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Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame Hardcover – October 1, 1989

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (October 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688067182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688067182
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written with deep sympathy, stage producer Curcio's biography evokes Grahame as a beautiful woman and talented actress doomed by her outre behavior. Although she distinguished herself professionally in such films as It's a Wonderful Life and The Bad and the Beautiful , Grahame courted scandalous gossip with four unsuitable marriages--one to the son of an ex-husband--and, as an argumentative performer, alienated even admiring directors. She underwent plastic surgery habitually, fixing nonexistent flaws. A trouper, she continued to act until her death from cancer in 198l, at age 57. The author's memories and quotes from those who knew Grahame combine in a poignant book. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dave on March 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is, as far as I know the only biography of Gloria Grahame, and once you start reading it you can't put it down! Her life and film career are explored in depth, using eyewitness accounts as well as Gloria's own words. Gloria Grahame is best remembered today for her awesome femme fatale roles in such classic noirs as "Crossfire", "In a Lonely Place", "Macao", "Sudden Fear", "The Big Heat", "Human Desire", "The Naked Alibi", and "Odds Against Tomorrow". In short, she was THE female icon of 1950s film noir, with a wonderful combination of sensuality and vulnerability in her screen characters.

While reading this book, I was very surprised to learn of Gloria's lifelong obsession with improving her appearance, and I had no idea about her many operations on her face (which was beautiful to begin with!). Obviously she suffered heavily from a lack of self-esteem, although she (usually) didn't let that interfere with her acting. Her troubled and often controversial marriages are explored in depth, although not in a degrading, National Enquirer-like manner. Much of the book covers Gloria's tough but ultimately futile fight against cancer, and I am simply amazed by the courage with which this talented actress faced this final battle of her often tragic life.

Gloria Grahame left this world far too early, but thanks to the popularity of film noir as well as her underated performances she will never be forgotten. She was a great actress and a very friendly person, and this book pays fitting tribute to her. My only complaint is that there is no filmography listed at the end of the book (although all her films ARE discussed in the book). Overall, I highly recommend this outstanding biography to any Gloria Grahame fan.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By greenpete on April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gloria Grahame was an actress whose life was bizarre even by Hollywood standards. A queen of `50s film noir, she also ventured outside that genre, and earned critical respect for playing sultry, vixenish women that literally oozed sex. A B-movie mainstay usually cast in secondary roles, she shone so brightly here that she often upstaged her lead actors. Her big year was 1952, when she appeared in four films and won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress in "The Bad and the Beautiful" (she later gave her statuette to her 5-year-old son as a playtoy). By the '60s, Grahame had, like so many other actresses of her generation, virtually dropped off the Hollywood map. The next twenty years found her grasping for minor TV appearances and work in exploitation films. When she died of cancer in 1981, she was doing parochial theatre and appearing in cameo film roles.

Though Grahame was secretive and will probably forever be an enigma, this book helps clear up a lot of her mystery. It was published in 1989 when many of Grahame's acting associates were still alive. Author Curcio had the enviable opportunity to interview them. This included actors Robert Mitchum and John Ireland, producer John Houseman (who called the actress "loony"), director Edward Dmytryck (who directed Grahame in "Crossfire"), and many others. Though Gloria's eccentricities eventually alienated many who knew her, her sister Joy Mitchum (married to Robert's brother) remained close until the end, and her remembrances and insights flesh out the biography.

Curcio has a stage background and actually worked with Grahame not long before her death. While he treats his subject with reverence and respect, he's also honest, unafraid to include quotes from people critical of the actress.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By faeriemyst VINE VOICE on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Gloria Grahame was an extraordinarily talented woman and actress. She lived a very interesting life, both on and off the screen. Her performances are as good or better than some of the most famous actresses of her time, and I think she deserves the same respect and recognition they have received.

Suicide Blonde is the only biography of Gloria Grahame that I have found. The back and forth style of writing, e.g. career life to home life, then back again, is not the kind of writing style that I normally enjoy. I got a little confused from time to time as to what films she was in at the time so and so happened in her life and then had to go back to try and figure it out. However, even with that said I can't find fault with either the content, which was very interesting to say the least, or how well written it was, especially the ending, which I found to be a beautifully written and moving piece.

All in all it was a great biography and I hope she is never forgotten.
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