The luminous star of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Shane,
and other classic films was, as the subtitle aptly puts it, "the actress nobody knew." Jean Arthur (1900-91) kept her personal life private, disdained the Hollywood publicity machine, and was called "difficult" because of her perfectionism and remoteness from costars on the movie set. John Oller, a lawyer, tracked down kinsfolk and friends never before interviewed to capture the elusive personality of a free spirit best embodied in her favorite role, Peter Pan. Arthur herself might have appreciated his warm, respectful portrait.
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