Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Memoriam: Cary Grant

Cary Grant was the quintessential movie star: suave, poised, utterly commanding of every scene and shot he was in; for more than thirty years and over the course of dozens of movies - many of which are still fondly remembered and those that aren't just waiting to be rediscovered - he was the pinnacle of male glamour on the American screen.

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1904, he was originally a circus performer, walking on stilts for the impresario Bob Pender; he jumped troupe in 1922 when they returned to England, and by 1931 was a sought-after romantic lead (or 'juvenile') on the New York stage.

Having honed his unique persona and voice on the stage, he did what most well-honed stage performers did in those days, and went to Hollywood. Although not his first movie, the one that first brought him attention was 1932's Blonde Venus, with Marlene Dietrich. His career was given a further boost when he was cast opposite Mae West in She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel (both 1933) which at the time were credited as having saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy.

With that he was off, and nothing - not even the occasional clunky script or chemistry-free costar - could stop him. Thereafter his resume reads like a master-class in Hollywood cinema: Bringing Up Baby with Katharine Hepburn, His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell, and The Awful Truth with Irene Dunne are just three of his great roles and onscreen romances.

Offscreen, of course, the romances didn't always wrap up nicely in the third act; he was married to Virginia Cherrill, Barbara Hutton, Betsy Drake, Dyan Cannon, and in turn divorced from all of them. His fifth and final wife Barbara Harris was with him when he died, in November 1986.
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1 comment:

TheQuestionMan said...

Another one of my favourites.