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The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net


Photoplay - November 1940; pgs 14-15

Cary Grant's Million-Dollar Romance

by Herbert Stein


Cary Grant's Million-Dollar Romance
"Inner circle" information about Cary and Barbara Hutton
- the most hushed-up love story in Hollywood

The answer to the Hollywood query, "Button, Button, Who's got Hutton?" is Cary Grant!  If he and Barbara aren't married when her divorce from Count Kurt Haugwitz-Reventlow is final in February, their intimate friends will be in for the sharpest letdown ever to hit this town of mad surprises!

This hushed-up but hottest romance to hit the film colony in years continues to mystify the large portion of villagers not in the inner-circle "know."  In a town where news travels mercilessly fast, the Grant-Hutton romance has been amazingly played down and gossipers' search for a news oasis in their thirst for juicy facts has netted nothing but a constant series of parched columns.

The reason for the silence is understandable, however Cary Grant fans may disapprove of the secrecy attached thereto.  Barbara and he are in love.  What hurts her hurts him.  Because she's been the target for bitter press attack, she isn't anxious to stick her neck into another blast now.  There isn't a person living who trembles more at the mere mention of "fourth estate" than Barbara Hutton.  And today, more than ever, she doesn't want any magazine or newspaper barrage to send her on a detour from the signpost she's just found in Hollywood, marked "Happiness Ahead."

It is happiness ahead for Barbara and Cary, especially if outside influences do not interfere.  If you knew the two, you'd sense the change in both instantly.

Cary is again the gayest person in Hollywood.  Barbara, twice capsized in her matrimonial voyages, is on even keel again.  There's a sharp breeze ahead and clear sailing.

Barbara has run into a man who can stand on his own feet.  Cary doesn't need her money - not at $125,000 a picture and more bids than he can ever fill.  When Barbara dumped a cool $250,000 to the American and British Red Cross, Cary turned his entire $125,000 take for his stint in "The Philadelphia Story" to the same organizations.

They've been a two-way tonic for each other.  Cary, before this, had never really gotten over his love for his former wife, Virginia Cherrill, now the Countess of Jersey.  It's ironic, indeed, that it took another countess to snap him back into stride.  And there's no question but that Barbara has done it.

As an individual, there isn't a better liked person in Hollywood than Grant.  He is the same off the screen as he is on.  He is affable, kind, cheerful.  He is an overgrown kid who enjoys the unpretentious things in life.  He is considerate.  His generosity is not of the publicized variety, although he pays many bills in Hollywood for old down-and-out friends you never hear about.  He shuns publicity.  He's the shining example of a fellow who can get on without it.  There's no stuffiness about Grant.  He stands out in sharp contrast to Barbara's former husbands and their regal routine and society parties that made anything but good copy in New York or abroad.  Cary's a down-to-earth guy who prefers the company of a few good friends to all the night clubs in the world.  There's no fuss, no sham, no attempt to impress.  If once you're Cary's friend, you're always his friend.  He has an intelligent sense of values and does everything possible to maintain it.  What Grant offers as a personality goes far beyond any of the pseudo-sophisticated divertissement Hollywood or New York offers under the guise of entertainment.

Those Hollywood people who really know Barbara find a girl far different from the press-depicted person.  She's very quiet, very feminine, extremely shy.  She dresses with simple conservatism.  She wears no crazy array of diamonds and rings.  If you didn't know her as Barbara Hutton, you'd take her for any other well-dressed woman on Madison Avenue or Wilshire Boulevard.  The only adornment she has worn in the line of jewelry since she came to Hollywood is a thin gold bracelet.  She lives far more sanely than many of the top stars and producers, never does anything to impress.

Cary Grant feels these things to be true about Barbara.  He and his friends have gotten to know her warmly and affectionately.  They take cognizance of the fact that her mother died when Barbara was but three; that she was but a youngster when she was swept off her still immature legs by Prince Mdivani.  Cary is not interested in the causes for her unhappiness - he's interested only in the effect of them upon her life and he seeks only to cure them.

Her friends know her as a very loyal person.  Her servants who have been with her for years swear by her.  If she asks for tea to be served, the order invariably takes the form of "Will you be good enough to serve tea now?"  When she telephones her representatives - people she can fire at will - she never fails, in her shyness, to inquire first whether or not it would be too much trouble to do this or that now.

She is a good mother.  She loves her child as any mother does her children.  She spends more time with her son than she does at all her other activities combined.  But she sees no reason to publicize what's the most natural thing in life.

It is true that Barbara has invaded Hollywood behind closed doors!  Few people here, as a matter of fact, have seen anything of her since her arrival.  But she wants no publicity; asks only to be left alone.  Cary loves Barbara and will do anything possible to make and keep her happy.  At the outset, his friends were worried about the association. They were concerned about what it might do to his career.  But they're no longer worried.  There isn't one of them who doesn't think Cary an Barbara are a swell combination.  Barbara has found a bulwark of friendship and kindness in Grant she's never known before.  In Barbara, Cary has found the tenderness, warmth and affection so rare in cold Hollywood.

The romance had its start in New York last year.  Although it wasn't geared in high until this summer, it picked up lots of momentum when Cary was in New York last March.  When he returned to Hollywood, Barbara's pictures began to adorn his rooms.

In the spring of the past year, Barbara arrived in San Francisco with her young son, en route to Honolulu.  Before sailing, she spent most of her time with her long-time friend Countess di Frasso and Ricardo Cortez, who squired both around the town.  Barbara then left for Honolulu, but returned after a month both because of her son's poor health and her concern over war developments abroad.

If there is any one person responsible for playing cupid in this romance, that person is the Countess di Frasso.  It was the Countess who house-guested Barbara on her return from Hawaii.  It was the Countess who arranged the get-together dinners that brought Cary and Barbara closer with each dessert.  The more Barbara lingered in Hollywood, the more Hollywood grew on her.  The more she saw of Cary Grant, the fonder the two became of each other, until, late in the summer, she chucked all ideas of going East to the winds and rented Buster Keaton's smart but conservative house in Beverly Hills.  Through the Countess di Frasso and Cary she was introduced to a small circle of friends.  There is little chance now that the Woolworth heiress will return to New York.  She dislikes Gotham intensely.  Besides, all her other friends are mostly in England.

Cary's and Barbara's Hollywood friends include Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Noel Coward (when he's in town), Elsa Maxwell, "Dickie" Gordon, Richard Gully, Ricardo Cortez, Johnny Maschio and his wife, Connie Moore, Reggie Gardiner, and the DeLaney Hunters and Lady More, who are Barbara's house guests.  (There'll be three English refugee children at her home soon, too.)

Now, while the Hollywood grapevine mumbles about a Cary Grant-Barbara Hutton romance, only these close friends really know what it's all about.  They say nothing to anyone - a more tight-lipped crew you'll never find.  Cary, who naturally shuns publicity, will not give out any statement.  If he's queried, he keeps quiet.  Since both he and Barbara dislike and thus avoid night clubs, there are no pictures of them together at such spots.  All the intimate parties they attend (and we'll come to that directly) are closed affairs.  The press and photographers are summarily barred.  Even Elsa Maxwell's party for Noel Coward, which drew a tremendous crowd, was closed tighter'n a snare drum.  If Cary and Barbara take dinner out, they avoid press-infested hostelries.

There isn't a phonograph in town that wouldn't give its right arm to play the recordings made at the intimate parties mentioned above.  No matter who the host - and they take turns - no party is complete without each person's doing his or her bit on the recording machine.  For example, one record will have Cary doing one of his hot piano solos, which a friend describes as: "It stinks, but it's wonderful."  The same disc will have Barbara singing.  Reggie Gardiner keeps the "variety" show moving with his impersonations.  Jimmy Stewart, also with the gang, will do a monologue.  Dough Fairbanks will exhibit his "Angel Over Broadway" East Side accent.  When it's all over they play the record back over and over again.  These playbacks are good for a million laughs.  The group also gets up impromptu plays and acts them right into the mike-hugged instrument.

The parties, according to the press-conceived Hollywood standards, are quiet and simple; the average Hollywoodian or visitor might even consider them dull.  Actually, the parties are lots of sport - good conversation, bright, sparkling humor.

These parties are new to Barbara.  She loves them.  Cary is happy that she's able to relax, be herself and join in the fun.  He has apparently discovered the right combination for her escape into a world she's always dreamt about but never had an opportunity to know.

Fortunately the parties break up early, for Barbara is strictly an 11 o'clock date.  She is awake every morning at nine and is with her son until two or three, when she prepares for her tennis lesson.  Then it's a swim, usually at Cary's Santa Monica beach home, where friends are always gathered for tea.  Dinner is usually scheduled at her place, or with different friends at theirs.

When Cary's on a picture, she'll accompany him to the lot on the rare occasions when the set is closed to the press and public.  No pictures are ever shot of her on a sound stage.  She herself, merely for the record, is not interested in a film career, despite stories to the contrary that were carried when she arrived.

Evenings, when they're not with friends, you'll find the two driving toward Lake Arrowhead or along the Beach highway to Santa Barbara.  Yes, and they stop off for hamburgers and hot dogs.  Cary, overgrown kid that he is, is a sucker for frankfurters.

We don't know what they talk about on these excursions into the night, but it's evidently satisfying conversation for both.  They drive this way often.  Cary wants Barbara in the open air.  He thinks she needs building up.  Truth is, Barbara is very frail, and tips the scales at a mere ninety pounds.

Cary's forgotten about his former wife, the Countess of Jersey.  His only great love before Barbara was for her and it's strange at the striking resemblance between the former Virginia Cherrill and Barbara.  Cary sticks true to type.  He's forgotten, too, about his long-ago dates with Betty Furness (now Mrs. Johnny Green), Adelaide Moffett and Phyllis Brooks.

Whether or not Cary and Barbara look forward only to February when her divorce is final, neither will say.  But friends think differently.  They are sure when the time is ripe the romance will bear fruit.  There is apparently no question but what the Danish divorce will become final at the expected time.  Barbara's spokesman in New York said some time ago that blitzkrieg or no blitzkrieg the divorce will become final.  Count Reventlow, at this writing, is in New York, but there has been no attempt on either his or Barbara's part to communicate with one another.  According to the terms bared in the divorce agreement, she is to have their son Lance nine months a year, while the Count has him three.

As for her citizenship, Barbara is making every effort to regain her American status.  But since this means going through a long maze of legal entanglements, it'll be some time before she can step up to a poll and cast her vote again.

Barbara's been knocked down for the count twice.  This time, if she and Cary are rice-pelted, as apparently they will be, she's ear-marked for real happiness - because this time she's getting best liked guy that ever hit this town called Hollywood.


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