grant hadn’t made a movie in 20 years when he appeared on stage
at Southern Methodist University in March. But you wouldn’t have
known it from the crowd he drew.
At least 2,000
people sat for more than an hour and a half in SMU’s McFarlin
Auditorium to watch snippets of some of the actor’s 72 movies
and listen to him reminisce about his favorite co-stars. After
“A Conversation With Cary Grant” ended, the 82-year-old actor
walked between two walls of fans carrying autograph cooks and
cameras on his way to a waiting Cadillac.
“It was that
Cary Grant sex appeal,” said Tom Adams, head of The
International Theatrical Arts Society, which brought the actor to
Dallas. “He was still very charming. Attractive is an
The Cary Grant
that Dallas saw on that Sunday afternoon and on his other trips to
the city was the same elegant gentleman that he played in films, Adams
and others remembered Sunday on the day after Grant’s death.
“He could not
have been more charming,” said Julia Sweeney, a former Times
Herald society columnist. “He knew I was from the newspaper, but
he was very easy to talk to. He was not like some of the movie
stars who will have six people between you and them.”
Grant was in Dallas
most recently as October for the Princess Grace Foundation Gala.
And he came here occasionally o promotional trips for Faberge, the
cosmetics company with which he was associated.
He even performed
in Dallas in the 1920’s as a vaudeville performer by the name of Archie
Leach, Grant said in an interview in Dallas in 1979.
When he came here
in March, Grant was treated like a movie star, Adams
said. A limousine carried him and his wife to the Mansion on
Turtle Creek. His wife, Barbara, played tennis on a private court
owned by a millionaire.
But he also
invited his chauffeur to his hotel room for a drink and posed for
personal photographs with the SMU students who worked at his
appearance at the college.
Above all, Grant
seemed to be a perfectionist obsessed with details, Adams
said. Grant worried about the projectionist at McFarlin Auditorium
and the position of his microphone, table and even his water
glass, Adams said.
“He was exactly
as he was on the screen: a true professional. In my brief time
with him he took nothing for granted. He was thoroughly prepared
before he went on stage, although he appeared to the audience to
be very easy and casual,” Adams said.