Cary Grant is Hollywood’s ideal charming Englishman.
He was a Bristol-born actor who made his name in Hollywood as the quintessential suave leading man. He had affairs with men yet married five times to women, was notoriously tight, took LSD, started his own make-up brand, and was known for yelling “Judy! Judy! Judy!”
That is Archie Leach’s public image, but how much of it is true? How much of it is made up in Hollywood? Film historian Mark Glancy takes a fresh look at Cary Grant in his new biography, focusing on the man rather than the myth.
Let’s start with Cary Grant’s sex life because that sells.
He married five times, notably to Barbara Hutton, the Woolworths heiress, but he also had a slew of gay romances, including one with fellow Hollywood actor Randolph Scott.
That’s what works like Cary Grant The Lonely Heart by Charles Higham and Roy Moseley, published in 1989, have lead us to believe.
But how accurate was that?
Orry-Kelly, one of his alleged boyfriends, states in his memoirs, which was unearthed 50 years after his death, that Grant had a thing for blonde ladies.
Between 1932 until 1944, Grant and Scott lived together for 12 years, which seems strange given that they could both easily afford a property at the time.
They even posed for photographs while doing household duties in fall 1933.
Many people assumed the two men were dating and that Cary married Virginia Cherrill to hide his homosexuality and provide her with a wealthy and accomplished spouse.
As Glancy points out, the problem with this latter situation was that there was no certainty that Grant’s career would be successful at the time.
There were lots of other wealthy guys Cherrill might have picked if she was a gold digger or looking for stability.
Another reason Grant may have readily posed for the photographs (another set surfaced in 1937 with them wearing only shorts) was his worry that the lies he had fabricated about his English ancestry would be discovered unless he cooperated with the studio publicists and the press.
Grant sued comedian Chevy Chase for $10 million in 1980 after he claimed he was a “homo.” On television, there’s a show called “What a Gal.” The case was resolved without going to court.
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