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The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net


RECOLLECTIONS


I love hearing stories about people who knew or had the luck to encounter Mr. Cary Grant. Some people have given me permission to share their stories with you! I hope you enjoy them. You will not find these stories elsewhere!!

If you encountered Cary (by chance, because you knew him, or at one of his "Conversations") and have something to contribute to this page, please email me - I look forward to hearing from you!

PLEASE NOTE: All writing on this page is copyrighted to the authors who should be contacted by email if you wish to use anything from here! (but remember to credit this page as well!)

Stephanie Berrington McNutt | James Stovall | Guy Thompson
Alistair Campsie
| Kent Shuelke
| Ron Syroid | Alan Light

Interview with Stephanie Berrington McNutt
Child co-star with Cary Grant in "Father Goose"
Interviewed by Esther Park


Click on photo to read the interview

Recollections from Alan Light 

Date Provided: Friday, November, 2003

Hi Debbie,

I came across your excellent web site, and it occurred to me I have some
rare Cary Grant photos you may be interested in adding to your online
collection. 

I had tickets to attend "A Conversation With Cary Grant" in Davenport Iowa on Nov. 29, 1986 - the night he died.  We showed up at the theater and were turned away by ushers who announced he had taken ill.  The next morning I opened the newspaper to find "A Legend Dies In Our Arms" as the headline. Cary had died.

The day after he died our local newspaper, the (Davenport Iowa) Quad City
Times, published the very last pictures ever taken of Cary, including two
photos of him on a stretcher being wheeled out of the lobby of the hotel he
was staying at and into an ambulance.  I have never seen these photos
published anywhere else, so they may be a valuable addition to your site.

I have scanned these items and attach them here as .jpg items.  Feel free to
put them on your web site or circulate them however you wish; I'm happy to
share them with other fans of Cary.

Best wishes,
Alan Light
Iowa City IA
November 28, 2003

The Final Hours
On the way to the Hospital
Stagehand Recalls His Last Rehearsal
Cary hospitalized; Q-C show canceled
'One day people will read that I am gone ...'

Date Provided: Friday, April 11, 2003

Good morning -- I have just turned onto your web page and find it fascinating.  My name is James Wm. Stovall, retired from the Salem Oregon Police Department in December 1985 after 36+ years, assigned most of that time in criminal investigations. Ann Rule wrote one book about a serial killer case I worked some years ago, "Lust Killer".  and, too, several years ago I was honored as being one of the top ten law enforcement officers in the nation, sponsored by the International Association of Chief's of Police and Parade Magazine.  Additionally, I have been a professional ski instructor most of my adult life (I am now 78), and in addition to my L.E. duties, directed an Oregon ski school -- I have also spent many vacations teaching in Vail Colorado where my daughter Sherrie was a ski instructor and my son Jimmy is now at attorney. I give you this information about myself but leading to a time when Jennifer was about 13...

Cary Grant spent a vacation in Vail with Jennifer and her friend Leisa, and I do believe Barbara may have been with them at the time. I was teaching skiing classes for Vail at this time and Leisa was assigned to my class...Jennifer joined my class at noon as the girls wanted to be together -- this was an adult class but these two girls had joined in which was okay with me as they were capable to keeping up at this beginning level.

During the week the girls progressed quite well and we made a number of runs off the top of Vail mountain even though there were a couple of storms which lasted for an hour or two.  Jennifer were eager to stay out in these stormy periods when other class members were drinking hot chocolate at Mid-Vail.  Jennifer was more aggressive than Leisa and over the week had a great time.  I was surprised to see that Jennifer was not in the least spoiled, and carried herself as the young lady she was -- it was a joy having them with me in class. The last day of class I took my wife with the class to bring up the rear as I was going to push the class out of their comfort zone more than in previous days. Jennifer wanted to know how to spell the name of my wife, CLARICE.

On Friday evening before Cary Grant and the girls were due to leave, my wife and I had dinner with Cary Grant and the girls. Jennifer said she and Leisa were making my wife and I a surprise... The next morning, with new snow on the ground, my wife and I took off skiing, but Jennifer and Leisa came to my daughters house, both giggling and carrying a one layer cake with our names written across the top. I was so pleased these two young girls thought of us... it was a joy for me to have had Jennifer and Leisa with me for that vacation week in Vail Colorado -- they were and I am sure are now great young ladies...

Needless to say, I never tried contacting Jennifer but have thought of her often as she was indeed such a sweet girl with a subtle competitive nature.

Best wishes,

James Wm. Stovall
Salem, Oregon
       
Recollections from Eileen Fitzgibbons egraham1@cfl.rr.com

Date Provided: Wed, 2 August 2002

Hi,
My name is Eileen, and I just signed your guestbook with a recollection of Cary Grant. I did this before I found this recollection page.

Anyway, as I said in my guestbook entry, I had CG on a flight from London-Los Angeles about a year before he died. I was a Pan Am Flight Attendant, and I was the Purser In- Charge on the flight, working in the First Class Cabin where CG and his wife were seated.

Shortly after takeoff, CG got comfy in an obviously old, and well worn Cashmere Cardigan. He took a pair of Wooden Shoe Trees out of his bag to place in his beautiful Italian Type Loafers. (for a 10 hour flight), and put on a pair of slippers.

I thought I was going to die!!! NEVER in my 30 years of flying all over the World have I seen anyone do that.

He and his wife were so lovely, so kind, so non-celebrity!! As he stood in my Galley, waiting to use the Lavatory, (CG USES TOILET?????) he chatted with me as if I was an old friend.

I have had many, many famous people on my flights in 30 years, but CG will always remain in my mind as the most wonderful. There is no one who can compare with him today. He was the epitome of CLASS.

AND, Even when he was on my flight, I had already seen all of his movies.
Eileen
Florida

Recollections from Guy Thompson
(gthomp1@AZStarNet.com)


Date Provided: Sun, 12 May 96

As a charter member and for three years manager of The Magic Castle -- a private club for magicians in Hollywood -- I became acquainted with Grant who was a member -- a very active member of the Board of Directors of the club. I will say that he was one of the nicest and most unassuming people one could hope to meet. In the land of super-egos, Hollywood, he was by any standards, a nice person and a gentleman. It was a delight to all of the staff whenever he came in for an evening because he was fun to be around. And his guests -- who were usually in their own right people of note or notoriety, took their cue from him and behaved as human beings regardless of their normal inclinations.

Date Provided: Fri, 17 May 1996 

He sent some guests to the Castle on night. As I remarked it was a private club and not easy of entrance. he sent, then, the crew of his plane -- provided him in his position as director of Brut. Then he got his bill for the evening and was outraged that it was so small -- he was used to Hollywood where they do you when possible. The Castle, as a club, had no desire to "do" our members. I assured him that his guests had had everything they wished, had dined well, and had to drink just what they wanted. He inquired about tips, had everyone been tipped. I assured him that cocktail waitress, bartenders, butler (at the castle we don't have waiters -- we have butlers) had been well and adequately tipped at 15%. He asked "How about you?" I assured him that I took no tips. He said that he must owe me something. I said he could give me a smile. Thereupon for the next few years -- even after I ceased being manager and reverted to my former status as a member, he always gave me a view of all the teeth every time we met. And he always introduced me to his guests -- including Tony Curtis on one occasion and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr (you're too young to remember him -- I remember his father). 

Date Provided: Thu, 29 July 1999

One night a member of the Magic Castle brought his mother to see the Castle.  She hailed from what we in the States refer to as Podunk -- you may substitute whatever region in UK indicates far from the beaten path and out of touch.  As she approached the entrance someone in the lobby opened the door for her.  She turned to thank this person and found herself facing CG.  He had been in the lobby talking to the receptionist and opening the door for all and sundry who showed up.  Imagine how all a-twitter our out of town visitor was.  Later in the evening when she was seated to watch the close-up show (close-up magic performed in a small room with a limited audience) she found sitting next to her CG.  Do you think the ladies in her bridge club back in Podunk are really going to believe her?  I am sure that her son had informed her that one did not ask for autographs at the Castle -- except of visiting magicians.   And of course, cameras were banned. 

On another occasion a young member had his boss in for dinner and drinks.  As they relaxed in the main bar the boss remarked that he supposed we got a lot of celebrities in here. A voice behind him said, "we get a few."  Boss turns around and finds a smiling CG. 

At the children's Christmas party one year after a performance in the haunted Wine Cellar the performer found a little girl with a wistful look.  She said that she couldn't find her daddy. "Who is your Daddy?"  "Cary Grant"  "I think we'll be able to find him all right." 

One of the most beloved of our members, one of the best known humorous (there, I did it > again) writers in the field of Magic, Clarke "The Senator" Crandall died.  The Academy of Magical Arts held a celebration of his life/memorial affair at the Castle.  Up on the balcony and out of sight of all the gathering was CG.  He had too much sensitivity to be down on the main floor with all of the rest of Clarke's friends because he knew that his presence would automatically attract attention to himself.  He had some words in private with the widow and stayed for the whole affair where he could see and hear without intruding.  And you can bet that that made a tremendous impression on the widow.  (And on the rest of us who understood what he had done.)

When at the annual meeting the members of the Board of Directors were running for re-election each was allotted a few minutes to address the membership.  CG assured us that we did not want to elect a person merely because he had good teeth -- whereupon he flashed us the full smile with all teeth gleaming.  What we wanted, he said, was someone who understood the business.  As I have previously said he was acknowledged to be the best businessman on the board.  He handily won re-election. 

Recollections from Alistair Campsie (piperspress@talktalk.net)

Date Provided: Fri, 13 Oct 1998

One thing I can promise you -- Cary Grant was as courteous off-screen as he was on it.  And although it is exactly 40 years ago - September 11, 1958 - when I met him, the memory of his easy charm more than lingers on.

As a film critic, I used to cover the Edinburgh International Film Festival for the Daily Mail in Scotland, although when we interviewed each other, I was working for its sister paper, the old Sunday Dispatch, and met many film stars.

Some were truly awful like the one (no names) who kept deliberately bumping into a colleague of mine at a film reception and saying: "You're a journalist, huh?  You must meet such interesting people".

"True, true," my friend eventually said, "but they all work for the other papers."

With Cary Grant there was nothing like that and he epitomized a truth I have long known:  when you deal with the truly great, they are inevitably courteous.  It's the second-rate who are rude, presumably to shore up their inadequacy.

He had come to Edinburgh for a sneak preview of his new film, Indiscreet, in which I hardly need mention to fans of the man, he starred with Ingrid Bergman.  The customary party afterwards was bouncing through the 5-star Caledonian Hotel when I introduced myself to his head publicity man and said I'd like to meet the actor in the morning, alone.

By this time my voice had sunk to a sinister whisper so that none of my rivals could hear what I was saying, because I was after an exclusive story, which they would have deeply loved to pinch.  "Come and have breakfast," I was told.

In those days Cary Grant was married to Betsy Drake who, apart from looking lovely, had an intellect to match, and I had discovered she was using hypnosis on him to calm his nerves before filming. I wondered in turn if she had used hypnosis on him to stop him smoking.  Edinburgh was just starting one of the first stop-smoking campaigns, much to the outrage of the city's larcenist tobacconists, and I  was absolutely desperate to stop ciggies myself and had tried every known method with a fatal lack of success.

When I met him next morning he was languidly sitting back on a couch,  wearing a blue lambswool sweater and charcoal-grey  slacks and rose to shake hands with the nicotine-laced wreckage in front of him and invited me (a) to sit down, presumably before I fell down, and (b) to bacon and eggs. 

We amended the order to bacon and eggs for him and black coffee for me and he actually asked if I wanted to smoke.  It turned out that, yes, Betsy Drake had hypnotized him to stop smoking, which he had done using an unknown way now called the hypnagogic method. 

That's when he began interviewing me, doubtless taking pity on me, and taught me how to stop smoking which I successfully and painlessly did.  Years later I published the method in a wee paperback, which I am sure he would have wished because he was genuinely concerned even then with the number of British teenagers, especially girls, who were smoking cigarettes and becoming permanently hooked.

Why the government has refused to take up the method, remembering  the icon-effect of his name and his influence on the young and old alike, remains a mystery.  In fact, I'll go further and say it's an international scandal, but that seems never to worry the health professionals, almost none of whom were ever addicted to cigarettes like we were, and simply do not understand the pain involved.

He did, revealing only too well his caring nature, which brings me back to his courtesy.   As an ex-smoker, he actually invited me to light up, well knowing how much it hurt me not to.  I cannot imagine a greater act of courtesy and I have always remembered him for it.

Recollections from Kent Schuelke (kentvictor@hotmail.com)

Date Provided: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 

MY PHONE CONVERSATION WITH CARY GRANT
by Kent Victor Schuelke
In July of 1986 I had the privilege of interviewing Cary Grant.

I was a college newspaper reporter and 23 years of age.  I was a student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.  In the summer of 1986 the university's movie theater, The Bijou, made Cary Grant the featured artist of its summer screening schedule.  The Bijou booked about a dozen of Grant's films, according to my recollections.   I was an entertainment reporter for The Daily Iowan, the university's student newspaper.  I decided to do an article about Grant, a favorite of mine, to publicize the Bijou's Grant festival.

With little hope of success, I took a crack at arranging a phone interview with the Hollywood icon.  I scored a mailing address for Mr. Grant by calling the Screen Actors Guild.  I sent him a brief, personalized letter describing my love of his work, the Bijou's film tribute, and my desire to interview him.

I still remember delivering the sealed envelope containing the missive to the newspaper's business office.  I handed the letter to the secretary for mailing and she glanced at the address on the envelope and then gazed skeptically into my eyes.  She asked what the letter was about.  After I told her she chuckled dismissively and said I would be lucky to receive a form rejection letter from a publicist in about six months.  I couldn't say she was wrong, but I remember the bounce in my step that had accompanied my entrance, was noticeably absent as I exited the  office.

About one week went by and I became preoccupied by other things, as a student- journalist tends to do (although I doubt it was school).  I stopped by the DI newsroom late on a Friday afternoon and there was a phone message in my mailbox.  Before I could read it, the young woman who had scrawled the message verbally spilled its contents.   Mr. Grant had granted my request for an interview and I could call him at his home that weekend, more specifically Saturday or Sunday before noon pacific time.  ("Because after that I'll be at the track," Grant later explained to me.)   I was, needless to say, ecstatic.

Friday evening and Saturday I bragged about my coup to any friends who would listen.  One friend, a student executive at the campus radio station, offered use of a telephone in one of the radio station's studios and also offered to immortalize the chat on a station reel-to-reel tape recorder.   I accepted his offer and arrived at the radio station Sunday morning to do the interview.  My friend sat in a studio control room and I sat by myself in a small studio with a telephone in front of me.  My friend affixed a fresh tape onto a reel-to-reel recorder and signaled me, through the glass window that separated us, that things were ready to roll.

I placed the call.  I was nervous, and my hands and voice shook slightly. After several suspenseful rings, a woman's voice was on the line, Barbara Grant, I presumed.  I explained who I was and why I was calling.  She left the phone and my nervousness grew while a few seconds of silence passed.

Then "the voice" was on the other end of the phone.  "Good morning, how are you?" chirped the unmistakable golden tone of a true tinseltown legend.

I awkwardly introduced myself.  Then Cary Grant did something unexpected. He asked if I was taping the interview.  I said that I was. "Turn it off," he said curtly. I motioned to my friend in the control room and he messed with some knobs and dials.  My friend communicated with several waves of his hands that things were cool and it was all right to continue.  I told Mr. Grant that we had honored his request and he explained that he never allowed himself to be taped during interviews.  He said, "Copies of my voice show up in Hong Kong and God knows where else."  Though I was too preoccupied to think of it at the time, I later contemplated that this policy enabled Grant to maintain control of one of his most marketable commodities: his world-famous voice.  He told me that he did not do television interviews for this very reason.

Our Q&A commenced.  I began to relax and Grant provided very open, intelligent and complex responses to my queries.  On a few occasions when he felt my questions were a tad stupid, his answers became slightly brusque and condescending.  We were discussing "Only Angels Have Wings" and he said "that I must really know his films If I had seen 'Only Angels Have Wings.'" I took his remark literally and innocently/arrogantly gushed that I had seen the picture in a film class the semester before.  Grant's response made it clear that he did not think my awareness of that film's existence qualified me as a cinema aficionado and that his comment had been flavored with sarcasm.  "I was only kidding," Grant chuckled.

But, overall, the interview went smashingly and Grant was a true gentlemen. Near the end of our talk I asked Mr. Grant what he was looking at that precise moment.  "How interesting!" Grant crowed, and described his Beverly Hills backyard and a view of the Pacific Ocean.  (Although now I live in Los Angeles and wonder how the hell anyone in Beverly Hills could have a view of the Pacific.  I don't think he was lying, I just don't understand the geography.  Maybe I should locate his house and that will provide the answer).

At one point Mr. Grant was talking quite fast and I was having trouble keeping up with my notes.  I looked to my friend in the radio control room and he gave me a hand signal that said "don't worry about it."  I realized that the tape recorder was still running and had been running the entire interview.  I was too busy with my "big interview" to do much more than make a mental note of this information.  I must honestly say that I was relieved, because now I would be able to rely on the tape and not on my nervous penmanship.

Cary Grant and I talked and talked and soon about an hour had gone by. Grant told me it was time to stop because he had to go to the horse-race track.  We said our good-byes and the interview was over.

My friend duplicated a copy of the interview onto a cassette tape for me to use as I wrote the article.  Later my friend claimed that he erased the reel- to-reel taped evidence, but I have no verification of this.

Anyway, with my cassette recording of the interview I returned to the DI newsroom to write my article.  The entertainment editor, who had just returned from an out-of-town trip, was so overjoyed by the news of the exclusive that she decided to give the interview amble space, in TWO issues of the daily paper.

The articles graced the front and interior pages of the paper's entertainment sections on both a Tuesday and Wednesday in July, 1986.  They became a party conversation piece and a source of campus fame for me that summer.

Fast forward four months to November 1986.  I was now a full-time, paid staff reporter for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the paper serving the tiny city where I attended college and part of the Gannett newspaper chain.

My phone rang at home.  "Cary Grant is dead!" a friend announced.  Not only was Grant dead, but he had died in Davenport, IOWA, only an hour's drive from Iowa City.  After the initial shock dissipated, I realized that my interview might be of greater value than simply a college kid's stroke-of-luck. 

There are several ironies to my story.  One is that during the interview, Grant talked a lot about posterity.  He talked about how he wanted to be remembered.  He talked about how he wanted to spend his last days.  Not only did I possess what might be the last interview with Cary Grant, but the actor expressed feelings and opinions to me that now sounded like epitaphs.

I got on the phone with the big shots of publishing.  The New York Times. PEOPLE magazine.  Time.  Newsweek.  The Wall Street Journal.  Rolling Stone. I told them I was a reporter calling from Iowa and I had what might be the last interview with Cary Grant.

I got through to important editors at most of the publications.  There is no question the fact I was calling from Iowa was a paramount reason those editorial doors opened.  If Cary Grant had died in Beverly Hills, I probably would have spoken to an editorial intern.  PEOPLE magazine requested a faxed copy of the interview.  My newspaper didn't yet have a fax machine (This was 1986.  "What was a fax machine," I wondered), so I complied by overnight courier.

I called a few other publications the next day, including INTERVIEW magazine.  I talked with an editor at PEOPLE who told me it was an interesting interview but that they were going to rush into print a more general, comprehensive story about the dead actor (a format for which PEOPLE since has become famous).   Later that day I got a call from INTERVIEW editor Gail Love.  She was noncommittal, but interested in reading the text. Three days later INTERVIEW bought the piece for $400.

Selling the story to INTERVIEW was a great thrill for a 23-year-old budding journalist and film fanatic.  The article appeared in the January 1987 issue of INTERVIEW.   It was my claim to fame (which I milked thoroughly) for the remainder of my short tenure in Iowa City.

More than 12 years have passed since my 15 minutes of fame.  It was a big deal to me back then, but I rarely mention the experience to anybody these days.  It seems to pale in comparison to the real life experiences of the past decade, experiences charting my transition into an adult world.  This is the first time I have written about my small role in the Cary Grant story.

There are a few short epilogues to the tale.  Although it may be ridiculous, I always have felt fate played a role in my brief association with the actor.  Maybe it's only a strange coincidence, and maybe my thoughts that it is anything more are ludicrous, but I always have believed it was no accident that Mr. Grant died in Iowa.  I think the universe (OK, I live in California) intended for this tragedy to provide a perk to my career and a milestone to my life.  Other macabre coincidences thread the story.  During January 1987, when the Cary Grant issue of INTERVIEW graced the newsstands, the magazine's founder, Andy Warhol, died.  A few months later, the Bijou Theater coincidentally screened a Fred Astaire movie on the very day the great dancer and film icon passed away.  WARNING TO LEGENDS OF SILVER SCREEN: Do not agree to a film tribute at the University of Iowa's Bijou Theater unless you desire to take that famed walk into the light.

The only part of the story that remains unresolved is the nasty business of the tape recording.  Journalistic ethics are clear regarding one thing: that interview should never have been recorded.  My friend should have stopped the tape the minute Mr. Grant requested.  I could plead personal innocence in this ethical lapse because I thought my friend had complied.  But, as you read, I did realize later during my talk with Grant that the tape still was rolling.  If I was an ethical white knight, I would have demanded that my friend cease and desist recording Mr. Grant's words.  Further, I could have destroyed the tape immediately after the phone conversation concluded.  I didn't.  I honestly don't know many people who would have done so if they were in my place.

I still have the tape, and guard its health closely.  I felt guilty about this piece of evidence for a few months after the phone interview, but Mr. Grant's death changed that.

It's easy to hear Mr. Grant's voice when his films air on TV or play at a revival house.  Fans also can hear Grant's voice on one of the numerous radio plays he acted in, and of which copies exist. 

But I don't know of any other recordings of Mr. Grant discussing his personal life, his observations about his films, and how he wants his life and work to be remembered.  I can't say that no other such recordings exist, but at the very least, the tape I possess is an important relic.  It would be a sin to destroy this rare piece of oral history that documents one of the most popular and important performing artists of the 20th Century.

I don't know what I'll do with the tape, but I have no plan to act on any greedy impulses (if, in fact, it possesses financial value).  Maybe it will be of value for film historians or a Grant archive.  I probably will donate it to some institution, if there is interest.

I still love Cary Grant.  I never actually knew this enigma of a man, although he did pull back the curtain for 60-quick minutes, and reveal a glimpse into the thoughts and heart of a legend. 

Kent Victor Schuelke January 22, 1999
If you have any comments on this recollection, send me an e-mail at kentvictor@hotmail.com

Recollections from Ron Syroid
(rlsyroid@neo.rr.com)

Date Provided: Sat, 3 Feb 2001

    I was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Akron Civic Theatre, a 2668 seat "atmospheric" theatre built to resemble a Moorish castle, having an auditorium in an outdoor garden setting under an azure sky with twinkling stars and drifting clouds.  The facility was opened on April 20, 1929 as the Loew's Akron.  In 1965 the venue was made a not-for-profit 501(c)3 facility, and through the years,  leadership in Akron, Summit County and the State of Ohio provided funds for restoring the magnificent theatre.  Patti Ann Eddy, the Executive Director, and I were involved in creating various programs for the Akron Civic Theatre.

    Early in 1986 Ms. Eddy contacted Cary Grant's agent and asked details of having Grant appear at the Akron Civic Theatre.  Apparently Mr. Grant considered the many requests for personal appearances with his wife.  One factor was a location that was interesting to her, a city or place she had not visited, for example.

    Possibly the uniqueness of the Akron Civic Theatre - with its 13 rank Wurlitzer theatre organ and its atmospheric design in a theatre seating over 2000, as well as nearby local attractions - intrigued Cary Grant and his wife.

    We were thrilled to receive a contract for his personal appearance for later in 1986, probably November.   Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the underwriting funds needed to produce the show, which usually involved Cary Grant discussing his filmmaking with the audience, followed by some question and answer period.

    Sadly, Mr. Grant died in November 1986.

    Some biographies have printed erroneously that he passed away in Akron, Ohio.  We think the authors came across the personal appearance contract that we had begun to develop.  This morning on a local talk show the host mentioned Cary Grant and his film career, and one of the callers had heard that the famed actor died in Ohio.  I called to correct that misleading information, but determined to find the specific city of his death from the internet.  That is when I found your excellent web site. 

    Keep up the good work.  It is certainly interesting and useful.
 Thank you,
Ron Syroid


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