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Act One: London

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pp. 5-66

The imperious Garson is suddenly in charge:' Among the inquiries most frequently asked by interviewers, and seldom answered by Greer, were questions about her birth. Typically, she attempted a diversion with an offer of a second cup of tea or a Scotch scone from her silver tea service. She might mention her astrological sign. "I was ...

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Act Two: Hollywood

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pp. 67-222

IN THE BEGINNING OF THE 1954 FILM, Her Twelve Men, Greer Garson's voice is heard narrating a near autobiographical montage of colorful, dreamlike images. "When I was a child;' she intones, "and given to daydreaming, I had many visions of myself as a grownup.... Always I was glamorous, heroic and beloved. But dreams have a way ...

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Act Three: Dallas

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pp. 223-265

GREER ARRIVED AT THE TRAIN STATION in Lamy, New Mexico, at ten o'clock on the morning of July 15, 1949. Buddy was there with a welcoming committee of friends that included New Mexico Governor Thomas J. Mabry. Avoiding the publicity of a downtown church wedding, they took her to the Santa Fe home of Buddy's friend, ...

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pp. 366-370

IN A 1991 INTERVIEW with Philip Wuntch of the Dallas Morning News, Greer had offered this reflection upon her life: "I've always lived by a few golden rules. Do as you would be done by. Be of good cheer. Strive to be happy. If you want to do it, you can do it. You just have to be open to life's surprises at every age. I know I've been blessed. ...

The Performances of Greer Garson

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pp. 371-404


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pp. 405-438


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pp. 439-442


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pp. 443-463

Plates following page 50

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pp. 464-471

Plates following page 178

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pp. 472-487

Plates following page 306

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pp. 488-503

E-ISBN-13: 9780813128429
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813120942

Page Count: 520
Publication Year: 1999