Cary Grant, born Archibald Alexander Leach, frequently crossed paths with my ex-husband, artist Ron Mallory, and me during the early '70s. "He was patient and debonair." Ron said. "There was no difference between his screen persona or his persona in real life."
Grant had visited Ron's art gallery Esther Robles in Beverly Hills on La Cienega when Ron had a show of his mercury sculptures. Afterwards we all had lunch at a small restaurant on Melrose and met again at a dinner party given by Ann Baxter, a collector of Ron's, in her Westwood home.
But my clearest recollection of Cary Grant was from a cocktail party thrown by Faberge during my modeling years when Grant was on Faberge's board of directors and I was its Tigress girl.
By now he had retired from acting and was a businessman. People were milling around him and he seemed uncomfortable with all the attention. I wondered why he had gone to the party. Then I realized his purpose was business. My impression of him was of being stand-offish and quite different from his on screen presence. His discomfort and slight agitation were understandable as he disliked being asked prying questions and cherished his privacy,
Cary Grant was also a close friend of composer Cy Coleman ("Sweet Charity"), who was Ron's best man for our wedding. Coleman and Grant were working on creating music for a project and Ron, Cy, and Cary had lunch several times, once in Grant's Beverly Hills home. "I remember him as being very polite,'" Ron said, "not at all distant."
Ron and I had very different recollections of Cary Grant.
At the early age of 62 Grant retired from the cinema. According to director Peter Bogdanovich, "There has been nobody like him since." It took Grant time to develop his unflappable image. He honed his personality. He did not want to watch himself grow old on screen. Also he wanted to devote his time to raising his daughter with Dyan Cannon.
Now his daughter, Jennifer Grant, has written a book "Good Stuff" about her recollections of her famous father. "My father had a dry wit, comic timing and was a great dad. He made home movies of our days square dancing and taped our phone conversations," Jennifer Grant told "CBS Sunday Morning."
Cary Grant was making up for his miserable childhood in Bristol, England., When he was 9 years old, due to severe depression, his mother had been institutionalized. He had lost touch with her and did not discover that she was alive and still in an institution until he was 31.
As a teenager Grant began to work in a traveling troupe of performers most known for his agility on stilts and became a gymnast Later he did back flips and stunts in his own movies. He attributes his comic timing to his early days of performing on stilts where he had to master balance. His most famous comic film was "The Awful Truth" and most famous dramatic work was "Only Angels Have Wings."
While Grant starred in films with beauties Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Deborah Kerr and had been married five times, it had been rumored that he was bisexual. He lived 12 years with Randolph Scott, Daughter Jennifer admits to hearing rumors of her father's bisexuality, but never witnessed this or felt there was any truth to it.
When Grant decided to end his career, Hitchcock, for whom Grant was a favorite, wanted him star in "Torn Curtain." Grant refused, and Hitch went with Paul Newman.
In 1981, the Kennedy Center honored Cary Grant. In 1986 at age 82, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, However, no one has replaced his place in American cinema as being one of our brightest and most beloved movie stars. He was the second Greatest Male Star of All Times according to the American Film Institue.
Though he was nominated for two Oscars and five Golden Globes, he missed every time. Fittingly the 42nd Annual Academy Awards presented Grant with an Honorary Award for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues. And finally it was Richard Shickel, the film critic who wrote, "Cary Grant is the best star actor there ever was in movies."