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Liberty - March 11, 1939

The Story of Cary Grant

by Ruth Waterbury

Cary Grant forgets his heart problems at the heart of New York and Chicago.

The main characteristic of Cary Grant, his secret, is to be a happy man. He practices his life in the same way as he practices his career: like an art. He was married 3 times: to Virginia Cherrill, to Barbara Hutton and then to Betsy Drake. His two first unions did not last long: one year and three years respectively, but his third marriage seemed to be much more stable: he lives with Betsy Drake from 1949. It seemed that they get along together perfectly: when Cary was filming abroad Betsy visited him; and besides, he was 54 , the age that may be widely considered as reasonable : he himself mentioned recently that until 35 years the men are idiots but after they overcome this barrier they begin to become serious. That's why the announcement that he has divorced from Betsy made an effect of exploded bomb.

 What happened?

Actually, though this marriage continued nine years, Cary spent his life just as he spent it during his previous marriages. For him the life is never anything else but one of these light-hearted comedies like those that he performs so excellently on the screen. He does not take it tragically. When his existence is menacing to turn into a drama, he changes it.

Besides, his life with Betsy has begun as a light-hearted comedy. They met during the filming of "Every Girl Should Be Married", a joyful movie in which Betsy puts her arm on him and brings him into the entrapment of marriage. Being an elegant bachelor in real life he proceeded with the humor of the situation until sooner repeating this scenario in reality, and knowing Cary Grant and vivacity of his mind one may be sure that an irony of this parallel between fiction and reality certainly had not escaped from him. Their common existence went on like a light comedy also. Betsy was intelligent enough for realizing the light climate in which her husband must live. They lived pleasantly in their place and when they had a wish of changing an air, they would take their car and left to Mexico or Canada. Their best travel moments where those when the people would say to Cary: "You resemble Cary Grant terribly". These situations never missed and Cary was never in a lack of response: "This is curious, they have already told me before", a joke which always made Betsy to giggle.   Their common life was equally terminated like a comedy: there was no drama, no loud cries, no big sorrows confessed to journalists. Betsy was at the height of the situation and revealed herself as worthy of her husband for whom the most essential thing in life is to behave with elegance, with this elegance that makes him every year one of the ten best dressed men in the world. They simply made it known that they had separated. That's all. And they both started to work again every one in his field. Betsy returned to the television. They said that she was going to make a long voyage to Europe in order to try to forget. There is nothing right in these rumors. She works, as if her marriage was only an interlude: a happy interlude, a long and beautiful sequence from a light-hearted comedy, from the movie where all worries and everything tragic should be forbidden. Her husband can be proud of her.

Returning to him, he also works. He stares in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest” together with Eva-Marie Saint. This is a thriller which promises to contain a lot of humor: because if Cary Grant and Hitchcock are somewhere there will always be a humor: these two Englishmen universalized by their adoption in America, preserved the best qualities of their nation eliminating the failings of insularity. In order to realize this let us remember for example a thriller which have already resulted from their collaboration : "To Catch a Thief" with Grace Kelly.  Many important scenes of "North by Northwest" take place at the heart of the two greatest American cities: Chicago and New York. At the first of these cities Cary Grant and Eva-Marie Saint were filmed at the impressive frame of Michigan Boulevard, at the Midway airport, at the La Salle Street station, on the sidewalk of the famous Ambassador East Hotel. In New York the stars were filmed at the famous Grand Central railway station, at the Madison Avenue, which is the largest parallel way to the Fifth Avenue, on the Long Island, on the sidewalk in front of Plaza Hotel. Everywhere the crowds gathered. It was certainly because of Cary Grant. Here the people not only thought that he "resembles Cary Grant", they knew that he is Cary Grant.

I've even succeeded to exchange a couple of words with him. I've asked him about the project that he is supposed to participate in, filming of "Lolita", the movie that shows a man of an advanced age falling in love with a twelve year old girl and seducing her. The novel which describes this strange affair is a subject of scandal in the Anglo-Saxon countries at the moment.
- The producers indeed contacted me, responded me Cary Grant, but I refused to their offer. I don't want to play in that sort of films. The plots like this may exist in the literature but not on the screen. Besides I would not be able to get into the skin of that character. Anyway there are some limits that an actor can not get over.

Really, the maniac "Lolita" tells about is certainly a creature who sees life in a tragic way. What character could be stranger to Cary Grant?

Subscriptions to the pictures in the order of appearance.

Cary Grant (marked with an arrow) stares at Madison Avenue in New York, which extraordinary perspective, at the left, between the buildings, provides a precious frame to this film sequence.

Betsy Drake, at the meantime, works for television. Here repeating with George Fenneman.

Alfred Hitchcock directs Cary Grant, more elegant than ever, at the Grand Central railway station in New York.

And this is another railway station, La Salle Street Station in Chicago, where he directs Eva-Marie Saint.

Eva-Marie Saint is filmed in front of the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago,

At Long Island, Cary Grant poses for three little who asked to take a picture of him. He feels indignant about the idea that in a movie he may be demanded to seduce a girl of this age.

In the impressive surroundings of the Michigan Boulevard, in Chicago, Cary Grant comes out of the taxi in the sequence from "North by Northwest" which takes place here. The curious crowd is blocked on the sidewalk. The people that continue to walk are the characters of the movie.

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