Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grantby Dyan Cannon
Withhonesty and heart-rending emotion, actress and filmmaker DyanCannon tells the story of her topsy-turvy relationship with Hollywood legendCary Grant. Cannon’s captivating narrative takes the reader behind the scenesof Hollywood’s Golden Age, inside America’s high court of glamour and notorietyin which Cary Grant was king. In his private life… See more details below
Withhonesty and heart-rending emotion, actress and filmmaker DyanCannon tells the story of her topsy-turvy relationship with Hollywood legendCary Grant. Cannon’s captivating narrative takes the reader behind the scenesof Hollywood’s Golden Age, inside America’s high court of glamour and notorietyin which Cary Grant was king. In his private life alongside Cannon, however, astory that began with all the romance of his famous films—Charade, ToCatch a Thief, An Affair to Remember or The Philadelphia Story—wouldend up taking a series of tragic and unpredictable twists and turns. Insharing Grant’s inside story for the first time, Dear Cary is exactlywhat Hollywood is always looking for . . . the next blockbuster, and a storyfor romance lovers of all ages.
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Dear CaryMy Life with Cary Grant
By Dyan Cannon
IT BooksCopyright © 2011 Dyan Cannon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen in Rome
"Cary who?" I said. I was sure I'd heard wrong.
"Cary Grant the actor?"
"No, Cary Grant the rodeo clown. Yes, silly, it's Cary Grant
"What does he want?" I asked.
Addie Gould heaved a theatrical sigh that could've carried
from Los Angeles to Rome, even without the phone. This was
back in the days when your agent could be your trusted friend,
or vice versa, and for me, Addie was both. She had my best
interests in mind personally and professionally. At that moment,
Addie was firmly planted in the realm of wheels and deals while
I was hovering in a pink cloud over Rome like a dove in a Renaissance
painting. She must have felt like she was talking to a rather
simple-minded child. Cary Grant had asked to meet me. He was
Cary Grant, and if he wanted to meet you, you didn't ask questions-
especially if you were a young actress trying to work your
way up in Hollywood.
I wasn't really as flighty or as indifferent as my words might
suggest, though. It was just that at that moment, I wasn't going to
leave Rome for anything less than a guaranteed part, and a good
one. In Hollywood, "meet-and-greets" are a fact of life. There's
nothing wrong with them, and they're important for keeping
yourself on the radar, but they don't necessarily lead to anything
substantial. I was having the time of my life, and if somebody
wanted me to interrupt it, I wanted name, rank, and serial number.
"Dyan, it's Cary Grant. It's about a part in a movie."
"What's the movie?"
"It doesn't matter. When Mr. Grant requests a meeting, we
"Is he paying my way?" I asked, sticking to my guns.
Maybe another person would have rushed to the airport and
boarded the next flight to Los Angeles, or maybe not. It was autumn
of 1961. I was in my early twenties. I was in Rome right when
Fellini's La Dolce Vita had cast Rome as the most glamorous place on
earth. I was living a fairy tale, and Cary Grant was just another
knight of the realm who could take a number and wait his turn.
Addie persisted. I dug in my heels. "We are talking about Cary
Grant," she said.
"I know who Cary Grant is," I replied. We were talking about
Cary Grant the movie star, the matinee idol, the greatest leading
man of the day. Yes, that Cary Grant.
The word "icon" has been hopelessly devalued over the years,
but Cary Grant was exactly that and more. More than an actor,
really. Cary Grant was glamour. Cary Grant was charm. Cary
Grant was class, intelligence, refinement. Women hardly dared to
fantasize that such a combination of warmth, wit, and dash would
walk into their lives. Men who took a page from his playbook
came to believe in the power of being a gentleman. Cary Grant
made manners, civility, and style as thrilling as Humphrey Bogart
made a good pistol-whipping.
He'd starred in about a bazillion movies, including three of my
all-time favorites: An Affair to Remember, with Deborah Kerr (a
five-hankie weeper); Indiscreet, with Ingrid Bergman; and, at the
top of my list, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest.
But that still wasn't enough. "I'm sure Mr. Grant will still be
there when I get back," I said. "If I ever decide to go back." There
was a knock at my door. "Oops," I said. "Gotta go ..." I hung
up and opened the door and Charles Fawcettwe all called him
"Charlie"stepped through, kissing me on both cheeks.
"You ready?" he asked.
"I need a minute," I said. "I was just on the line with my agent.
She wants me to fly back to Los Angeles to meet Cary Grant."
"For a movie?" Charlie asked.
"That's what she says."
"If he's going to cast you in something, it's worth the trip. But
if it's just a get acquainted kind of thing, let him wait."
I loved Charlie Fawcett. I had met him two months earlier in
a remote Portuguese fishing village, on the set of a low budget
movie that I've done my best to forget. It was my second movie;
my first was The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, about jewel thieves
in Prohibition era New York, and that film, along with a string
of television credits, had led to the job in Portugal. Alas, we all
knew from the start that we weren't making a masterpiece, but
the bright side was that we all relaxed about it and had fun. We
all lived in the same bed and breakfast, started the morning with
good food and strong coffee, laughed our way through our morning
table read, then went off to make the best of another day of
second-rate film making.
I fell in love with Charlie by the end of that first week. He was
a good actor who treated acting as a bit of a lark. His services were
in demand, and he earned enough at it to subsidize the low key,
bohemian lifestyle he enjoyed as an American expatriate in Rome.
Beyond that, he didn't attach much importance to it.
Charlie was truly larger than life. In World War II, he joined
the British Royal Air Force as a Hurricane pilot. He fought with
the Polish army after the German invasion, and fought again for
six months with the French Foreign Legion in Alsace. Then to
Greece to take on the communists in the Greek Civil War. As if
that weren't enough, in the waning days of World War II, he freed
a half dozen Jewish women from concentration camps by marrying
and divorcing each one in rapid succession. That got them an
automatic American visa and allowed them to leave France. If I
had to choose one word to describe Charlie, it would be "noble."
I had a little crush on Charlie, the kind of crush that gives
you a feeling of boundless emotional safety along with a little jolt
of physical attraction. That makes the friendship really interesting,
whether or not you act on the attraction, though it is usually
better if you don't. It's the best type of crush, and Charlie couldn't
have agreed more.
"My favorite kind," he once told me. "Let's try to make it last."
Charlie was a man of experience, a man of the world, and I was
a spirited Jewish girl from Seattle, barely past college age, who'd
had sex only once in her life (though it was so inept, I'm not sure it
even qualified). Charlie was the rare man who placed more value
on the unspoiled fabric of our friendship than he did on a night of
tangled sheets and awkward "see you later"s. I think he sensed my
innocence and figured there'd be enough contenders to relieve me
of it without his joining in.
Excerpted from Dear Cary by Dyan Cannon Copyright © 2011 by Dyan Cannon. Excerpted by permission of IT Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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