Actor Granger recalls life onstage and in film in an engaging, colorful memoir.
Granger had good looks, good luck and good timing, ending up center stage for the golden ages of film, Broadway and live TV. To get into films, he struggled naught. A casting director for Samuel Goldwyn spotted Granger at 18 acting in a play in Los Angeles. Goldwyn signed Granger to a long-term contract in 1943. A series of leading roles followed in mostly second-rate films. Granger fared better on loan-outs to other studios, especially to Warner Bros., where Hitchcock directed him in the classic suspenser Strangers on a Train. The catch was that Goldwyn added loan-out time to other Draconian contract terms. Reaching into Goldwyn’s grab-bag of hilarious malapropisms, Granger begged the producer to “Include me out.” Granger wanted to act and study acting in New York. Only after a costly settlement with Goldwyn was Granger freed. He then studied with Sandy Meisner, honed his craft in stock and TV and hit Broadway, at last, in the musical First Impressions, a flop. Continuing to work in film, he made Senso in Italy with Luchino Visconti. Granger’s extended production log for this film highlights the book. The actor offers less detail about the person, seldom providing glimpses of what he’s like between takes. He does recall affairs with women (Shelley Winters, Ava Gardner) and men (playwright Arthur Laurents) and writes of his bisexuality with equanimity: “I have loved men. I have loved women. I will talk with affection and without guilt or remorse about both in this book.”
Granger, who knows the dramatic when he sees it, fills his story with vivid moments from his career.