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Dallas Times Herald - December 1, 1986

Dallas Fans Remember Star's Charm

by Scott Sunde
(submitted by Barry Martin - Thanks Barry!)

Cary 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 understatement.”

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.

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