Thursday, September 27, 2012


It's hard to believe now, but in the early 1950s Marilyn and Grace were considered rivals. A movie magazine asked its readers to compare "Heat" (Marilyn) to "Ice" (Grace). Grace was sometimes called "The pious man's Marilyn." There were some similarities between them. Both were blonde and beautiful, and both their careers took off at the beginning of the decade.

But there were stark differences as well. Marilyn grew up poor in a series of foster homes and an orphanage in Los Angeles. Grace was the privileged daughter of one of the richest men in Philadelphia. Grace went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Marilyn was largely self-taught and coached. Marilyn's screen image was highly sexualized, but in her private life she rarely even dated until she met Joe DiMaggio in 1952. Grace's screen image was as an ice queen, but privately she had affairs with nearly all her leading men, most of them much older and very married.

Grace won respect and an Academy Award. Marilyn was never even nominated for one.

Grace left acting to marry Prince Rainier in 1956, and it was that year that Marilyn finally got her respect as an actress with her great performance in Bus Stop.
Both of them died unexpectedly, and too young. Marilyn became the avatar of Hollywood; many consider her the greatest movie star in history.

In death, Grace has not approached Marilyn as an icon. A strong example occurred just in the last few months. The fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn's death was covered by every major media outlet as though it were a news event.

To my surprise, the thirtieth anniversary of Grace's death in September went virtually unremarked upon. Perhaps there had been so much attention paid to Marilyn that wary editors shied away from similar coverage of Grace's anniversary and legacy.

Perhaps Grace's fiftieth anniversary will be covered as widely as Marilyn's. But it's pretty clear who won the Marilyn vs. Grace contest.

My book Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess is now an e-book. Her life story is rich and fascinating. I urge you to download a copy from Amazon!

Friday, September 14, 2012


It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since Princess Grace's untimely death after an auto accident in Monaco. A car in which she and Princess Stephanie were riding careened off a twisting mountainside road and landed upside down next to a farmer's vegetable patch on September 13, 1982.

Like so many high-profile deaths, Grace's has it share of mysterious aspects. A driver in a truck behind Grace's Rover 3500 noticed the car swerving, and honked his horn. The swerving stopped, as though someone had been dozing off and was brought alert by the blast of the horn. But then the driver watched in horror as the car went straight off the cliff, with no attempt to steer clear of the edge, or even to brake.

What happened inside that car? Stephanie has never, in three decades, given a full account. All she told her father was that "Mommy panicked--she lost control." That explanation raised more questions than it answered. Grace had clearly regained control of the car when it stopped swerving, but then did nothing to stop it going off the cliff.

Some even suggested that Grace's problems in her marriage and with her children had led her to commit suicide by auto. I found this highly unlikely. Others thought Stephanie may have been driving, a theory bolstered by the fact that she crawled out of the car from the driver's side.

One of my main goals as I wrote "Grace" was the find out the truth.

I went to Paris, and became the only journalist allowed by the French police to review the official reports on Grace's death and interview the police captain who conducted the investigation for the local gendarmerie. The reports answered many questions, and led me to a conclusion as to what truly happened.

All this and the rest of Grace's fascinating life is included in the new eBook version of my book "Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess," now available on Amazon Kindle for just $9.99.

 I hope you'll give it a read!

Thanks to all!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


My Grace Kelly biography was my first New York Times bestseller, and it changed my life. I was now a serious biographer, not just a fan writing books on his favorites or a picture editor. Not to knock those efforts--I'm very proud of them--but Grace put me in a whole new category.

For a biographer, there's nothing so satisfying as to uncover something previously unknown about a subject that changes the public's perception of him or her. With Grace, I discovered that her public persona as "the girl in the white gloves" who was chaperoned on chaste dates by her sister (after she became a star!) was nothing but press agentry. The Grace I wrote about had a full and varied sex life, sleeping with fellow acting students, her acting coach, and four of her first six leading men (all of whom were much older and already married.)

I was actually a bit stunned by the reaction to the book. It was the talk of the town--articles appeared, I was interviewed on all three morning news programs (highly unusual for a book author!), and the book became a bestseller in twelve countries.

The reason for that was the utter surprise readers felt on learning that Grace was a normal, sexually active young woman in Hollywood. Many thought she was a virgin at 26 when she married Prince Ranier of Monaco--including the prince himself! Highly unlikely--but Grace's chaste public image was so meticulously cultivated that many through it a real likelihood.

My greatest satisfaction came not from discovering this information, but from learning why Grace behaved the way she did. Over the next weeks, I'll share some anecdotes with you that explain her youthful promiscuity.