Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Cary Grant’s Intimate Bromance
The Hairpin

I used to get peeved at stories of Cary Grant that spent an extensive amount of time wondering if he was gay. He stated that he was not, and there is nothing provable to suggest otherwise, so why press the point? After a while, I realized the reason was because gay men were attracted to him, and so every handsome man must go through the evaluation of whether he would reject them. Straight men just like to observe him and the way he was able to make what I’m sure were very specific acting moves that had been planned in detail come off as completely natural. He knew what looked good on the screen and was demanding enough to get it captured.

What’s more interesting to me is his marriage selections. Women are wonderful in their infinite variety, but these women were all over the map. His first wife was probably a studio fix up; seems they really didn’t know each other well and it was kaput in about a year. Then, after 7 years of freedom in Hollywood at the peak of your career (but not wealth) all the way over to neurotic Barbara Hutton. Are you kidding me? You are the hottest thing in Hollywood, you could have anybody as your wife, and you pick her? Hutton was seven years younger than Cary, yet in almost all their pictures she looks considerably older than him. She reportedly was taking tranquilizers and was anorexic, after marrying a prince and then a count, who mistreated her to the extent of putting her in the hospital. I don’t get it, other than perhaps Cary felt sorry for her, and soon neither did he, and divorced her in 3 years after putting up with some strange behavior. One admirable thing: Cary didn’t take a dime of Hutton’s considerable fortune from the EF Hutton AND Woolworth dynasties.

Then, perhaps most curious of all, Betsy Drake. He saw her in a London play Deep are the Roots, and pursued her. She was pretty, but somehow neither as beautiful or as charming as I would have expected from Grant. Yet, they were together nearly a decade, until Sophia Loren snapped Cary’s head back. She did however, defend Cary the most against gay rumors, saying in effect that they were absurd.

Dyan Cannon was much too vivacious for an older Cary Grant, and didn’t know how to play off him well. Perhaps the sex was good for awhile, but it made sense that their marriage didn’t last long. Cannon can be charming, but also can get on one’s nerves.

Finally, 13 years after his last divorce, he meets a fellow Brit, Barbara Harris, and they find much happiness and contentment for 5 years.