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A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson Hardcover – November 5, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a definitive biography, Troyan takes readers from Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson's birth in London in 1904 to her death in Dallas in 1996 as she held the hand of her good friend, the pianist Van Cliburn. Troyan's work is thorough and features many personal interviews with her family, friends and colleagues. Garson briefly worked in provincial companies and in London theater until a minor role in the film Goodbye, Mr. Chips led her to Hollywood in 1937. It was there, in 1942, that she played her defining role: Mrs. Miniver, an indomitable British wife and mother during WWII. The part won her an Academy Award, but, as Troyan explains, it also circumscribed her career, as studio officials cast her in carbon-copy roles. Even a move from MGM to Warner Bros. couldn't free her from typecasting. On the personal side, Troyan reveals that although Garson's first two marriages were dismal flops, her third, to Texas oil millionaire, rancher and philanthropist E.E. Fogelson, was supremely happy. Ending her film career in 1967, Garson did some television and stage work, but gradually confined her life to the Southwest, spending her last four years in a hospital. She expressed only one regret: "I wish I had been an actress rather than a movie star." Included in this strong biography are 48 b&w photos. Agent, Carol Schild.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A sweet, contained view of Louis B. Mayer's favorite actress and Hollywood's icon of WWII fortitude. Garson had no children (``no life has everything,'' she commented, characteristically). Thus she eliminated the chance for nasty child tell-alls and left the mantle of remembrance to respectful outsiders. Troyan, a photo coordinator for Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, fits the bill, granting the warmth and distance due a subject who held afternoon teas on the set but also read the classics between takes. There's little ancient family history unearthed, except for observations on her seafaring ancestors, her erudite father (who died young), and her sickly early youth. After a triumph on the London stage, Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was brought to Hollywood in 1937 by Louis B. Mayer as another of his foreign discoveries. For months she languished, until her tiny role as wife in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) made her a star. Soon thereafter followed Mrs. Miniver (1942). If this book does nothing else, it re-creates the sadly exquisite timing and great power of Miniver to galvanize US prowar sympathies and provide Garson with a lifelong symbol, the rose. By the time her film career ended in 1967, she had won seven Oscar nominations (and one win, for Miniver); had begun her extensive philanthropic efforts; and was deep in a happy third marriage to businessman Buddy Fogelson. Until her death in 1996, she retained her persona among fans as Queen of MGM, the fine lady with the orange hair. Public opinion changed little even after her 1940s divorce from Miniver co-star Richard Ney (who had played her son!). Expect no new revelations on film history or shocking discoveries about Garson's personal life; instead, veneration for a seemly star. (48 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; 1St Edition edition (November 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813120942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813120942
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
All too often, celebrity biographies are depressing catalogs of scandal and hedonistic, self-destructive behavior. Not this biography. When you finish it, you are sad, but it's because Greer Garson is no longer with us and you will never have the opportunity to meet her.
This fascinating biography is full of vignettes that reveal the character and personality of this woman who overcame chronic illness and many other obstacles to become one of Hollywood's most respected actresses. Examples of her warmth, sincerity, and decentness abound. As her beloved husband of more than thirty years to whom she is devoted lies near death in a Dallas hospital, she stands by his bedside with an old friend and recites from memory her favorite Psalm. Asked to read the Bible at a church service on Easter she realizes she has forgotten her glasses. She composes herself and ad libs for the congregation a beautiful and memorable message of her own.
She contributes millions to fund libraries, build theaters, establish scholarships, and support medical facilities. At the College of Santa Fe to which she has donated millions, she can be found on occasion pulling weeds and tending favorite rose bushes. She was so admired and respected in Texas where she had a home that she was formally asked to run for the U.S. Congress.
One hopes that Mr. Troyan or some other writer will gather Greer Garson's letters and publish them and that the A&E Network will finally remember her in an installment of "Biography." In the meantime, Garson fans should buy this book. It will inspire you and enrich your life and your appreciation of this beloved actress will only deepen. A richly detailed, superbly written biography of a truly lovely human being!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a tragedy that the work of this great actress seems to have been forgotten,the best example being that none of Miss Garson's
good films have found their way on to DVD. All of her films premiered to packed houses at NY's Radio City and quite a few broke box office records, including Mrs Miniver,Blossoms In the Dust,Madame Curie,Random Harvest,and Goodbye Mr Chips. I learnt many things about Greer Garson that I hadn't known, for example,she was born in London in 1904,not Ireland in 1908 as her publicist would have us believe. She made a name for herself on the London stage, before going to Hollywood, and despite an amicable relationship with Louis B Mayer, was freqently fustrated by his refusal to allow her to perform a range of roles,instead putting her in period dramas - hence her nickname of the Actress with the Bustle. She married three times (not two as is most commonly written) the first time disastrously to a British officer stationed in India, the second to Mrs Miniver co star Richard Ney (a union that didn't survive WW11) and finally when in her forties, to Col Buddy Fogelson, a marriage that lasted until his death many years later. A Rose for Mrs Miniver is a credit to author Michael Troyan, well written and well researched. Thanks to him we come to know this warm vivacious woman who lived her life with flare and class, - and who wasn't afraid to take risks - pretty well. I particularly enjoyed the recounting of Greer's refusal to be [pulled] in by Joan Crawford's jealousy and rudeness, and of her close life long friendship with regular co star Walter Pidgeon.
A wonderful book, thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Troyan's writing style provides so much insight and information about this wonderful person, one cannot help but feel that Greer Garson had become a personal friend long before the end of the book. His extensive research has resulted in a genuine treasure for Greer's old fans and the new ones generated from reading this well-done biography. He is to be congratulated on an easy-to-read format with amazing attention not only to the details of Greer's life, but also to the history of Hollywood's Glamour Years and the behind-the-scenes activities that resulted in so many of our favorite movies. This book celebrates someone who wouldn't quit or loose sight of her goals, while "following her star". One cannot help but be inspired to excellence after reading Michael's tribute to Greer Garson. Highly recommended for readers of ALL ages.
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By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an utterly enjoyable book, both for the fans of Greer Garson and for fans of classic Hollywood in general. Michael Troyan weaves her story together with all the simplicity, grace, and humor that his subject deserves. The best feature, to me, is the wealth of personal commment included that Miss Garson had on her own life, as the reader sees her wit, personality, and loveliness of being begin to take form. It is the best star biography that I have read.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent read if you're into details. For me, the details got a little overwhelming, but I so much wanted to learn more about this actress that I admire greatly. Sadly, as the author himself stated, it was difficult to write a biography because Greer Garson was a very private person and did not give many interviews or express many personal opinions in public. However, he richly details her movies, her public service, and others' opinions of her (and a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold). I have always enjoyed watching her many films and am tracking down as many of them as I can on DVD so this made for a fine addition to my collection of her work. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading and loves any of her many films.
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