Norma Shearer: A Biography

Gavin Lambert, Author
Gavin Lambert, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24.95 (381p) ISBN 978-0-394-55158-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
One of the few stars of the silent era to seque successfully into sound films, Norma Shearer (1902-1983) immersed herself in the art of cinematic illusion, emerging as one of MGM's most talented and glittering early stars. The centerpiece of such classic films as Marie Antoinette , Private Lives and The Women , Shearer was equally well-known for her marriage to boy-mogul cum Hollywood myth Irving Thalberg. Lambert's opening chapter, in which he meets the long-retired, septuagenarian film legend in a Hollywood restaurant, holds the promise of a guided tour to the outer reaches of ambition and vanity. But Shearer's mask is opaque, and Lambert ( On Cukor ) is unable to peel it away. Preposterously vain and steel-willed even from the grave, the actress ultimately triumphs over her biographer as the keeper of her own flame. Photos. (May) .
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