© www.carygrant.net


The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net

Modern Screen - October, 1942; pg 36; 66-68

"I Cary, Take Thee Barbara..."

by Cynthia Miller

"I Cary, Take Thee Barbara..."
License gave his age as 38; hers as 30.  He became a citizen in June.  
Marriage to Grant will not restore her citizenship,
but makes possible her application without filing first papers,
cutting time wait from 5 to 3 years.

Modern Screen gives you a parson's eye-view of that incredible Grant-Hutton marriage!

Barbara Hutton has come home to happiness.  After years of searching, after hundreds of heartaches, dozens of mistakes and a quest that has taken her all over the world, she has found the right man at last.  A man who will never, never be known as "Mr. Barbara Hutton."  A man who will be the head of his house.  A man to depend upon, honor and love.  

Immediately after their wedding ceremony at the mountain lodge of Mr. Frank Vincent, one of the guests said to Barbara, "I wish you all the happiness in the world, Mrs. Grant."

"Thank you so much," she answered.  Then she thought over that salutation.  "Mrs. Grant," she repeated to herself.  "Mrs. Cary Grant.  Isn't it a nice name?  I'm going to love getting used to it."

When the news that Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton had been married at high noon on July 8 hit the news wires, there were a flock of astonished people in Hollywood as well as throughout the world - but they had absolutely nothing on the Reverend H. Paul Romeis, pastor of a small Lutheran church in San Bernardino.

Mr. Romeis had been sitting in his study, working over church matters, when two of Cary Grant's friends appeared.  They told the clergyman nothing except that they would appreciate it if he would prepare to perform a marriage ceremony at Lake Arrowhead.  "The contracting parties have their license, I presume?" he asked. 

They showed Mr. Romeis a license issued to Archibald Leach and Barbara Reventlow.  He nodded without lifting an eyebrow.  As far as he was concerned, those monikers indicated nothing more than a couple of people hooked with fairly unusual names.

He and his escort talked about the weather, but - as a side line - Mr. Romeis was still pondering the problem he had left on his desk when interrupted:  How to get an organ for his church.  He had wanted a small organ to replace the exhausted piano that they had been using for what seemed centuries, but when he looked into the future he could see nothing but zero.  Small churches in small San Bernardino just don't have pipe organ incomes.

Halfway across Lake Arrowhead in a speed boat, it occurred to Mr. Romeis' escorts that he should be told about the young couple he was to marry.  One of the men shouted, above the slap-slap of the speed boat, "Archibald Leach is Cary Grant and Barbara Reventlow was formerly Barbara Hutton."

Mr. Romeis blinked.  "Cary Grant!  Why, he's my favorite actor," he said.  "As for wife wife ..."

The instant the ceremony was over, he said quietly to Frank Vincent, "May I use your telephone?  I'd like to tell my wife the exciting news."  

Marriage plans were deep, dark secret; date wasn't set till night before, 
altho they'd had license since previous week.  
Mgr. Frank W. Vincent was best man & Mrs. Madeline Hazeltine, matron of honor.

A few moments later Cary Grant handed Mr. Romeis a check big enough to buy real organ music for Mr. Romeis' church.  Mr. Romeis stood perfectly still for several moments.  His face was a study in delight, surprise and gratitude.  "There isn't anything I can say," he managed at last, "except that I know you will always be two of the happiest people in the world.  May God richly bless you."

And he strode down the terrace toward the boat landing, flicking a sudden moisture from his eyes.

swooning junior ...
In addition to Mr. Romeis there was another unexpected participant in the nuptials - a sun-tanned sixteen-year-old girl wearing a faded sweater, sneakers and a pair of blue jeans.  She was lounging around the south shore in her motor boat when the photographers, press representatives from the studio, caterers and innumerable others began to arrive.  The situation was acute.  It looked as if it would take all day to transport wedding party, etc., to its destination.  (Frank Vincent's home is on the north shore of Lake Arrowhead, and can be reached by one of the world's worst mountain roads or by crossing in a boat.)

The girl on the dock looked things over for a few minutes then boy-scouted to the rescue.  "I'll help you transport some of your equipment, if you like," she said.

One of the more vocal photographers said, "Lady, you're saving me from a life of sunburn.  When you grow up, remind me to kiss you."

"Are you on location here?" the girl asked.

As their mission was the darkest secret since the disappearance of Charlie Ross, the boys said, "Well, sort of," and skipped it.

"I'll bet you know my dad," said the extemporaneous ferry boat captain.  "His name is Gene Lockhart.  I'm June."

"Like father, like daughter," said the photographer.  "I should have known that a swell scout like Gene would have a girl like you.  In that case, I'll tell you a secret - all this to-do is caused by the Cary Grant-Barbara Hutton marriage, scheduled for high noon today."

"I'm swooning," quoth Miss Lockhart.  "I mean I really am."

After all the people and provisions were transported, June hung around the Vincent boat landing, awaiting developments.  One of the publicity men in her group of passengers had promised her a bite of wedding cake.  He outdid himself by bringing her the groom instead.  He had said to Cary, after the ceremony, "June Lockhart has been a little brick.  If it hadn't been for her, it would have taken twice as long to get set up here.  She's patrolling the boat landing right now."

Cary began to sep briskly in that direction.  "I want to thank her," he said.

So June, in her jeans and peeling sunburn, met her idol on his wedding day.  The occasion was almost too crucial.  She couldn't think of anything to say.  She stood on one foot and then the other.  Finally she burst out, "I sure hope you'll be awfully happy, Mr. Grant.  I certainly do."

Cary patted her shoulder.  "You've helped to give us a good start in that direction," he said.

She told one of the men whom she ferried back across the lake in the afternoon, "I'm going to remember this as long as I live.  What a sen-sa-shun! Tell me all about the wedding."

It was a simple, unpretentious ceremony.

The Frank Vincent house (Mr. Vincent has long been Cary's business agent, adviser and intimate friend) is one of the most beautiful of mountain lodges.  Its ceilings are high, its fireplaces huge, its rugs deep and brilliant.  The entire south side opens upon a flagstone terrace.  Spreading away from the terrace is a grassy slope that rolls gently down to a series of wide flagstone stairs.  These descend to the boat landing.

On the grassy knoll there is a massive oak tree, and it was under this that the marriage rites were performed.  There was no wedding march, no "Promise Me," no music of any kind.  Barbara and Cary came out of the house together and joined Perry Lieber, head of RKO's publicity department and one of Cary's best friends.  Mr. Vincent and Mrs. Hazeltine (wife of the sculptor) joined the group to talk about the weather and Cary's picture "Once Upon A Honeymoon" - the conversation was one of those helter-skelter things that suddenly died on the vine while someone took a quick look at his watch.

Both Cary and Barbara were so thrilled and excited that they couldn't see straight.  Something was said about the tree under which they were going to stand.  "It's a begonia," Cary said absently.  No one bothered to kid him.

Barbara was wearing a navy blue silk moiré suit, a shell pink blouse and a tiny hat that looked like a bowl spilling over with pink roses.  Cary wore a dark grey suit with a tiny pin stripe.  Someone said to him, "Cary, that's a terrific suit to wear to a wedding - it's really zoot."

Barbara tipped her head up to smile at him.  "I'm so glad he wore this suit," she said.  "It's my favorite."

And so they were married.  The ceremony marked the end of some bitter experiences for both of them.  They met, originally, in Europe - two people who would seem, at a glance, to have everything on earth that heart could wish, et two people who  were rather desperately unhappy.

Barbara had separated from her Danish husband, when she met Cary, and it was plain that there was going to be serious trouble over her divorce.  Cary had never quite recovered from the shock of his divorce from Virginia Cherrill.

no bed of roses ...
Life had never been particularly simple for either of them.  Barbara's mother died when Barbara was five, and a tragedy of that kind alters the entire life of a child.  Luckily, Barbara had a devoted governess, Mlle. Touquet (who was a wedding guest), who gave the little girl a foster mother's love.

Barbara was born to the limelight, and if you don't think that isn't the worst thing that can happen to a person, just imagine buying a paper some evening, only to find the worst picture ever taken of you plastered all over the front page, above a story that made you out a moron, if not a beast.

When Barbara was 15 her attorneys put ten million dollars worth of Woolworth stock on the market.  It sent shares down seven points and cost the sirt of many a small investor, but - the attorneys announced - it saved the estate about two million.  Naturally, Barbara didn't know, or understand, any more about the transaction than your kid cousin, Imogene, who is hep to the jive but a hooligan with jellybeans - the silver ones that make banks go jingle, jangle, jingle.  

Whether she knew anything about it or not, she got the blame in newsprint.  She was a chubby little girl in those days, and no camera flattered her.  Her plump picture, accompanying the million dollar story, some who gave the impression that she was waxing fat at the expense of others.

When she was 21, Barbara was swept off her feet by Alexis M'Divani, one of the Marry Mentors.  That made her a Princess, but it didn't bring her happiness.  She had "everything" - time, and money for travel, an excellent cultural education, an altitudinous place in the world and a title.  There were plenty of girls in dime stores all over the land who would have changed places with Barbara in an instant.

It was during the depths of the depression in this country, and pallid girls picked the Woolworth stores with signs reading, "Could Babs live on $8 per week?"

One of the girls said to the other, "My feet are frozen and my back is like ice.  Boy, wouldn't I love a fur coat and a pair of fleece-lined boots!  I'll bet Babs has never been this cold."

husband de luxe
And the other answered, "Gosh, I'd sure like to be a Princess - some fun, huh?"  Neither of the girls realized that Barbara Hutton had absolutely nothing to do with the running of the dime stores.  Or that being a Princess wasn't so much fun after all.  No one has ever doubted that the M'Divanis were superb suitors.  They paid the prettiest compliments heard in four languages.  But they were frightfully expensive husbands.  

Alexis had just one aim in life: to be a ten-goal polo player.  Getting this rating is almost as hard and dangerous as making ten touchdowns in every football game.  Barbara sat in the stands one day and saw Alexis, who rode like a demon and was afraid of nothing on earth, thrown from his horse.  He landed in a cramped, twisted position, and for a moment the spectators rose as one spine and gasped "Oh!" in horror.

That time he was only knocked out.  Fate was reserving death on the polo field for his brother.

Alexis drove a car the same way he played polo - as if it were the last trip of his life.  He would scare Barbara to death as he charged over the narrow French roads or leaped from promontory to peak as he scorched Italian highways on which might appear, at any instant, a leisurely peasant wagon occupying the entire middle of the road.  "Alexis ... please ..." she would say against the gale.

Alexis told her not to be a drip - he knew what he was doing.  So she huddled, small and terrified, in one corner of the big seat and prayed to be killed outright, not just maimed.  Years later, it was another woman whose tongue was severed when the car Alexis was driving hurtled into a canyon wall in the Pyrenees.  He was killed instantly.

Long before that happened, Barbara had divorced him.  Cost: $350,000 per year.  That was the settlement she mad him, and - although she is entirely too gallant a woman to say such a thing - the price must have seemed cheap when she was free . . . and unharmed. 

Still seeking love, protection, comradeship, Barbara married Count Haugwitz-Reventlow, a wealthy Danish nobleman.  Money was of no interest to him, but prestige, power and Family were.

When little Lance was born February 24, 1936, he was jubilant.  He said to the nurse, "A son, a son! The line is assured!"  The nurse asked what he planned to name the baby.  A shadow passed over his face.  "That, we will not be able to decide until the mother's life is out of danger," he said.

The birth of her boy almost cost Barbara Hutton her life.  Money and fame mean very little to Mother Nature - she makes her own arrangements, and for a time she seemed to have lost all interest in the slim, fragile, blue-eyed girl who was fighting for every breath.  But the firm line of Barbara's chin is the key to her courage, and she had no intention of quitting.  She wanted to live for that baby.  Each time she drifted out of the haze of sedatives, she turned her head weakly to say, "Please let me look at my baby."

Two years later her marriage with the Danish Count was a thing of the past, but she wasn't free until late 1941.

She must have made great sacrifices in an attempt to make this second marital venture a success, according to those who should know.  For one thing, she renounced her American citizenship.  No woman as deeply devoted to her native land as Barbara is, would do such a thing unless subjected to extreme pressure.

A friend said to her, "Every paper in the States has carried a story about your running out on your country.  There's talk of dropping your name from the Blue Book.  Fine thing."

Barbara, as usual, said nothing to defend herself.  She's a quiet little body, according to her friends.  And it didn't seem to occur to anyone that the fragile Hutton girl "who inherited the dime store millions" was also a flesh-and-blood woman who wanted to please her husband, to take care of her son's future, and to live the life of any happy wife.

But nothing she did seemed to work out just right - until she met Cary.

If a script writer had been writing a picture about a girl like Barbara, he would have had to invent a guy like Cary.

Couple will live in Brentwood till he leaves for the Army this fall.
Day after ceremony, Cary was back at studio for work.
Above, with Jean Arthur and Ronnie Coleman in "Talk of the Town."

A blade of grass spending its life under a rock wants sun.  And Hutton who'd spent a fortune in her day buying grief in titled packages, wanted Grant.  They met in Biarritz.  When you say it, put the accent on the last syllable.  Cary's hep to the Ritz himself.  He sports a topper as nimbly as you slip into a nightie.  The average guy in his place, meeting the richest girl in the world, would have handed her a line.

Not Cary!  Those dark glasses he wears filter out the glamour. Maybe she was an heiress to the rest of the world.  To him she was just a pretty girl by the name of Barbara.  "I've met your son Lance," he said.  "You've got a great kid!"  That's the way human beings talk to each other.  It must have been a shock to Barbara.  No polo.  No Dali.  Just "you've got a great kid."

She came to Hollywood to live then - to hug the sun, to thaw out.  And Cary took charge of the job.  He taught her how to be a kid.  He, the British expatriate, showed Barbara what it's like to be an American.  He had her cramming up on Yank specialties like July 4th, jitterbugging, hot foots.  He and little Lance rough-housed plenty, and home wasn't just a place for the period furniture.

at long last ...
Barbara and Cary thought they had found the real thing, but they wanted to be sure.  So they let their romance age - mellowed it under many moons - tempered it with quarrels.  Each day together became more precious, each moment more magical.

Above all, between them they rediscovered a theory that's as old as this country.  Marriage isn't just a contract on a piece of paper.  Marriage isn't for money and it isn't for titles or position. It's for love.  It's for raiding the ice-box together.  It's for laughs and kids an sharing heartaches.

It's finding something bigger and finer than yourself and your possessions.  It's like the Cary Grants!

Back to the Articles Page

© www.carygrant.net 1997-2010
web design by Debbie Dunlap - www.debbiedunlap.com