I Said Yes to Everything
By Lee Grant
(Blue Rider Press, Hardcover, 9780399169304, 480pp.)
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
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Born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal in New York City, actress Lee Grant spent her youth accumulating more experiences than most people have in a lifetime: from student at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse to member of the legendary Actors Studio; from celebrated Broadway star to Vogue It Girl.” At age twenty-four, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Detective Story, and a year later found herself married and a mother for the first time, her career on the rise.
And then she lost it all.
Her name landed on the Hollywood blacklist, her offers for film and television roles ground to a halt, and her marriage fell apart.
Finding reserves of strength she didn’t know she had, Grant took action against anti-Communist witch hunts in the arts. She threw herself into work, accepting every theater or teaching job that came her way. She met a man ten years her junior and began a wild, liberating fling that she never expected would last a lifetime. And after twelve years of fighting the blacklist, she was finally exonerated. With courage and style, Grant rebuilt her life on her own terms: first stop, a starring role on Peyton Place, and then leads in Valley of the Dolls, In the Heat of the Night, and Shampoo, for which she won her first Oscar.
Set amid the New York theater scene of the fifties and the star-studded parties of Malibu in the seventies, I Said Yes to Everything evokes a world of political passion and movie-star glamour. Grant tells endlessly delightful tales of costars and friends such as Warren Beatty, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Sidney Poitier, and writes with the verve and candor befitting such a seductive and beloved star.
Lee Grant is an Emmy and Academy Awardwinning actress and director. In 1989, Women in Film honored Grant with their first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Grant founded the production company Feury/Grant with her husband and is an adjunct professor at Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in New York City.
After losing 12 years of her career to the communist blacklist, the actress and director spent decades lying about her age to make up for lost time. Her new memoir recounts her life in Hollywood. More at NPR.org
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“The elegant theater and screen actress bares all of her insecurities and regrets…But there’s also an intimacy and directness in how she shares—including numerous dishy, behind-the-glam anecdotes….Grant has lived a long, full life. While she may prefer to be coy about precisely how long it’s lasted so far, I Said Yes to Everything serves as evidence that it’s been long enough to give her a meaty, multifaceted and compelling story to tell.”—Jen Chaney, The Washington Post
“[N]o-holds-barred…Grant doesn’t make us read between the lines here; it’s all right there, on the page. When she was jubilant after winning an Oscar for her supporting role in Shampoo, we know it; when she was disgusted, as when a television network canceled her series without telling her, we know it, too; and, of course, when she was dismayed and bewildered and depressed when she couldn’t find work during her 12-year blacklisting, we know it for sure….An excellent show-business autobiography.
—Booklist, STARRED review
“In this wonderful memoir, actor Grant charts her life from a childhood in New York City through her performance in Shampoo and beyond…Whether recalling the traumas of her first marriage to screenwriter Arnold Manoff or sharing entertaining memories of her famous friends, Grant does so with a with a lively, approachable tone. Though famous for her achievements as a multi-award winning actor, director, and documentarian, Grant reveals herself to be woman unafraid of continual self-reinvention. These pages tell a gripping story full of drama, humor, and hardship, offering an intimate look into the singular life of one indefatigable protagonist.”—Publishers Weekly
“[T]he resilience of [Lee Grant’s] career outlasted the 12-year period when she was blacklisted by HUAC for her political affiliations…she became one of the most respected actresses of her generation….Rife with appearances from some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including an unsuccessful date with Marlon Brando, Grant’s career proves that the elusive and oft-sought-after second chance can not only be had, it can be triumphantly redeeming. An insightful, sharp Hollywood memoir that will appeal to fans and newcomers alike.”
“Lee Grant's blacklist memoir is deliciously indiscreet. She has written the definitive tell-all about life on the blacklist and no one who cares at all about those dark days can afford not to read it.”
—Victor S. Navasky, author of National Book Award-winning Naming Names
“Lee Grant came to know herself as a child, as an actress, as a woman and as a thinker. I have come to know her intimately in reading her book, and am so grateful for the experience.”
“Having had the privilege to work with Lee Grant on the motion picture screen was truly a delight. Now, out of nowhere, she has written a most wonderful book about her family and herself. It’s warm, it’s touching and it’s a book that speaks of the human experience—the wonders of it, the magic of it, the difficulties of it, the history of a life’s unfolding, beautifully and brilliantly with purpose and with guts.”
“Read this book—every juicy page! Lee has lived her life and practiced her craft with reckless abandon, bravery, honesty and ultimately brutal clarity. You will want to be her friend, lover, child or student, and you will finish the final pages her ardent admirer. A ferocious and fragile woman who unapologetically states: For better or for worse, I'm right here!”
"If there is any adventure, from love to politics, that you feel you've missed in life, Lee Grant has had it for you—and describes it here with wit, honesty and all five senses. No one, but no one, has better explained, say, the difference between the theater and Hollywood, between love and romance, or between families born and chosen. Go ahead, live a little. Say yes to Lee Grant."
“Lee Grant’s I Said Yes to Everything is heart-stopping. More than just a show business memoir or chronicle of the Hollywood blacklist era, it is a terrifying account of a gifted artist’s tumultuous journey—both personal and professional. You will feel every jolt of terror that Grant endured, wondering if you would have been as brave. Her triumph becomes our own. Readers of this gripping book will surely reach the final page shouting a victorious ‘Yes!’ to everything that is Lee Grant.”
“Lee Grant—I have worked with her—is a great actress. Lee Grant is also my friend—a great conversationalist. I never knew about her writing talent. She has written a wonderful book. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Read it!”—Kirk Douglas
“Lee knows how to tell a good story with passion, honesty and a good sense of humor.”—Michael Douglas
“It's so easy to say ‘Yes’! I loved Lee Grant's memoir—everything about it! She is direct, honest, witty and compelling!”
“The minute I looked at the new memoir [by] actress Lee Grant, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist I Said Yes To Everything….I'm afraid I pretty much abandoned everything else until I read it. Lee Grant is one of America’s greatest actors, most heroic survivors, a contradictory enigma one minute, a sympathetic victim the next….who keeps turning it all around into triumph.”
"Lee Grant's I Said Yes to Everything is a fantastic read. Beautifully written and brutally honest, she takes us through the highs and lows of her brilliant career and incredibly interesting personal life. I loved every page of it.”