Schenectady, NY, July 17
In one of only about nine conversational appearances onstage since
he retired from films 20 years ago, and the first in a large
theater rather than in an intimate setting with college students,
Cary Grant charmed his audience at Proctor’s Theater,
Schenectady recently, demonstrating the wit, dexterity and
handsome good looks that have made him a box-office legend.
Questions brought forth a manual on acting, a study of his
leading ladies and his philosophies of life, youth, etc.
fast, perceptive answers to questions from the audience belied his
80 years. The only
concession to his age are pure white hair (which enhances his
attractiveness), hoarseness in his voice and a slight stoop when
he stands. He was
spotlighted alone onstage, perched on a backless stool for 90
minutes. He entered
following a 12-minute clip of at least 40 films (shown at an
Academy Awards presentation) that demonstrate his versatility as
A real pro, he
even supervised the placement of microphones in each aisle of the
former movie palace’s orchestra and balcony.
Wearing a tuxedo, he succeeded in achieving a warm intimacy
in the large hall while maintaining a sophisticated celebrity
aura. Top ticket was
His responses to
the many questions revealed his reactions to his leading ladies.
About Mae West: “I don’t have a fond memory of Mae
West; she did her own thing to the detriment of everyone around
her. I don’t admire
Kelly: “The best I
ever worked with … she made it look so easy … had a brilliant
About Ronald Reagan: “As head of SAG … he was the best
president we ever had. As California governor, he brought the state in at a profit.”
On acting: “I
knew my business … You’re kidding yourself if you hide behind
the characters you portray.”
Grant prefers light comedies: “It’s simpler to make an
audience cry than laugh.” He
said he learned his timing from his early vaude experience as a
straight man, having to adapt to varying audiences and theaters.
He added he prefers the stage to film because relating to
someone else is what acting is all about.”
Asked if he had juggled when in vaudeville, he responded, “Only
a few morals.”
He never said “Judy, Judy, Judy;” he credits it to a
Larry Storch impersonation.
Grant said he
retired 20 years ago because the press prevented him from having
privacy with his new daughter.
He now prefers “different realities in life,” including
private planes that permit movement without public attention,
provided as a board member of major corporations.
It was a private
plane provided by Proctor’s Theater that helped lure Grant to
this city about 150 miles north of Gotham, where he was heading
for the reopening of the Museum of Modern Art.