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.

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