cover image A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson

A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson

Michael Troyan. University Press of Kentucky, $40 (520pp) ISBN 978-0-8131-2094-2

In a definitive biography, Troyan takes readers from Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson's birth in London in 1904 to her death in Dallas in 1996 as she held the hand of her good friend, the pianist Van Cliburn. Troyan's work is thorough and features many personal interviews with her family, friends and colleagues. Garson briefly worked in provincial companies and in London theater until a minor role in the film Goodbye, Mr. Chips led her to Hollywood in 1937. It was there, in 1942, that she played her defining role: Mrs. Miniver, an indomitable British wife and mother during WWII. The part won her an Academy Award, but, as Troyan explains, it also circumscribed her career, as studio officials cast her in carbon-copy roles. Even a move from MGM to Warner Bros. couldn't free her from typecasting. On the personal side, Troyan reveals that although Garson's first two marriages were dismal flops, her third, to Texas oil millionaire, rancher and philanthropist E.E. Fogelson, was supremely happy. Ending her film career in 1967, Garson did some television and stage work, but gradually confined her life to the Southwest, spending her last four years in a hospital. She expressed only one regret: ""I wish I had been an actress rather than a movie star."" Included in this strong biography are 48 b&w photos. Agent, Carol Schild. (Nov.)