CARY GRANT by Charles Higham


The Lonely Heart
Email this review


A restrained but convincing, often warm, and generously researched life that presents Grant as a closet bisexual and torturedly divided being, a crazy, a stinker, and a wonderful guy. Indeed, Higham-Moseley's research is pretty much the best yet among the nine major Grant books that have been published, with young Archie Leach a glowering, living presence on the page. At 15, he fled his home in Bristol, joined a group of circus acrobats, sailed for the States, trouped all over the US, became a Times Square and Coney Island stilt-walker, landed on the Broadway stage, and at 26 entered the movies as Cary Grant. The authors suggest that Grant was first seduced at 15 by his lifelong friend, dress-designer Jack Orry-Kelly, when they roomed together on the ship to the States. Later they roomed together in Greenwich Village, and the authors build up a gay theatrical background for Grant during these years. Grant's ten-year off-and-on shared mÇnage with Randolph Scott is well known and many of their gay doings are detailed, kissing in parking lots, holding hands in restaurants, and so on. It was accepted knowledge--and many are quoted--that Grant was gay during this period, and neither man was jealous of the other's bisexual dating. Scott married twice, Grant five times. Grant's famous suit against Chevy Chase for calling him a homosexual on TV was dropped (after an apology) because Grant couldn't stand an airing of his affairs. And there's much more in this vein, including liaisons with Howard Hughes. Also, Grant is cited, again convincingly, as working for Britain's Secret Service (many stars were) before and during WW II as an agent uncovering Nazi activities in the entertainment industry, Mexico, and South America. Interest slackens in the later pages, especially during the four years covered so intimately by Grant's mistress Maureen Donaldson in her new An Affair to Remember (p. 177), which also limns Cary's crazed behavior but is a more moving portrait.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
ISBN: 15-115787-1
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online: