EXCERPT: 'High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly'

In December, I sent her the final draft of The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, and on January 16, 1976, a diplomatic courier arrived at my New York apartment, bearing her introduction to the book and a charming cover letter: "I am enclosing the foreword," she wrote, "as well as the galley sheets that I very much enjoyed reading. It will certainly be a great book about Alfred Hitchcock." The book was published in August of that year, with Grace's remarks right up front. Thirty- three years later it is still in print. Doubleday purchased it from the original publisher; foreign translations appeared; and Grace's introduction still honors my debut as a writer. Her generosity was a significant addition and brought the book attention from some who, I am certain, would otherwise have ignored it. And yes, she said, of course I could exploit both her words and her name in promoting the book.

In the summer of 1976, Grace invited me to the palace in Monaco, where I presented her with the second copy of the published book—the first, of course, went to Hitchcock. It was a torrid, humid day, and she returned from her country house especially for our reunion. As I was shown into the family quarters, Grace was standing in an orange chiffon outfit, trying, with difficulty, to fasten a bracelet. "Oh, Donald," she said, smiling and extending her wrist when she saw me, "would you please help me with this?"

"What shall we have to drink?" she said afterwards, as we settled onto a settee facing open French doors to a terrace and trying to catch a breeze. We decided on sparkling water. That day I also met Princess Caroline, who came in, fresh and alarmingly beautiful, and briefly joined us. Her mother was proud to show off her intelligent, poised daughter, then a university student in Paris. I was booked into Grace's schedule for an hour in the late morning, but she insisted that I remain for lunch.

From 1975 until Hitchcock's death in 1980, I was a kind of go- between, delivering messages back and forth from Monaco to Hollywood during my various visits with Hitch and Grace. With the probable exception of his wife, he did not easily confide in anyone—but I was an acolyte, and he dropped the mask of diffidence with me, especially at the elaborate lunches prepared just for the two of us in the dining room of his offices at Universal Studios. At such times he was more frank than if we were doing a formal interview. He rarely laughed, but I saw tears run down his face when he spoke, for example, of his recently deceased sister.

Grace, on the other hand, was consistently more forthright and unguarded once she felt confident of my trust. I think this was one of the reasons she offered to write the foreword to my book, and to entrust me with details of her association with Hitch and of her life and career.

When Grace died, I was asked by National Public Radio in the United States to compose and broadcast a tribute to her. It was one of the most difficult assignments of my life, before or since. I spoke briefly of our friendship and of our many conversations about the great and small things of life.

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