August 7, 2007
From Nancy Bruce
Cary Grant Trivia Queen for www.carygrant.net
First -- thank you for offering to do an interview for the
www.carygrant.net website, and my heartfelt appreciation for your well
researched and delightfully written book. My compliments also to your publisher
for making it such an attractive book. On a selfish note, I hope my review stays
up near the top on the Amazon site, it gives me great pleasure.
RT: So do I! It's an insightful and very flattering
review. It's great to be here and thank you all for your interest and support. I
give you all a great big cyberhug.
I confessed to another Warbride that coming up with
questions would be difficult because I felt like you covered your subject so
completely. Without going through the book again, I only had one for myself and
2 for www.carygrant.net trivia information.
1) I wondered what you might have discovered in your
research that you found interesting, but didn't use in the book either because
of space or irrelevance to the subject of style.
RT: I actually keep on finding more and more evidence to
support what I wrote in the book - that he was a consummate professional and a
really extraordinary human being - not perfect, not a saint, but a human being
who tried very hard to evolve into a better person - someone who really cared
For example, I met cousins of his ex-wife, Betsy Drake,
on the plane when I was flying to New York City in September to attend the book
launch party that was hosted by Giorgio Armani and Town & Country magazine.
Betsy's cousins were talking on their cell phone, so I had to wait until they
finished before I could sit down; their belongings were in my seat. As it turned
out, guess who they were talking to? Betsy Drake. It was her birthday. Isn't
They told me many things that corroborate what's in the
book, but one story really moved me, which I'll share, which of course is not in
the book. Betsy and Cary took a break from Hollywood and traveled around the
world in the early 1950s. Whenever they could, they visited Korean War veterans
in hospitals, many of whom were badly wounded, maimed, or even close to death.
Betsy and Cary would sit and talk and joke and try to comfort them for up to ten
hours a day. It was such a heart-wrenching experience that when they returned to
their hotel they would both cry and cry. But the next day, Cary insisted that
they return to the hospital to do what they could to boost the morale of the
wounded and suffering soldiers.
And this was no photo op, no publicity stunt, no media
circus. He really did have a big heart as well as a great wardrobe : )
2) I'm regularly asked about whether or not he dyed his
hair. You state that he did not, and I agree, but a number of people insist that
he dyed his hair in the end of his career. Could you share your source?
RT: I find their insistence very odd. All you have to do
is look at his movies and photographs of him to see how his hair grayed with age
and by the time of Charade (1964) he was almost completely gray. If you look at
the photos in my book from The Pride and the Passion (pg. 87), Charade (pg. 101,
130), Father Goose (pg.166), or Walk, Don't Run (pg.171), his hair is clearly
gray or graying. On pgs. 156, 158, and 177 he's completely or very nearly gray.
Or better yet, just watch the movies themselves for evidence that he did not dye
He told GQ magazine jokingly that he didn't dye his hair
because when his gray hairs fell out they matched his gray suit. I put that in
the book but some readers took him literally - that he really didn't dye his
hair for this reason. But he meant it as a joke.
3) I've also been asked about the maker of his eye-glasses
and have been unable to find a source, although I'm probably just missing it
somewhere. Do you happen to know the answer?
RT: I did hold in my hand a pair of his fold-up tortoise
shell reading glasses that were made by Pierre Cardin.
So -- after a re-reading, I found myself curious about the
following, and I apologize if the answer was there in the book and I didn't find
4) Shoulder pads in CGs suits were rather extreme in the
early days. In your opinion, did he and his studios use them to advantage in the
earlier films or were you glad he minimized them? What size appeared ideal to
you? (I did note the broad shoulders in the Brooks Brothers shirt that was in
North by Northwest. I'd always thought it was an off the rack shirt because the
Feds were supplying him w/ fresh clothes in the hospital.)
RT: The shoulder pads might seem extreme in CG's early
days, but that was the style then and they were balanced with the wider lapels.
I like his look in the 1930s and 1940s. One of his Savile Row tailors said that
he had quite a large head, so the shoulders had to be of a proportion to make
him look symmetrical.
He was also a more muscular man in his early days, so the
suits had to accommodate that. By the time of North by Northwest he was very
lean and trim, and the slim-cut style of that time looked great on him and he
took advantage of it, keeping his wardrobe very simple and pared down. For me,
regardless of the decade, he always manages to express his Cary Grantness.
But I think my favorite look is his slim-cut look of the
'50s and '60s in movies like "North by Northwest."
5) CG preferred soft clothing, or at least soft collars according to your
findings, which is interesting. It makes me curious about starch he preferred in
his shirts, and brought to mind the age old question of whether or not he wore
RT: Yes, he sometimes wore undershirts.
The fabric of the shirts were soft, but the underpinning
could be firm so that the collars wouldn't sag. He liked clothes with a high
thread count and quality cotton, like Sea Island Cotton, as many of us do today.
Many of the stars preferred stiffer or starchier fabrics. For instance, Frank
Sinatra's shirts were lined with a material that was almost as sturdy as bamboo
because he didn't like any wrinkles. A matter of taste, really.
6) You say that CG was not a metrosexual, for reasons
including having a toughness along with his elegance. From your comments in your
book and other places, you place today's stars as lacking in those qualities,
although they might be close. Since publication, have you changed your opinion
on any of the new guys? Who do you think comes the closest to achieving that
level of grace & style?
RT: I haven't really changed my mind about
that, but I like George Clooney a lot now but for different reasons. He's made
some interesting films, some commercial (like Ocean's 13) and some artistic (The
Good German, Good Night and Good Luck). I think he looks great in Ocean's 13.
Very CG in his simple but elegant Armani suits. I think the sartorial style of
major Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt has matured and the
golden-era influence is obvious. I call them "The New Gentleman." In
fact, I wrote an article about that very subject that appeared in The San
Francisco Chronicle in February; if you're interested in more detail check it
out on www.sfgate.com.
Here's the link: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/02/25/LVGI7O9JSP1.DTL
I also appeared on E! News with Ryan
Seacrest and Giuliani DePandi and talked about how today's stars make old
Hollywood new again.
Ultimately, though, I don't think anybody will replace
CG. And maybe that's how it should be.
George Clooney is his own man, does his own thing, and
although he seems to be influenced by CG, he seems to have his own ideas about
filmmaking. In a way, he's a bit braver than CG in terms of filmmaking because
he takes risks. CG was always very concerned about making "Cary Grant
films." George Clooney does not seem to be imprisoned by a single persona.
And I admire him for that.
7) You quote Eva Marie Saint as saying that Hitchcock wanted
the cast of To Catch a Thief to wear classic styles so that the movie wouldn't
become dated. I supposed I had assumed that it was just that plots that weren't
dated in films that hold up well, but it hadn't occurred to me that the clothing
also adds to that sense. After you learned about that wardrobe tactic, have any
other films stood out to you as examples of this?
RT: The film, by the way, was North by Northwest, not To
Catch a Thief. But this is a question that fascinates me because if you dress in
a classic style you never look dated. On the other hand, it's fun to play around
with trends. After all, it would be pretty boring if you wore the same clothes
all the time. But just last night I happened to be watching Humphrey Bogart in
DEAD RECKONING with Lizabeth Scott and that exact issue presented itself.
Bogart's suit would be right in style today, even thought
the movie was filmed in 1946 (released in 1947). However, the women's costumes
are extremely dated-even laughable in places. The bird-nest hats, the over
accessorizing, the bizarre frills. Of course that was the style of the day, so
I'm sure they looked chic at the time but watching them today they sure look
8) From page 130, "In real life he preferred younger
women, pursued them almost exclusively…." It begs the question: Almost?
RT: Well, he did date a lot of women between marriages.
Some were his own age, some older. But as you can see by the women he married,
he preferred younger women for the most part.
9) CG gave clothing advice to both Ralph Lauren and Audrey
Hepburn suggesting the double breasted tuxedo as design for Lauren to make and
suggesting that Hepburn dress neatly and cleanly. I found that fascinating in
any context. Did you perceive CG with a certain amount of arrogance in regard to
attire, or was it merely completion, or something else entirely?
RT: Arrogance? No, nothing in his personality was
arrogant in that regard. Confident and knowledgeable, yes. And I don't recall
him giving Ralph Lauren advice. I just recall him asking RL to make a particular
tuxedo that he liked. Ralph was a kid when they met. I'm sure CG knew a lot more
about clothes at that time than he did and I'm sure Ralph would be the first to
admit it. They had a friendship and shared ideas on lots of things. Same with
Audrey. She adored him. And as he was an older established star by the time they
met, it would be natural for her to ask him his opinion about such things.
10) You quote David Thomson as saying that "Only Fred
Astaire ever moved as well as Cary Grant, but Grant moved with more dramatic
eloquence while Astaire cherished the purity of movement. Grant could look as
elegant as Astaire, but he could manage to look clumsy without actually
sacrificing balance or style." A particularly astute observation described
clearly and cleverly.
Also,George Cukor's observation of a stiff CG on the set of Sylvia Scarlett
evolving in to something smoother, you quote him as saying that CG
"suddenly burst in to bloom."
These descriptions remind me of a discussion that some of us
have had on the Cary Grant Warbrides list. The topic is the evolution of CG
going from an awkwardly stiff actor unsure of his movements to a much smoother
CG. At some point, every movement became a dance. Most frequently, as the
character called for it, there was a glide to his motion (clearly seen when
guiding a woman through a crowded room) and sometimes the dance became very
different (Mr. Lucky and Father Goose are good examples of those times).
My question to you about this is whether or not you'd agree
that such a change occurred, and if so, at what point do you think CG had
achieved that smoothness?
RT: Yes, I agree completely. I think that's a very good
point that speaks to CG's appeal. It was not only the way he dressed that made
him so watchable. A big part of his style is the way he moved. He moved with
physical grace. A lot of handsome or beautiful stars, although visually
appealing, fall short because they don't move well. I think the turning point
for CG was after he left Paramount in 1936. The films that followed after that -
Sylvia Scarlett, Holiday, etc. - show him much more relaxed, confident, and
expressive. The reason, I think, is that he not only matured as an actor and got
better roles, but by that time he was working with better directors too-some of
the best in Hollywood.
In appreciation for your work and the time you're spending
on this internet interview, I want to share my reactions to a few of the things
you included in the book.
First, a couple of things that amuse me greatly. There are
great examples of his attention/addiction to detail with the letter from Barbara
Harris Grant regarding returning shirts for collar corrections on a trip to
London and with the anecdote of his returning shirts to a tailor in Hong Kong
with detailed (1/8 inch) corrections. It occurs to me that one of the reasons
that I don't find it ridiculous is because of the results he obtained. This also
speaks to CG spending his money and time on things that matter to him. He
certainly wasn't a miser, he was happy to spend on what he valued, as long as he
was getting his money's worth.
RT: I agree. He said that it takes "500 details to
make one favorable impression." And when you're onscreen, you're magnified
100 times, so the slightest imperfection might seem glaring. In his own life, he
was, as you point out, very meticulous.
I explain it this way. He loved clothes. And for people
with any kind of passion, they just don't let things slide, whether they're big
things or little things. They care. Most people don't, so they find it finicky
And the interesting thing about him requesting that the
tailor adjust his shirt 1/8 of an inch, one Savile Row tailor told me, it's not
uncommon to adjust things 1/16 of an inch. So he really was not as fussy as he's
often made out to be.
However, when you mentioned him in western gear, with as
much of his attention to the details -- it really tickles me. He really did look
divine, but somehow flawed. The proverbial drugstore cowboy, but out of a really
great drugstore! I've seen beautiful pictures of him in a variety of western
wear and I get that Tracy Lord in Philadelphia Story reaction to George in his
new riding duds. I just want to knock him down & rub dirt on him to fix the
image. My apologies to all.
RT: Oh, I don't think you should apologize for your
opinion. It's a very valid and insightful point.
You found that vaudevillian Archie Leach mixed up his own
hair goo (that's the technical term for me), a combination of brilliantine and
Dixie Peach pomade to achieve the beautiful blue-black sheen and perfect
placement. In "Brother, Where Art Thou," George Clooney's character is
lost without his Dapper Dan hair pomade. Clooney's homage to Grant? Maybe not,
but I'll never look at it the same way again.
RT: I talked about that on E! News-the trend of stars
like Clooney and Pitt slicking their hair back in the manner of CG and other
stars of the golden era, so I think you're on the right track. I like to think
that when George Clooney gave copies of my book to Brad and Matt Damon with a
pair of cuff links, it had some influence : )
Seriously, I wanted to thank you for a few choice quotes
that you selected. I think they represent CG particularly well -
The H.D. Thoreau quote you used when discussing CG's
minimalist, but sumptuous style: A man is rich in proportion to the things he
can afford to let alone.
Art critic Stephen Bayley on style: Style is the feather
that makes the arrow fly, not the one you put in your hat.
The discussion with Betsy Drake, his advice to her when
headed to a preview of a movie: If you show that you're vulnerable, and you show
your feelings are hurt, they'll use it against you, and you'll be destroyed, and
you mustn't; so keep smiling.
Additionally, when I think of the word "gentleman"
or of "manners," I can't help but think of a scene from the movie
Blast from the Past. A friend is discussing manners with the leading
"lady." He comments that the out of date character Adam told him that
good manners are just a way of showing people that we have respect for them. And
when he tells her that Adam thinks that they are a lady and a gentleman, he says
Adam's "short & sweet definition of a lady or a gentleman is: someone
who always tries to make sure that the people around him or her are as
comfortable as possible."
This, to me, is indeed a wonderful definition, and I thought
that each of the Robert Wolders' stories that you included were the best
additions to show CG as a true gentleman outside of his appearance. I'm so glad
that you were able to include these glimpses of CG's character. They were the
most personal and meaningful I've seen.
RT: I am so very happy that you mentioned the Rob Wolders
stories and appreciated them for what they are. They're my favorites because
they show that he was so much more than a man who wore nice clothes. Reviewers and
critics missed that point for the most part. The book is not only about his
sartorial style; it's also about the kindness, intelligence, and sensitivity of
the man - qualities most biographers seemed to have ignored in favor of
From Dorothy Glennon
1 - I would like to ask Richard a question concerning the
monogrammed cufflinks Cary is wearing in the first full page photograph of the
book. I remember reading somewhere that Cary and Clark Gable would contact each
other after Christmas to discuss and possibly exchange monogrammed gifts they
had each received. When researching for his book, did he come across this story
and if so, evidence of whether it was true or just another 'Hollywood Tale'.
RT: Yes, it IS true from the research I found.
2 - According to Richard's book (page 168) Cary had six
identical suits for NBNW. This movie is one my favourites and I have watched it
over and over for years. That particular suit has never in my opinion looked out
of fashion over the decades to date. Can Richard give his opinion as to why this
is so and does he know the background of this suit, e.g. who designed it? who
made it? Did Cary have input on the design? type of cloth?
RT: I've written an article on exactly that subject that
will be published in September. I'll let you know when and where it will be
published. Good question.
3 - The following is an excerpt from a Timesonline article
dated November 19, 2006 by Director Michael Winner who is now a restaurant
My guest, Roderick Mann, arrived with his "last living
relative", Antoinette. Roddy was a fantastic show business writer from the
1950s to the 1980s, when he moved to California and wrote for the Los Angeles
Times. His articles were witty. Not as witty as mine, of course. He was
knowledgeable. He was engaged to Kim Novak.
His best friend was Cary Grant who left him all his clothes.
Since Cary kept every outfit he wore in every film, that collection is worth
well in excess of a million dollars at auction. Roddy seemed reluctant. "It
wouldn't be nice," he said. What can you do with someone like that?'
My question to Richard is purely hypothetical. If he was in
Roderick Mann's position of being left some of Cary's marvellous clothes - what
would he do with them?
RT: First, I'd look at the labels. All the tailors put
their own names usually under the inside jacket pocket. So did the studios. So
it would explain a lot of information that is currently being debated.
Then I'd give them to the costume institute of The MET in
NYC or some other museum, where they belong, where they'll be taken care of,
where they'll be presented with proper historical significance.
I did contact Mr. Mann but he declined an interview. I
would love to talk with him about these matters someday.
I was wondering if you could comment briefly on your opinion
of Dean Martin's style if you have any thoughts on the matter.
In my opinion, the apparent dichotomy of their projected
personas gives way to similarities when one looks at the men behind the images.
I would have loved to have known CG's opinion of Dino as an entertainer, as a
person, and as a gentleman. You wouldn't happen to have any insight or be
willing to hazard a guess, would you?
RT: There was no one cooler than Dean Martin imho. CG was
great pals with Frank Sinatra and liked Dean Martin very much. CG thought Dean
was very funny in his TV show and in those roasts.
Was Cary Grant a sports fan? Given Mr. Grant's obvious
devotion to style, I'd be interesting in knowing if that translated into any
kind of passion for sports and/or athletics.
RT: Yes, he was a huge baseball fan and had season
tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games. He also loved horse racing
and was on the board of the Hollywood Park Racetrack and spent lots of time at
Santa Anita and Del Mar - but never bet more than two dollars on a horse. He was
often asked why a rich man like himself bet so little. He knew what they were implying-that
he was cheap. CG responded with classic wit: Because they won't let me bet
1 - Is there anyone today who can POSSIBLY take CG's place
(personally, I don't think so).
RT: I don't think so either. George Clooney comes close
but he's going his own way, which is as it should be.
2 - And also, what was the most surprising thing the author
learned in his research about Mr. Grant?
RT: The incredible adversity he managed to overcome
without bitterness. For instance, the disappearance of his mother when he was 9
and her 'reappearance' twenty years later. It was a trauma that did not embitter
him. If anything, I think it made him more kind and compassionate to others who
By the way, if you have read any of Ms. Keogh's books, I
highly recommend them. Her book, Audrey
Style, was a great inspiration to me and I greatly admire her other books, Jackie
Style and Elvis
Presley: The Man, The Life, The Legend.
Would you know where Betsy Drake is now, I was curious if she
was still alive and in the US. I sold Cary & Betsy a home in the Palm
Springs area while they were married and was trying to track down information on
RT: Don't know. Sorry.
From Helen Fabian
Irvine Studios, Irvine CA
Hi, I understand that Cary was also a great businessman and
was involved in producing a number of movies. Do you know anything about that
part of his life. Who did he produce for and did he head-up a production
company? It's always interesting to see how actors move on to become producers
or directors, moving from in front of the camera to behind the camera.
RT: It's in the book.
I guess I would like to know if there was anything new he
found out about Cary ( while researching the book ) that really surprised
him......and of course, was he a fan of CG or classic movies when he was
younger? And please, thank him for a very classy book.
RT: No, I wasn't a fan of CG when I was younger. I
thought Clint Eastwood was the epitome of cool. What surprised me about CG was
the arc of his life - he came from very humble not aristocratic beginnings, and
completely transformed himself, overcoming serious adversity, which I admire, a
very relevant journey in this era of makeover mania and reinvention.
I would like to know who Cary's tailor was. His clothes were
always so immaculate, especially when he played opposite Grace Kelly. His shoes
seemed to be of the highest quality.
A most handsome man who had style.
RT: It's detailed in the book.
From Karen Bezman
1 - Do you think that Cary had this sense of style on his
own, or did the studios help him? In other words, if he just up and got dressed
just to hang around, do you think he would have looked so great?
RT: He did it all on his own. He was hired because he
looked great. The studios might've created their female stars, but the men did
not have big wardrobe departments then - it was all up to them. CG dressed like
the man he wanted to become - an elegant movie star.
2 - How long did it take you to write the book and what part
of the research for the book did you find to be the biggest challenge? Was there
anything that you did want to include that you either were not able to find or
not able to validate?
RT: Since there have been many negative biographies about
Cary Grant, it was difficult to convince people I wanted to interview that I
wasn't planning to write another salacious book with a lot of nasty rumors.
It was also a challenge to find rare and
never-before-published photos of CG. I didn't want to include the same old
photos we've all seen over and over again (unless of course they were
illuminating a fresh insight I was making about him).
If I couldn't validate it, I didn't put it in. Of course,
the point of view is my own, but it's backed up with facts that, as I said, I
3 - If Cary were to buy, say a pair of khaki's, off the
rack, what would his waist and inseam be? Also, if, at the same store, he bought
a long sleeve dress shirt what would the sleeve length be. I believe he had a
17.5 in. neck.
RT: I don't know. Obviously he would be different sizes
at different points in his life.
4 - Did anyone refuse to speak with you with regard to your
research? It does not matter who it was, but was there anyone?
RT: Yes, lots of people.
5 - Who decided on the cover design?
RT: I created a draft but the elegant design of the cover
and the inside of the book was created by Joel Avirom who did a beautiful job. I
was very lucky to have him assigned to the project.
From Carol Roccia
Hi - where and how did you glean all the information you
have on Cary Grant, since you are much younger than he. Also, was he always your
fashion idol? Great book, thanks.
RT: I'm trained as an historian, so I used the
methodology of the historian - reading primary and secondary sources, books,
biographies and old magazine articles about him and interviewing people who knew
Richard, what a refreshing perspective! Thank you for
publishing the most honest, comprehensive and respectful book written about Cary
Grant to date. It is a one-of-a-kind celebration of his lifetime achievement …
transforming Archie Leach into Cary Grant.
RT: Thank you Debbie. That's quite a compliment coming
from the High Priestess of Cary Grant : )
1) When did you first become interested in all things
sartorial? For instance, were you voted "Best Dressed" in high school?
RT: At a very young age because of my father. My father
was very much a well-dressed man and he taught me how to dress-how to pull my
shirt down through your zipper hole so that the shirt doesn't bunch up around
the waist, how to get the dimple in your tie, things like that. He was a huge
Cary Grant fan and loved clothes. But by the time I was in high school, I was a
jock and all that fine dressing business went out the window. Now, though, I
remember what he taught me with fondness and gratitude. Too bad he's no longer
around for me to thank him - or to see the book.
2) Giorgio Armani's menswear collection, inspired by Cary
Grant, was your inspiration for the book. What was the process from
"When Armani says something, you listen …" to your decision to write
RT: After Armani made that remark about CG's timeless
elegance the first thing I did was go back and watch all of his old movies -
you Turner Classic Movies. And that's when I developed a true appreciation of
the man. But I think what really got me interested in him was how he dealt with
his tragic childhood - how he overcame the adversity in his life. That's the true
lesson for me regarding Cary Grant. You can transform yourself regardless of the
obstacles in your path and style is one of the tools you can use to do that.
3) Before the book was published, did you realize you'd
hitched your wagon to such a bright star? Are you amazed at the doors that have
been opened, the people you've had the privilege to speak to, or the level of
celebrity you've achieved simply because your book is written about Cary Grant?
RT: Yes. Absolutely. I never dreamed that Giorgio Armani
would host the book launch party and transform his Madison Avenue store with 15
ft. enlargements of photos from the book that literally transformed the store
into Cary Grant land.
Also, it's wonderful to find people on this site who
share my interests and are so knowledgeable and intelligent on the subject of
4) You interviewed an impressive number of people and
collected some wonderful quotes. If you could have interviewed Cary Grant, what
list of questions would you have prepared for him? What question would top the
RT: I think I would ask him about the people who inspired
him. I don't think he liked talking about himself much but he did enjoy telling
stories. Then I would ask him about how he triumphed over the adversity in his
life so I could learn from that. Then I would ask him little nagging questions
about where he got his cuff links in the '30s and why he didn't wear a pocket
square in "North by Northwest" when the pocket handkerchief seemed to
be one of his wardrobe staples.
5) To paraphrase Jane Austen: It is a truth universally
acknowledged that gossip, if repeated often enough, must be accepted as truth.
Did you have any difficulty sifting through the mound of muck that's accumulated
since Cary's death? Did any of it make you angry?
RT: Oh, yes, absolutely. The stuff about him being a spy
and speculations about his sexuality seemed to have been written purely to sell
books and the information is wildly speculative and at times inaccurate and even
I also found that many incidents recounted by biographers
sorely lack the bigger picture. For instance, it is well known that Frank
Sinatra walked off the set of "The Pride and the Passion," leaving CG
talking to a clothes hanger in close ups. Since CG produced as well as acted in
that movie, they must've had quite a row. Biographers sort of leave it at that.
But CG years later was Sinatra's 'best man' at his wedding to Barbara, so even
though they might've had a spat, they were lifelong friends. But if you read
some biographies, you think they had this terrible row and never talked to each
other again, which is obviously just not true.
6) Thank you for introducing the term, "The New
Gentleman." Where did this idea come from?
RT: It came to me when I noticed that today's stars are
really trying to dress better. Since CG was the ultimate gentleman, I thought
these lads are The New Gentleman.
7) Riding on the coat-tails of question #6: We frequently
hear about "the next Cary Grant," the honoree of the enviable
comparison invariably shown dressed in CG's timeless style. Cary Grant fans know
that simply comparing a sharp-dressed, Hollywood A-list actor to Cary Grant
falls far short of capturing the man behind the suit. If you closed your eyes
and picked "the next Cary Grant" based solely on what's behind and
beneath the suit, who would that be?
RT: I see no one anywhere in sight : )
8) What were Grant's "less flattering attributes?"
RT: Well, they're pretty well detailed in the book-he was
rejected by Paramount when he took his first screen test because he had a thick
neck. Doug Hayward, a famous Savile Row tailor, said he had a large head that
had to be balanced with the cut of his suits-one reason they built up the
shoulders. He was also bow-legged but he walked with such grace and confidence
you never really noticed or even cared.
9) I have a new favorite word - adumbrated. You went into
great detail about the importance of military uniforms in the fashion industry.
Do you think breeches will ever come back in style? (Question asked with tongue
firmly planted in cheek!)
RT: I doubt it, but anything is possible in the fashion
industry. But I won't be wearing them : )
As one stands before a painting and studies its nuances,
I've always appreciated Cary Grant for his artistry. Quite simply, I find him a
masterpiece: from his physical beauty to his physical abilities; from his stark
beginnings to his dignified end. With Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style, you've
created a guide to understanding the brushstrokes Archie used to create Cary.
Thank you, Richard Torregrossa!
RT: And thank you for being so appreciative, intelligent,
and thoughtful. I've enjoyed it and hope I've answered your questions to your
By the way, I'd be curious to know what your favorite
chapter in the book is. Mine is the last chapter because I think it shows CG as
a fully rounded human being and not just a movie star.
Dunlap: Rather than a favorite chapter, Richard, I'm more inclined to have
was your introductory paragraph in Chapter Two. “Cary Grant was not
bisexual. Cary Grant was not a homosexual. Cary Grant was a man of
style.” Your three-sentence paragraph is a profound rebuttal of nearly
everything that has been written about Cary Grant in the past twenty years.
I applaud your bravery and audacity, your brevity and clarity. If you
heard a rousing cheer last fall coming from the direction of the
Coast, that was me.
suppose the reason that I find it difficult to pick just one chapter is because
your respect for Cary Grant is woven throughout the book. I truly cherish
your respect and integrity.
Seven was fun for me. The exploration of the relationships between three
of his leading ladies made me smile. A favorite paragraph states,
“Portraying the relationship between Grant and Hepburn with a naughty
suggestiveness proved far more erotic than straightforward up-against-the-wall
sexual roughhousing ever could.” That’s exactly why I can watch the
old classics over and over again. And always with a wistful sigh.
of the most moving parts of the book and something I’d never seen or read
about before was the meditation poem/prayer in Chapter Eight. I’ve never
delved deeply into Cary Grant’s personal life on my website, preferring to
allow him that bit of privacy, even in death. His own words, in his
autobiographical three-part article from the Ladies Home Journal, are sufficient
and allow Cary Grant to speak on his own behalf. This poem, however,
sparks my curiosity. Makes me wish I could sit down to tea with him one
sunny, quiet afternoon.
abundance of verifiable sources, dry humor, and refreshing lack of
gossip make for quite enjoyable reading. Here are two of his most recent articles
from the San Francisco
Richard Torregrossa, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, July 22, 2007
The audacity of hope -- and
a good suit
The New Gentleman
Richard Torregrossa, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Step aside, Mr. Metrosexual. Another sharp dresser is here,
and he takes his cues from a higher authority -- the Golden
Age of Hollywood.