In this first comprehensive biography of Cleveland Amory, Marilyn Greenwald applies her considerable journalistic skills to a searching account of the complex life and times of this successful writer turned dedicated animal-rights activist. Amory’s intense commitment to his chosen cause, ignited by the spectacle of a Mexican bullfight he covered as a young journalist, permeated every aspect of his life.
His best-selling books included three classic social critiques — The Proper Bostonians, The Last Resorts, and Who Killed Society? — and his popular series on “Polar Bear,” the cat he rescued from the streets of Manhattan on Christmas Eve in 1978, now available as The Compleat Cat. In the 1960s and 1970s, Amory wrote prolifically for TV Guide (for which he was chief critic for over a decade), Saturday Review, Parade, and other publications. He was a regular commentator on Today until 1963, when he was summarily fired for a story on animal abuse that greatly disturbed NBC’s breakfast audience. In 1967, Amory founded the Fund for Animals, employing his charm, intelligence, and understanding of human nature to garner national publicity for a movement that was, in the 1960s, relatively obscure. He was the first to use celebrities — including Mary Tyler Moore, Doris Day, Grace Kelly, Dick Cavett, and Jack Paar — to rally support for animal rights.
Cleveland Amory reinvented himself several times over the course of his life, and Marilyn Greenwald follows his every step with a penetrating analysis of the man, the times, the animal-rights movement, and Amory’s extraordinary legacy.