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Henry Fonda and James Stewart were two of the biggest stars in Hollywood for 40 years. They became friends and then roommates as stage actors in New York, and when they began making films in Hollywood, they roomed together again. Between them they made such memorable films as The Grapes of Wrath, Mister Roberts, Twelve Angry Men, and On Golden Pond; and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Destry Rides Again, The Philadelphia Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, and Rear Window.
They got along famously, with a shared interest in elaborate practical jokes and model airplanes, among other things. Fonda was a liberal Democrat, Stewart a conservative Republican, but after one memorable blow-up over politics, they agreed never to discuss that subject again. Fonda was a ladies' man who was married five times; Stewart remained married to the same woman for 45 years. Both men volunteered during World War II and were decorated for their service. When Stewart returned home, still unmarried, he once again moved in with Fonda, his wife, and his two children, Jane and Peter, who knew him as Uncle Jimmy.
For Hank and Jim, biographer and film historian Scott Eyman spoke with Fonda's widow and children as well as three of Stewart's children, plus actors and directors who had worked with the men - in addition to doing extensive archival research to get the full details of their time together. This is not another Hollywood story, but a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary friendship that lasted through war, marriages, children, careers, and everything else.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By BCJ in RVA on 12-09-17
Interesting story VERY well narrated
What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The narrator was able to adopt many of the featured personalities' (male and female) general voice/tone when speaking their 'lines," without it coming across as an over-the-top impersonation. As an Audible, it made it more interesting to listen to + he did the voices extremely well.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By MinnMPA on 06-25-18
Fascinating look into these two actors' lives
Sometimes when one hears an audiobook or reads about Hollywood legends, it paints a picture so different that one can't enjoy seeing them in movies anymore. After all, acting is a job, and if people are doing their job then their personal life is their own business. I believe that as an adult. But I also know that through much of the 20th century, studios ran their actors' personal lives - with morals clauses, etc. They wanted the public to believe the actors weren't acting. Most did. Even now, people will judge people on TV and in the news by how they think they come across without knowing them personally at all....politicians, actors, news people. To some degree, anyone knowing they are appearing in front of a camera is acting.
As in most lives, Fonda and Stewart were complicated people - early on living together on a shoestring as actors in summer stock and in NYC - and competing for stage and screen roles. Both served in WWII in perilous positions, with Jimmy Stewart flying as a many dangerous bombing missions. Stewart continued his military career in the USAF Reserve and was promoted to a Brigadier General in 1959, retiring in 1968. Stewart was also only married once - Fonda a number of times. Yet they were very different people - Fonda was not a fan of the "red scare" perpetuated by Joseph McCarthy against Hollywood actors in the 50s. Stewart was a staunch conservative. They set aside their politics to remain lifelong friends.
The book doesn't pull any punches about the men's personal lives, but explains why and how their personas on screen sometimes reflected their real lives - and sometimes were the opposite. Loved the book - narration was very good.