They were immaculately dressed, those
who filled McFarlin Auditorium Sunday afternoon to hear the film
reminiscences of Cary Grant and see a bit of history.
They seemed almost eager to please
Grant as he appeared intent upon pleasing them. The
82-year-old star would not allow his photo to be taken, but he
appeared to be in robust health. As many women in the audience
remarked, he still is handsome.
Grant professed nervousness on stage;
early on he called himself a "rotten speechmaker."
But "A Conversation With Cary Grant," as the afternoon
event at Southern Methodist University was billed, revealed an
articulate man, sharp and witty and able to please a crowd.
He talked about Grace Kelly, whom he
called a "completely relaxed" actress with
"Buddha-like" control. He remembered Alfred
Hitchcock, one of his favorite directors, as a tasteful and reserved
man with a wonderful sense of humor.
When asked about which of his films
he liked best, Grant was diplomatic. "I like them
all. Whether or not you like them all is another
matter." He later admitted, however, that the characters
he liked the best were the ones he played in "Sylvia Scarlett"
and "Father Goose."
His acting career was most
influenced, he said, by actors A.E. Matthews, Noel Coward and Jack
Buchanan, and he learned his comic timing from George Burns.
Grant said he got to work with
actress Mae West - and wished he hadn't. "It was terrible
- well, not terrible, but disconcerting to say the least," he
announced to laughter.
Grant said the most embarrassing
moment in his career came on stage in Philadelphia on opening night
of a play called "Boom Boom." He was participating
in a Spanish dance when the orchestra's drummer told him that his
fly was open.
Believing the drummer was joking,
Grant continued dancing until an actress told him the same
thing. Grant then tried to dance subtly to the side of the
stage and take care of the problem, but was pushed back onstage by
an emerging chorus of dancing girls.
Afterward, Grant remembered, the
producer of the show came up, ecstatic, and said to keep the bit in