The longest-lasting young-man-about-town in the movies was up to his narrow hips in work last week and very happy to be back. At 3, after a try at retirement, Cary Grant was working harder than ever at his specialty - the impersonation of debonair, boyish smoothies. At such a specialty there is
nobody in Hollywood to compare with him, either in durability, popularity, or moneymaking.
Last week he was working in Kiss Them for Me, a romantic comedy with Jayne Mansfield. He had finished another romantic comedy, "An Affair to
Remember," and the historical jumbo, The Pride and the
Passion. After Kiss Them he will do Houseboat with Sophia Loren, and there are fifteen more movies waiting for him to get around to them when he can. For acting in
The Pride and the Passion, he got a down payment of $300,000 against 10 per cent of the picture's gross.
"In the main, I like working," said Grant last week in explanation of himself, since he does not have to work. "There comes a time when you decide whether to work or not to work," he said. "I said, 'I'll try not working.' So Betsy and I [he is now married to Betsy Drake, an actress] went around the world on a freighter in 1953 and 1954. We were gone eighteen months. Then I decided I would like to try working again."
He returned to the sort of picture he had made his name in back in the early '30s - the light romantic comedy, of which there have been few in recent years. He thinks he knows why they have been scarce. "These days, comedy
writers seem to deal more in insults. Light comedy is something else. Very few writers these days feel funny about life. Also, I think comedy must have a certain grace, and that involves living with a certain amount of grace, which very few people - writers or anyone else - do these days."
Grant had been around quite a bit before he ever reached Hollywood. Born Archibald Leach, in England, he ran away from home when he was 12 and joined a troupe of acrobats. He was found and brought back home, but a couple of years later he did it all over again, and this time his father let him have his way. He and the troupe hit New York in 1920, and in time Grant graduated from vaudeville to musical comedy. He got to Hollywood, and almost instantaneous success, in 1932.
Diversions: During his "retirement," Grant had the time to indulge in some long, long thoughts about himself, and he now feels he knows a few of the answers. My life is very important to me," he says. "I want every moment to be as happy as possible." He has a residence in Beverly Hills, but he and his wife spend most of their time in their
small desert home (with swimming pool) in Palm Springs. He swims and rides a lot and plays tennis regularly. He has become fascinated by hypnotism, studies yoga, paints a little, reads "science-of-the-mind" literature (and natural history) with absorption, and has a serious interest in health foods. (However, he keeps it, he says, simply "by thinking it.")
"I've learned not to believe any long in either high emotions or deep depressions," he says. "I would like to live just a little below or above the line ... I do whatever is the inclination of the moment that doesn't offend someone else."