Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Why I Want To Remember Cary Grant On His Birthday

The other day as I was driving into Manhattan, I turned on my favorite XM radio station called Radio Classics.  I instantly recognized the actor speaking and thought to myself, “Perfect timing.”

Cary Grant

My copy of a 1971 LOOK Magazine featuring Cary Grant

Despite bumper-to-bumper traffic, crazy drivers and torrential rain, nothing bothered me.  That’s because I was listening to an episode of Suspense starring my all-time favorite actor, Cary Grant.

In honor of Cary’s January 18th birthday, (I feel funny calling him Mr. Grant because he seems so familiar to me, and also because readers might be confused by thinking I’m referring to Mary Richard’s boss) they were playing back-to-back episodes of his radio appearances.

I’d like to briefly explain why I’ve always been in love with Cary Grant.  I know there are millions of others who are in love with him, but I’m the one who has, in all honesty, loved him the most.

At first, it was his dashing good looks that caught my eye, and of course his wit and charm as well.  But as I got older, I recognized there was so much more to him.

He is, and always will be, the greatest comedic actor of all time.  Let me prove it to you. Watch his performances in His Girl Friday or Arsenic and Old Lace.  His comic timing is pure genius, and his pratfalls and back flips (perfected during his youth when he was an acrobat) are adeptly intertwined into the movie dialogue with rhythmic precision.

You can’t help but laugh.

Cary Grant Movies

My collection, so far, of Cary Grant movies.

There’s also his dramatic acting.  I can watch him, over and over, in any Alfred Hitchcock film and notice something new, some tiny nuance, that I hadn’t noticed before.

Watch his eyes carefully, and the way he reacts to the other actors.  Don’t take your eyes off of him for one second. You’ll not only learn about good acting, but also why he was so successful at his craft.

You’re never quite sure if he’s trying to kill Joan Fontaine.  You’re unsure if he’ll stop harassing Ingrid Bergman while she’s being secretly poisoned by Claude Rains.

No matter what the outcome may be, you’ll remain on his side because he’s always a likable character.

That’s why he’s the consummate performer.

I’ll never understand why he never won an Academy Award, or why he was only nominated twice (Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Hearts) despite his long and varied career.

In 1970, the Academy awarded him with an Honorary Oscar for, “his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues.

After Frank Sinatra presented him with his award, he wiped the tears from his eyes as the audience continued with their standing ovation.

He was a private man who would never grow old in his movies, quitting Hollywood at the age of 62 to focus on fatherhood for his newborn daughter, Jennifer.

In the age of YouTube I sometimes catch glimpses of Cary at various tributes, like The American Film Institute or The Kennedy Center Honors.  He’s always smiling, always laughing, and still handsome with his silvery hair and black glasses.

He seems kind, sweet and gracious.

There’s one last reason why I’ve fallen more in love with Cary Grant with each passing year.  His performances take me away, to a place where I can forget the demands and stresses of my world and place me smack in the middle of his.

When my husband or I have a bad day, we have a ritual that’s evolved over the years.  We watch His Girl Friday and laugh out loud while marveling at Cary’s brilliant rapid-fire repartee with Rosalind Russell.

So a very Happy Birthday to Cary Grant.  I hope that, wherever you are, you know how much you’ve meant to millions of movie lovers over the years.

But remember that I loved you the most.

Who is your favorite actor?

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15 thoughts on “Why I Want To Remember Cary Grant On His Birthday

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Lois!

      I really don’t think there will ever be an equivalent. While Tom Hanks has a huge range that he brilliantly plays (“Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”, for starters), I don’t think anyone can do the kind of sophisticated comedy that Cary Grant did. Times have changed and so have movies. Sometimes there just is no replacement.

      It’s fun to think about it though, don’t you think?

      Thanks for leaving your comments again, Lois.

      Have a great day~

  1. Helene Bludman

    Cathy, you are so knowledgeable about the movie industry, and I always enjoy reading about the movies and celebrities you admire. I love this tribute to Cary Grant. I agree with you, I don’t think there’s any actor who can fill his shoes. Loved this post.

    1. Post author

      Thank you, Helene. You know how much I love old movies and the stars of yesteryear. Much more than today. They were simple, and the actors were true personalities without being megastars, never taking themselves too seriously (mostly!)

      I am so glad you enjoyed my post, because your approval means a lot to me! I am glad you are in agreement with me about Cary. 🙂

      Have a great day~

    1. Post author

      I am so glad you enjoyed my post, Sheryl. This one was a true labor of love!

      Thanks for sharing your (always) lovely thoughts.

      Have a wonderful day~

  2. Nancy

    Agree wholeheartedly — Cary was the greatest! His range was unequaled, from comedy (His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby) to adventure (Gunga Din) drama (None but the Lonely Heart) to romance (An Affair to Remember and Indiscreet, my favorite) to suspense (Notorious and North by Northwest) to offbeat (the delightful Father Goose). And these titles are just a few of the wonderful films that he graced so brilliantly. No actor yesterday or today can hold a candle to his talent.

    1. Post author

      I’m so glad you like my post enough to leave two comments, Nancy. I would have done the same thing!

      Yes, no actor can ever hold a candle to Cary Grant.

      Thanks again for leaving your thoughtful comments~

  3. Nancy Dennis

    Agree wholeheartedly that Cary was the greatest film actor we’ve known. His range was phenomenal — from comedy (The Awful Truth & His Girl Friday) to romance (An Affair to Remember and Indiscreet) to adventure (Gunga Din) to drama (None but the Lonely Heart) to the offbeat (Father Goose). No other actor can hold a candle to him. We can be thankful that his unique talents brought him to this country and to Hollywood and to audiences everywhere.

    1. Post author

      We are in absolute agreement about Cary Grant, Nancy. And I am so glad that we are!

      Thank you for leaving such a marvelous comment. I truly enjoyed reading it.

      Best to you~

  4. KymberlyFunFit

    Secretly Cary Grant had a huge crush on you, Cathy. He was too private and polite to admit it, but we all know it anyway. Watch his movies backwards and you’ll hear him admit his affection. For reeeeelz (as in movie reels).

    1. Post author

      Won’t I hear “Paul is dead” instead? Oh, wait. That’s Abbey Road.

      You are so funny I laughed out loud! I wish it was the truth!!!

      Thanks for giving me a good chuckle~

  5. Pingback: Happy Birthday Cary Grant | waldina

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