No really, he’s English

I’ve spent more hours than normal immersed in 1940s movies this week. Favorite of mine amongst the male actors of that era is Cary Grant; you could liken me to the younger sister of Myrna Loy’s character in the Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer in my devotion.

He was, of course, born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England and came to the US at about age 16 to become one of the Hollywood greats. It’s worth a few minutes reading the Cary Grant quotes on IMDB’s bio page; they reflect beautifully the self-deprecating style of English humor. I’ll put a few samples here but the whole list is quite good.

  • “I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant, unsure of each, suspecting each.”
  • “My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.”
  • On Katherine Hepburn: “She was this slip of a women and I never liked skinny women. But she had this thing, this air you might call it, the most totally magnetic women I’d ever seen, and probably ever seen since. You had to look at her, you had to listen to her, there was no escaping her.”
  • “To succeed with the opposite sex, tell her you are impotent; she can’t wait to disprove it.”
  • “Everyone tells me I’ve had such an interesting life, but sometimes I think it’s been nothing but stomach disturbances and self-concern.”
  • “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”

Update: Interesting commentary today in the Sydney Morning Herald on why George Clooney can never be Cary Grant.


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