An article that admires actor Cary Grant naturally must mention MAE WEST.
• • Peter Bogdanovich writes: If there had never been a Cary Grant, someone would have had to invent him, and, in fact, someone did, a fellow named Archie Leach from Bristol, England. Acrobat, tumbler, stilt-walker, tall, dark, and handsome, Archie came over to New York City with a well-known vaudeville kind of stunt show, decided to stay on and try his hand at acting and singing in the theater, got work on Broadway, changed his name, taking “Cary” from his first large role, and “Grant” from the phone book. Did a number of musicals, sang, danced, acted, played in a half-dozen shorts, got picked up by Paramount for a seven-year contract, did leads in over two dozen films before he found his picture persona. But along the way, in a couple of the good movies he did at Paramount, he learned a thing or two.
• • On one of his first, Blonde Venus (1932), the legendary Josef von Sternberg, discoverer-molder-Svengali of Marlene Dietrich, took one look at Grant on his first day of shooting and quietly said, deadpan, “Your hair is parted on the wrong side.” Grant himself told me this story — we were friends for 25 years — and I asked him how he had responded. “I parted it on the other side,” Cary said brightly, and somewhat conspiratorially, “and kept it that way for the rest of my career!”
• • Another big thing was gleaned from his successful experience on two pictures playing the love interest to Mae West. In both She Done Him Wrong (1932) and I’m No Angel (1933), Cary is the object of Mae’s affections and desires. She pursues him, rather than the other way around. Indeed, she makes one of the screen’s most famous (and most misquoted) invitations to Grant in their first scene together: “Why don’t cha come up sometime, an’ see me?” Cary’s a minister [sic], says he hasn’t the time. She responds, “Say, what’re you tryin’ to do, insult me?!” What Cary took home was that it’s better to be wanted than to want, and once he established himself as a star in 1937, it never was otherwise. . . .
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• • Article (with errors): "My Favorite Star"
• • By: Peter Bogdanovich
• • Published in The New York Observer — — www.observer.com
• • Published on: 25 November 2008
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• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1932 • •