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Cary Grant

Chapter Ten

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Howard Hawks: who directed the popular Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Only Angels Have Wings, I was a Male War Bride, and the not-so-popular Monkey Business.

George Stevens: the director of Penny Serenade, Talk of the Town and Gunga Din.

Leo McCarey: who directed The Awful Truth and An Affair to Remember.

George Cukor: who directed Holiday, Philadelphia Story and Sylvia Scarlett.

And, of course, Alfred Hitchcock: who made Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.

Each of those directors permitted me the release of improvisation during the rehearsing of each scene — rather in the manner that Dave Brubeck’s musical group improvises on the central theme, never losing sight of the original mood, key or rhythm, no matter how far out they go. The above directors permitted me to discover how far out I could go with confidence, while guided by their quiet, sensitive directorial approval. I am deeply indebted to each of them for their permission. And their patience.

Stanley Donen: the young director with whom I formed the Grandon Company, which produced Indiscreet and The Grass Is Greener. Recently he proffered the irresistible bait of Audrey Hepburn in the leading feminine role of Charade; and a promise that Peter Stone, its author, would rewrite the central characters in a way that would bridge the wide difference between Audrey’s age mine. That’s going to be some bridge. We’re making the picture, as I write these words, in Paris — where, in testimony to Stanley’s persuasiveness, I shall spend a chilly winter missing the warm Palm Springs desert and the home and horses I enjoy there. Stanley and I disagree about many points of picture-making, but no disagreement disturbs our mutual regard. Someone once said that if two partners in business are in constant agreement one of them is unnecessary!

Because their names are so often exploited, I find myself reluctant to include Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. But they’re the most attractive couple I know — young and mature, gay and serious, indulgent yet protective parents of two unusually beautiful children. When I’m in their company, my pleasure places a perpetual grin on my face. Grace keeps fondly in touch with friends she made in Hollywood, before leaving such an unfillable vacancy in the ranks of our leading stars, and her husband, Prince Ranier, equally shares her welcome of those same friends.

I’ve rarely been privileged to celebrate a holiday, whether Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, with a family, but about three years ago, Betsy and I attended a quiet Easter Sunday service in the family chapel at Monaco. And, later, watching the children excitedly running back and forth to their mother and father during the traditional egg hunt, I was suddenly caught unawares in a large wave of gladness for being there, and sadness for a childhood I couldn’t clearly remember or appreciate.

Grace and Rainier are considerate, stimulating hosts, and recently, after dinner in their unpretentious, comfortable apartment in Paris, the conversation of our small group ranged from the serious subject of rearing (and what more serious subject is there than the guiding of a life?) To word games and wince-making puns. We talked of absent friends, particularly of David Niven and his wife Jordis, who brighten any group anywhere. And, listening to such easy, pleasant conversation, I thought how satisfying it is to be accepted by these affectionate but unaffected people.

Robert Arthur: the producer, whose offices adjoin mine and who worked so diligently toward the tremendous box-office success of Operation Petticoat and That Touch of Mink. He and Stanley Shapiro, the unequaled comedy writer who wrote both pictures, have been steadying influences to my flights of impracticability.

And the closest to me of all, my lawyer-manager, Stanley Fox, without whose friendship and counsel I’d be adrift.

There are other people whose names you might know. Mostly successful self-made men — though, in a way, every man is self-made, I suppose — men in politics and the garment industry, men in sports and the financial world; and still others whose names or the degree of our closeness you could not know, but who will, when they read this, know that I know.

Some I see often. Some I see seldom. Some, alas, are dead. But I still feel the communion of their love. For all of them I’ve had special feelings.

Recently someone said that he’d never met anyone who had been inside my home. It seemed to the interviewer, who repeated it, that the statement signified I had no friends. Well, it’s probably true that he didn’t know anybody who had been inside my home, but then I don’t know anyone who has been inside his.

I know men and women who have dozens of people around them constantly, and not a friend amongst them. They group together in fear and secret dislike of one another, and when not with one another openly gossip about one another.

There is one man whose name I omitted in deference to his profession: the doctor who guided me through the therapeutic ordeal of many sessions and experiments with a hallucinogenic drug known as LSD. Much has been written about them, and later I shall try to describe the experiences and what have been, for me, their beneficial results.

Now, let me see. Where was I in my story? ...

Oh, yes. I got the job at Coney Island.

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