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

The book you are holding is the story of a working life, from Grace's days as a model and television actress to her final film, made not long before her death. Although that last movie has never been released, it leaves no doubt that Grace was one of the foremost talents of her time, our time, any time. I am fortunate to be able to treat this last, unavailable movie in considerable detail here, as well as a wide selection of her television appearances, which have been, up to now, completely ignored by biographers.

With very few exceptions, Grace's story has not, I think, been generally well served by writers. Apart from an astonishing array of factual errors and omissions, there has been an accumulation of imagined events and fantasies about all kinds of things—love affairs particularly, most of which turn out to be utterly without basis in fact. She was, as I have written here, certainly a healthy, beautiful young woman with normal desires— and most of all, a deep capacity to love and to be loved. As she told me, she "fell in love all the time" before she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. But falling in love did not always mean falling into bed. I have tried to correct the record on this and other more important issues, without fudging the truth—she would have hated that.

Grace's achievements were singular in several ways—not least in the sheer volume of her movie work within a very short period. She worked for two days on a film during the summer of 1950, and then—from September 1951 to March 1956—she appeared in ten films in just four years and six months. But there was a one- year hiatus during this period, so it is more accurate to state that she made ten films in forty- two months. By any standard of assessment, that is a formidable record. In addition, she also appeared in no fewer than thirty- six live television dramas and two Broadway plays between 1948 and 1954.

High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly has been a privilege to write, for it is both a testament to our friendship as well as a biography. To exploit a cliché: Grace was far more than just a pretty face.

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