1994 1st edition "First Edition" stated; Harper An Francisco publishers; hardbound in grey and red boards with gilt lettering along spine; many great black and white photographs; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
This dual biography reveals, as never before, the secret life and the extraordinary relationship of Hollywood's legendary pair: Greta Garbo and Cecil Beaton, the celebrated Hollywood photographer who immortalized her image.
The story of the notoriously reclusive film star from Sweden and the noted British photographer is a curious one. Neither ever married, both were androgynous and bisexual, plucked their eyebrows, and had numerous short-term relationships. They were like chalk and cheese; Beaton was a compulsive writer and diarist, while Garbo was reluctant to pick up a pen even to sign her own name. He adored parties, publicity, dressing up in frocks and photographing himself or posing for others behind the lens (he couldn’t look more feminine in two pictures of him in frocks by Dorothy Wilding from 1925 if he tried), while she was very much an early bed at night person, preferred to wear unfussy men’s clothes, and was reluctant to be photographed at all if she could help it. It is significant that the one picture of them together in the book, taken in London in 1951, shows her deliberately hiding her face behind what looks like a handbag.
An inveterate social climber, Beaton cheated his way into Harrow and Cambridge. Not long afterwards he became obsessed with the Garbo legend, and was desperate to meet her. While in Hollywood in 1932 on an assignment to photograph the likes of Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich, he achieved his ambition, as he later chronicled in minute detail in his diary. She was very friendly towards him, told him he was beautiful, kissed a rose and handed it to him. He took it home, framed it in silver and hung it above his bed. Many years later an obsessive collector of memorabilia bought it for £750.