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About the Author
Award-winning film and television actress, director, screenwriter, editor, and producer Dyan Cannon is the first woman in the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be nominated for Oscars both as an actress and as a filmmaker. She lives in Hollywood and is at courtside for every Los Angeles Lakers home game.
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Dear CaryMy Life with Cary Grant
By Dyan Cannon
IT BooksCopyright © 2011 Dyan Cannon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen in Rome
"Cary who?" I said. I was sure I'd heard wrong.
"Cary Grant the actor?"
"No, Cary Grant the rodeo clown. Yes, silly, it's Cary Grant
"What does he want?" I asked.
Addie Gould heaved a theatrical sigh that could've carried
from Los Angeles to Rome, even without the phone. This was
back in the days when your agent could be your trusted friend,
or vice versa, and for me, Addie was both. She had my best
interests in mind personally and professionally. At that moment,
Addie was firmly planted in the realm of wheels and deals while
I was hovering in a pink cloud over Rome like a dove in a Renaissance
painting. She must have felt like she was talking to a rather
simple-minded child. Cary Grant had asked to meet me. He was
Cary Grant, and if he wanted to meet you, you didn't ask questions-
especially if you were a young actress trying to work your
way up in Hollywood.
I wasn't really as flighty or as indifferent as my words might
suggest, though. It was just that at that moment, I wasn't going to
leave Rome for anything less than a guaranteed part, and a good
one. In Hollywood, "meet-and-greets" are a fact of life. There's
nothing wrong with them, and they're important for keeping
yourself on the radar, but they don't necessarily lead to anything
substantial. I was having the time of my life, and if somebody
wanted me to interrupt it, I wanted name, rank, and serial number.
"Dyan, it's Cary Grant. It's about a part in a movie."
"What's the movie?"
"It doesn't matter. When Mr. Grant requests a meeting, we
"Is he paying my way?" I asked, sticking to my guns.
Maybe another person would have rushed to the airport and
boarded the next flight to Los Angeles, or maybe not. It was autumn
of 1961. I was in my early twenties. I was in Rome right when
Fellini's La Dolce Vita had cast Rome as the most glamorous place on
earth. I was living a fairy tale, and Cary Grant was just another
knight of the realm who could take a number and wait his turn.
Addie persisted. I dug in my heels. "We are talking about Cary
Grant," she said.
"I know who Cary Grant is," I replied. We were talking about
Cary Grant the movie star, the matinee idol, the greatest leading
man of the day. Yes, that Cary Grant.
The word "icon" has been hopelessly devalued over the years,
but Cary Grant was exactly that and more. More than an actor,
really. Cary Grant was glamour. Cary Grant was charm. Cary
Grant was class, intelligence, refinement. Women hardly dared to
fantasize that such a combination of warmth, wit, and dash would
walk into their lives. Men who took a page from his playbook
came to believe in the power of being a gentleman. Cary Grant
made manners, civility, and style as thrilling as Humphrey Bogart
made a good pistol-whipping.
He'd starred in about a bazillion movies, including three of my
all-time favorites: An Affair to Remember, with Deborah Kerr (a
five-hankie weeper); Indiscreet, with Ingrid Bergman; and, at the
top of my list, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest.
But that still wasn't enough. "I'm sure Mr. Grant will still be
there when I get back," I said. "If I ever decide to go back." There
was a knock at my door. "Oops," I said. "Gotta go ..." I hung
up and opened the door and Charles Fawcettwe all called him
"Charlie"stepped through, kissing me on both cheeks.
"You ready?" he asked.
"I need a minute," I said. "I was just on the line with my agent.
She wants me to fly back to Los Angeles to meet Cary Grant."
"For a movie?" Charlie asked.
"That's what she says."
"If he's going to cast you in something, it's worth the trip. But
if it's just a get acquainted kind of thing, let him wait."
I loved Charlie Fawcett. I had met him two months earlier in
a remote Portuguese fishing village, on the set of a low budget
movie that I've done my best to forget. It was my second movie;
my first was The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, about jewel thieves
in Prohibition era New York, and that film, along with a string
of television credits, had led to the job in Portugal. Alas, we all
knew from the start that we weren't making a masterpiece, but
the bright side was that we all relaxed about it and had fun. We
all lived in the same bed and breakfast, started the morning with
good food and strong coffee, laughed our way through our morning
table read, then went off to make the best of another day of
second-rate film making.
I fell in love with Charlie by the end of that first week. He was
a good actor who treated acting as a bit of a lark. His services were
in demand, and he earned enough at it to subsidize the low key,
bohemian lifestyle he enjoyed as an American expatriate in Rome.
Beyond that, he didn't attach much importance to it.
Charlie was truly larger than life. In World War II, he joined
the British Royal Air Force as a Hurricane pilot. He fought with
the Polish army after the German invasion, and fought again for
six months with the French Foreign Legion in Alsace. Then to
Greece to take on the communists in the Greek Civil War. As if
that weren't enough, in the waning days of World War II, he freed
a half dozen Jewish women from concentration camps by marrying
and divorcing each one in rapid succession. That got them an
automatic American visa and allowed them to leave France. If I
had to choose one word to describe Charlie, it would be "noble."
I had a little crush on Charlie, the kind of crush that gives
you a feeling of boundless emotional safety along with a little jolt
of physical attraction. That makes the friendship really interesting,
whether or not you act on the attraction, though it is usually
better if you don't. It's the best type of crush, and Charlie couldn't
have agreed more.
"My favorite kind," he once told me. "Let's try to make it last."
Charlie was a man of experience, a man of the world, and I was
a spirited Jewish girl from Seattle, barely past college age, who'd
had sex only once in her life (though it was so inept, I'm not sure it
even qualified). Charlie was the rare man who placed more value
on the unspoiled fabric of our friendship than he did on a night of
tangled sheets and awkward "see you later"s. I think he sensed my
innocence and figured there'd be enough contenders to relieve me
of it without his joining in.
Excerpted from Dear Cary by Dyan Cannon Copyright © 2011 by Dyan Cannon. Excerpted by permission of IT Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 When in Rome 1
Chapter 2 Back to Earth 11
Chapter 3 Lunch, Not Marriage 23
Chapter 4 Have Girlfriend, Will Travel 34
Chapter 5 Riding High 42
Chapter 6 Table for Two 49
Chapter 7 Fork in the Road 59
Chapter 8 Nobody's Perfect 67
Chapter 9 Enamored 76
Chapter 10 Time Flies 84
Chapter 11 Discovered 91
Chapter 12 Getting to Know You 100
Chapter 13 Oneness 109
Chapter 14 Game Time 117
Chapter 15 Coming Up Short 126
Chapter 16 Long-Distance Love 136
Chapter 17 The Middle Finger 148
Chapter 18 The Dismantling Effect 158
Chapter 19 The Big Sting 167
Chapter 20 A Coke and a Kiss 174
Chapter 21 Happy New Year 181
Chapter 22 Emergencies 187
Chapter 23 Hormones and Hamburgers 199
Chapter 24 Honeymoon Getaway 210
Chapter 25 Pressure Cooker 216
Chapter 26 Culinary Capers 223
Chapter 27 Completion 235
Chapter 28 The Big Freeze 241
Chapter 29 Husbands and Wives 250
Chapter 30 Shrinking 258
Chapter 31 Tripping and Zipping 263
Chapter 32 Standoff 270
Chapter 33 Breaking Points 276
Chapter 34 Time Out 288
Chapter 35 Grant vs. Grant 296
Chapter 36 Zoo Time 304
Chapter 37 Breakthrough 316
Chapter 38 Liberation Day 324
Dear Cary 335
Author's Note 340
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Let me start off by saying that I love Cart Grant's movies and thought we was an amazing actor and I did not really know a lot about Dyan Cannon beside the fact that they were married and he had his only child with her so I figured it would be a good book to read. I figured that I would read this book and be mad about the things she said about him but I was very happy to find that nothing she said upset me. She seems like a very nice lady and seemed liked she loved him and their daughter very much. It had a lot of happy parts and sad parts but that is how life goes. You have your good memories and your bad memories. I definitely recommend that everyone read this book. You won't be disappointed.
Cary Grant made more classic movies than anybody can count, and now Dyan Cannon has written what will probably be regarded years hence as a classic memoir of her relationship with him. I was expecting the usual celebrity memoir, but this one really reads like a novel in all the best ways. It's really sharply in focus, parts of it are funny as hell, and although we know the outcome, I couldn't stop rooting for them to work it out. It's really very tender story and very entertaining and moving.
Reads less like a gossip biography and more like a fictional novel with amazing characters. It tells a vivid story rather than being pages of facts and dates and times. I enjoyed it.
Although I'm only in my twenties, I have been a huge fan of Cary Grant's films for years. I have to admit I hadn't heard of Dyan Cannon until I saw that this book had come out, but after reading it I found that I could relate to her in the way that she thought and her sense of humor. It did make me see Cary Grant a little differently, but really it just goes to show that no one is perfect; we are all flawed human beings. As a resulting of reading this book I have also just recently purchased her daughter Jennifer's book, Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant, and can't wait to read it.
I loved this book. I found so much more than I expected. Dyan's journey is fascinating. Although I was always enthralled with Cary Grant, I have to admit I no longer see him in quite the same way. I hope the best for this honest woman.
I bought this book as a Cary Grant fan and someone who has read other books involving him and his life. This book far surpassed my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed the story of this woman coming to terms with herself and life. I would recommend this for any Cary Grant fans as well as for those who just want to read an interesting story about how we grow into ourselves through life's experiences.
I have always loved Cary Grant. I totally enjoyed this book because it gave a grand view of what living with Cary Grant was like. Even after some of the things that bothered me about his personal life...I am still in love with Cary Grant. GREAT READ!
Amazing book! Really makes you think and really makes you appreciate the important things in life.
This is the first biography I've read in several years, but was not disappointing. Dyan Cannon did a great job writing this, it read like she was an accomplished author. In the beginning, Cary Grant was just as charming, polished and endearing as we have seen him portrayed on the screen. It was disturbing to see another side of him and the unraveling of his and Dyan's relationship. I would recommend it as an very interesting insight into the lifestyle of celebrities.
A very good book from start to finish. I feel like I was there to see it all, due to Miss Cannon's vivid descriptions. On the subject of her and Cary, the book couldn't get any better, thusly the five stars.
I think it is very convenient that dyan chose to write the book now when probably all of the people who could have refuted these allegations and her poison pen remarks are probably deceased as is Cary. I purchased tjis book believing it was either their love story or a biography on Mr. GRANT? Instead it was nothing but a cheap shot that continually slanders Cary and makes dyan out to be a virgin bride with no shame in bashing everyone but herself. The title is very misleading. He only married her because she got pregnant. Her timing is off throughout her own novel and her reference to the pillsbury doughboy who wasnt on tv until the seventies or eightied but she references him ad if he was in the sixties. Her timeline is all messed up. Should have been titled dear dyan as it was all about her anyway but that would not have sold books. I love how she says she is broke but grtting three grand for alimony and child support. Just one more actress living above her means. She chose to make everyone else look bad in order to make her look good. Very disappointed with this purchase and this author.
I am enjoying this book very much. Two very remarkable people who had a deep love for each other, but they had numerous things to deal with. Hate for it to end. Dyan Cannon has a wonderful way of telling her story about a man she loved very much.
So many biographies and auto biogrophies can be run of the mill and boring. This one told a story about an idol and his foibles. It also told a story about love and emotional abuse. So sad that a relationship filled with love can become so destuctive. This book was written with a lot of humor as it delved into dark places.
I loved this book & couldn't put it down. A real insight into the character & personality of this charismatic actor. I never thought much of anything about Dyan Cannon & it was good to read this from her perspective. It prompted me to watch a lot of her old movies & to try & figure out just what it was about her that appealed so much to him. He was a charming & very complicated person for sure.
Yes, I'm sorry I read this book. Have been a big fan of both Cary Grant (since my teens) and Dyan when she arrived on the scene. In reading it, I could actually hear both their voices. In some places it was erratic and I got confused on the time frame but sadly I could picture him being the way she described. . .and I got angry with her for being so weak but remembered the time in which this took place. I have no clue if all she describes happens but I do know I wish I hadn't read it. Some memories are just better left as just that....like poor Rock Hudson. :(
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and gave me a new perspective on tge life of Cary Grant. It is well worth purchasing.
I am not sure how I feel about this book. I enjoyed reading it but was disappointed to find out that Cary was not who I thought he was. It was a very clean book with no sexual or romantic writings. Wonder what he was like! Dyan was so young to choose such an old man! Although, as a fan of his, he was very charismatic!
All in all, I liked this book. I thought the first half was excellent, but the second half was merely good. Maybe it was my mood, maybe it is just the fact that Cary Grant is my favorite actor, so anything even remotely disparaging is somewhat unlikeable. That being said, it's a love story at heart, which is something I don't really get into. As memoirs go, it's pretty good. It only really deals with a small time frame in her life, that spent immediately before to immediately after her time with Cary Grant, though in the last few pages she makes a revelation in her life a few years after the divorce. And then a little afterword about recent events. There are some images spread throughout the book of letters/notes he wrote to her, and some photos at the end. The eBook was formatted fine with no obvious errors.
This was a very moving and heartfelt story. I really loved that Dyan was open, and I feel truthful about their relationship/love story especially how it effected her life after their marriage ended. The fairytale always has it down side even for Cary Grant who kept looking for the perfect wife. And to find out that he wasn't make it more believable. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us, Dyan.
a peek into the life of Cary Grant. written thoughtfully and a great love story. Unfortunately one that ends unhappily.
While so many women who write books about their ex-husbands come across as whiny, self-serving or snarky, Dyan Cannon presents just the facts without judgment. She didn't destroy his image but added truth and raw honesty to the man we knew on the screen.
Cary Grant certainly lived quite a life. If not only his movies, but more or less so, his wives and lovers. His December/May Relationship and marriage to Dyan Cannon mirrors my own life as does his having a child later in life, as I did, my first and only, though I was actually 5 years older than he was. I found her explainations of their life together, often painful, as I did not want to see this man shown to be as negative a personality as he truly must have been. I applaud her honesty and pain in bringing out these aspects of this incredible icon of the entertainment industry. The book was written better and organized better than I had anticipated being written in part by Ms. Cannon. She surprised me in a more positive way than anticipated. A good read and unfortunately very insightful to this man.
Touching and heartbreaking story of a real life. No movie magic required.
Interesting info on Cary Grant. Well worth reading for those of that era.
What a fascinating insight into a unique Hollywood couple. I knew only a tip of the iceburg about both actors before reading this. When I saw this for sale I picked it up quickly because I thought what a fascinating relationship they probably had together. I learned so much about who they were as people rather than personas, Cannon really does a fine job of relating and gives you a glimpse of Cary Grant as the human rather than some Hollywood image. Her humor is relatable and funny as well. I've since picked up their daughter's book about her father which I'm also looking forward to reading. Cannon lived the life we all think we want -- the princess fairytale with Hollywood's most desirable man. But what she found out is that nothing is a fairytale and we shouldn't hold anything or anyone up to that standard. Everyone has their issues and not even Hollywood actors are perfect. This is a lesson we should take to heart about anything we try or think we should idolize. When we do so, we're setting them, and especially our ideals, up to fail. After reading this book I like both her and Cary Grant even more. I would recommend it.