a young man, Cary Grant’s face was handsome, sleek and selfish.
At 60, his face has been lived in.
It is full of love and compassion.
And he is 60 times as handsome.
And a thousand times more attractive.
How did it happen? What
is his secret?
I have known
for 28 years. I have
studied him at close range. I
have seen the development, the never-ceasing search to become a
good human being. But
don’t get the idea that in the process he has become a
sentimental softie. When
I lunched with him recently, he sounded off strongly against a
certain columnist who, he says, prefers to print lies about him.
“She’s so full of envy, she can’t see straight,” he
remarked. And when we
discussed the ever-increasing burglaries in
and elsewhere, he said, “I’m prepared.
I have a gun and I know how to shoot, and whoever comes
calling without an invitation will get it in the rear end.”
No, there is nothing namby-pamby about
. That explains why
men like him just as much as the women of all ages who swoon for
this remarkable man.
Of course we all know about LSD, and what
claims it did for him. This
strange drug is now legally prohibited, which
deplores. “It’s a
psychic energizer,” he has stated.
“It releases the subconscious.
It makes you see all your guilts, fears, repressions and
insecurities. It makes
you free.” But he
admits that in the hands of unscrupulous doctors and quacks it
could be dangerous. In
’s complete adulthood today was not caused by his experiences
with LSD. It is the
result of his continual desire to learn the truth about himself,
to profit from this knowledge, and to share his understanding.
“Do not blame others for your own
mistakes.” This is
’s most important rules. I
remember when I blamed “Mother Nature” for the fact that every
bite I take puts weight on me.
looked deeply into my eyes – and that I enjoyed and said,
“Nonsense. YOU are
Mother Nature. You
have the power within you to be thin or fat, as you desire.”
And as I still looked skeptical, he went on, “God is
within you, and you can do and have anything you want.
You must love yourself more.”
And then he added, “You can love your fellow man.”
Love – that is a word you hear often when
you are around Cary Grant.
Another rule in the Grant philosophy for a
happier way of life. “Don’t
go to extremes. Don’t
hate too much and don’t love too much.
Try to live somewhere in the middle.
Hate destroys the hater.
And if you love too much you get too involved and you
cannot see too clearly. Love
and hate are like night and day.
They do exist together and you must accept them both, but
you must also understand them and be in control of both emotions.
It is peaceful in the middle.
You won’t be hurt in the middle.”
Being in the middle of love and hate may sound passive.
This is not what
means. He is a vital,
energetic man. He
believes in loving one’s fellow man intelligently.
“It is the law of life that if you are kind to someone
you feel happy. If you
are cruel you are unhappy. And
if you hurt someone, you will be hurt back.”
’s successful career is all part of his successful philosophy.
He is said to be the richest actor today in
, and his recent picture, Charade could bring him in more
millions than the millions he has earned from such successful
films as Operation Petticoat, That Touch of Mink, To
Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.
He has at least ten million dollars in the bank.
And he will go on making money until Archangel Gabriel
calls him above to enchant the residents up there.
“But anyone can do well,” insists
. “It’s all out
there waiting for you to take.
But first you must reach out and get it.
You must work for your riches.
You cannot expect it to fall into your lap.”
Then there is the question of values.
Not everyone wants to be a financial success.
Some are happier away from the rat race that we call the
modern way of life. “You
must learn to live within yourself,” says
. “You must
establish the values by which you live.
You must first recognize the need, and if it is right you
will be amazed at how things will open up.”
A friend of
’s was saying to him recently, “I wish I could stop
smoking.” “You can
if you want to,”
replied, adding, “I did.”
had an unfair advantage. He
was hypnotized into giving up the week, by the third wife Betsy
Drake. She would sit
by his bedside, and in a monotonous drone tell him that he did not
really want to smoke, that it was bad for him.
He would fall asleep and Betsy would continue talking
softly. She not only
cured Cary, but herself. She
was hypnotized by her own words.
Betsy also hypnotized
into sleeping well, by the same method of talking him to sleep.
We don’t all have a Betsy – but we all have will power.
And I wish mine was a bit stronger.
, he eats anything he likes and has kept the same weight for the
past 30 years. And
with only a minimum amount of exercise, too.
He swims a bit, and plays tennis a bit.
But that’s about all.
I guess he just “wills” himself to stay in such
There is one area when
has been unsuccessful to date, and he is the first to admit it.
He has been married three times and divorced three times.
His first wife, Virginia Cherrill, was a leading lady for
Charlie Chaplin. She
and married The Earl of Jersey.
’s second wife was one of the richest women in the world,
Barbara Hutton. They
are still good friends and Cary has tried to help Barbara’s son,
Lance Reventlow, through some of his problems.
’s marriage with Betsy Drake, was the longest lasting, and their
divorce was the friendliest. They
, in 1949, with Howard Hughes as best man.
They separated a few years ago, and the divorce took place
recently. They still
dine together, and I doubt whether anything could break their deep
perhaps another marriage for
, which he seems to desire. I
believe that Betsy is still in love with the gray-haired
60-year-old charmer. And
I doubt whether she would want to be around for Wife Number 4.
And the fourth Mrs. Cary Grant could be young Dyan
sees a lot of Dyan.
The fact that
wants to marry again, is another sign of his tranquility.
At the break-up of his marriage to Betsy, he told me,
“When I’m married I want to be single, and when I’m single I
want to be married.” If
anyone breaks up the next marriage, it won’t be
. This time he wants
children. He wants to
pass on what he has learned with so much sweat and tears.
He was an only child and he doesn’t have many relatives.
His father died in 1933.
His mother who insists on living in her native
, is 88. He will have
a lot of money to leave someone, or something.
He has lived carefully all his life, although he is more
generous than some people give him credit for.
That is one subject that he does not talk about, but every
once in a while I hear someone
has helped with money as well as with advice.
And unlike some of the stars, he never complains about
paying his income tax and he wouldn’t dream of living in
in order to hang onto the millions he ears.
“If I make it,” says
, “I’m happy to pay it.”
He also gives U.S. Savings Bonds, to the tune of many
hundred dollars each, to the crew and office workers at the
conclusion of his pictures.
And make no mistake, they all love him on the
set. In recent years
especially, no one has ever heard him raise his voice in anger.
Things go wrong sometimes.
calls a conference in his dressing room. There is never any
tension on a Cary Grant picture.
Maybe that’s why they are so good.
And he is one of the few stars who does not employ an
knows what is good for him. He
picks his pictures. His
lawyer and friend Stanley Fox draws up the contracts.
“I’d be lost without him,” says Cary who always gives
credit where he feels it is merited.
is not infallible. He
sometimes chooses wrongly. The
Grass is Greener was a grade-A flop.
And yet it must have seemed good at the time, with co-stars
Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons.
“But I never dwell on past mistakes,”
told me. “There is
too much to plan for the future to waste time complaining.
Elsie Mendl was a great friend of mine for many, many
years. And I remember
the creed by which she lived: Never complain, never explain.
Just think of the people you know who are always explaining
their mistakes. It
merely rubs the whole thing in.
You’re reminded again of the mistake.
And no one believes the explanation anyway.
And how did it all start – what
described in his life story for a woman’s magazine:
“The love and the hate and the power of God in me?”
I suspect he was always an intelligent man, even when he
was walking on stilts in
, billed as Archie Leach. And
when he thought he had made the grade in
as Mae West’s leading man in She Done Him Wrong.
Mae did him right, says
. It was the turning
point in his
career. He was
noticed. You had to
look twice at this handsome, sleek young man, even if he didn’t
look back at you. In
those early days,
shared a beach house with Randolph Scott.
I was invited to swim there soon after I arrived in 1936.
It was all so pleasant and gay, girls and boys dropping in,
and Cary rushing in from the studio for a quick swim in the pool.
I remember all the jokes and the flirting.
But to get to know him well, that was something else.
“I used to hide behind the façade that was
Cary Grant,” he admitted recently.
“I didn’t know if I were Archie Leach, or Cary Grant,
and I wasn’t taking any chances.”
He has cured himself of his fear of heights.
”Another thing I had to cure myself of was
the desire for adulation, and the approbation of my fellow man.
It started when I was a small boy and played football at
school. If I did well
they cheered me. If I
fumbled I was booed. It
became very important to me to be liked.
It’s the same in the theater, the applause and the
laughter give you courage and the excitement to go on.
I thought it was absolutely necessary in order to be happy.
Now I know how it can change, just like that.
They can be applauding you one moment, and booing you the
next. The thing to
know is that you have done a good job, then it doesn’t hurt to
be criticized. My
press agent was very indignant over something written about me not
too long ago. “Look,”
I told him. “I’ve
known this character for many years, and the faults he sees in me
are really the faults in himself that he hates.”
Envy is the besetting sin of mankind, and this
’s “Don’t-do-it” list.
“It always amazes me,” he wrote in his brief
autobiography, “that those who fight for the luxuries of life,
are the first to resent those who have them.
Also, people seek targets for whatever hurts them,
especially their own lack of success.
Personally, I regard every knock as a boost.”
Well, there aren’t too many knocks for
these days. And I
can’t remember too many at any time. It seems to me that the
whole world is his friend. And
he is a friend to everyone – when they need one.
As Ingrid Bergman did at the time of her out-of-wedlock
baby with Rossellini.
spoke out for her as he would speak out for anyone he admired,
whether it was Ingrid, the President of the
, or a scrubwoman. He
is a potent force for good – for
, and for all of us. I am always delighted to see Cary Grant, and
count myself lucky to be one of his friends.