JAMES STEWART by Lawrence J. Quirk


Behind the Scenes of a Wonderful Life
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 Readers interested in finding out more about Stewart and his distinguished career, his signal roles in movies such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Winchester '73, Harvey, and Vertigo, should steer far wide of this stunningly inept work. This is not a biography in any conventional sense. A few facts and dates may flutter by, events come and go, but this is essentially a dull exercise in cheap and unconvincing sensationalism. Under the smarmy pretense of presenting the ``whole'' Stewart, veteran celebrity dirt-digger Quirk (Totally Uninhibited: The Life and Wild Times of Cher, 1991, etc.) unearths only a few spoonfuls of unsubstantiated innuendo. And it all comes down to this: Stewart may or may not have been bisexual and may or may not have had affairs with actors such as Henry Fonda. Not much to build a book around, especially considering that Quirk has almost no proof for any of this beyond allegation and insinuation: Stewart was roommates with Fonda; he married late, at 41; he enjoyed the masculine camaraderie of the air force during his WW II service. And these paltry imputations are Quirk's strongest evidence. Because he is so obsessed with his hypothesis, he has little time, beyond a sentence or two, for other dirt, such as Stewart's supposed cheapness. For its genre, this book is remarkably pallid, lacking even a scintilla of gabby, trashy fun. Not a wonderful account of a life. (50 b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 50,000)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-55783-329-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Applause
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997