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
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
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
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