Payday Loans
Cary Grant (1904-1986)


  1. Gary Cooper, Devil and Deep, 1931.     Hearing of Paramount’s “new Cooper,” soon had Cooper   forgetting about quitting movies. He ran   home from his Euro- vacation and   took on   this role that had been set for Grant... while Cary pimped for (ex-Cooper lover) Marlene Dietrich’s Blonde Venus. Gary ignored   Cary in   a long feud, Coop   hating Cary’s mannerisms   - “always got on my nerves.”
  2. Randolph Scott, Hot Saturday, 1931.     Both Gary Cooper and Fredric March refused Romer, feeling Bill was more likable.   But that   role was set   for Grant until being promoted   to Romer. Then,   Bill went to the six-year-older Randy... Cary’s future   and   longtime lover, “the Damon and Pythias of Tinseltown.”
  3. John Barrymore, A Bill of Divorcement, 1931.    Oh those early days… Grant, the ultimate film star, was was actually rejected by director Georghe Cukor in favorur of a Barrymore acting as if in the silent 1921 movie - a five-star hammy performance that still managed to be extremely touching. This was Katharine Hepburn’s movie debut (the credits spelt her name wrong). Who could she play opposite? Well, not Grant, said director George Cukor. “I could never get weak-kneed at the idea of Cary Grant.” Kate did. They made three beauties: Sylvia Scarlett, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story.
  4. Roscoe Karns, If I Had a Million, 1932. Paramount’s  script files at the AMPAS Library  revealed that Grant was first cast as Private O’Brien in The Three Marines story. Apparently, he was then switched to The Pheeneys with Richard Arlen and Miriam Hopkins - either cut  or never shot (like two other tales) among the finished collection of eight stories, 16 writers… and 15 stars from Gary Cooper to WC Fields.

  5. Franchot Tone, Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935.   
    MGM’s house genius, Irving Thalberg, wanted Cary as Midshipman Roger Byam, a possible star-making role (Tone won an Oscar nod).   Paramount’s Adolph Zukor refused a loan-out deal, feeling Grant was too close to completing his contract to be made a   big star... who might get away.  Grant never forgave Zukor  and once Grant’s five-year contract was up, he refused to sign a new one with Paramount   or any  other studio in 1937,  becoming Hollywood’s first  autonomous actor for hire...   for the next 30 years.  He also quit   the Academy - it, in   turn, never forgave him (two nominations only from 72 films!) until Gregory Peck’s idea of a (rare) honorary Oscar for, said presenter Frank Sinatra, “the sheer brilliance of his acting that makes it all look easy,” on April 7, 1970.

  6. Randolph Scott, Village Tale, 1934.      Not often Scott won a role away from from his, er, friend.   As a result, Grant’s chosen co-star, Evelyn Venable, became Helen Broderick in the RKO soap. Eugene O’Neill loved it but not a Welsh IMDB critic, F Gwynplaine MacIntyre: “boring, sententious.”
  7. Franchot Tone, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, 1935.     Cary inherited a lot of Gary Cooper’s roles when signed by Paramount as a second-string Coop (they only appeared in one together, The Devil and The Deep, 1932). “The young lad from England,” as Ed Sullivan called him,” was on his way to topping the box-office for an amazing 34 years as, in   US critic Pauline Kael’s perfect phrase: The man from dream city.
  8. Errol Flynn, Captain   Blood, 1935.     Robert Donat had begun  the film but  his asthma forced him to quit. Warner’s first thought was loaning Cary from   Paramount. Although it hardly sounded part of his vocabulary, the always histrionic   director Michael Curtiz   protested that   Grant   was “too effete.” Errol was in like Flynn and became an overnight star.
  9. John Howard, Border Flight, 1936.     Back from his one and only UK film (The The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss, 1936), Grant refused his studio’s programmer. He wanted a raise and script approval He got more money and was let off the movie. John Howard (Hollywood’s Bulldog Drummond) was Katharine Hepburn’s fiance in her third   film with Grant, The Philadelphia Story, 1940.
  10. Maurice Chevalier, The Beloved Vagabond, 1936.    Once Grant rejected the re-make, the French star grabbed it in another fruitless attempt to recapture the magic of his work with director Ernst Lubitsch. Brit newcomer Margaret Lockwood replaced Bette Davis, busy being sued by Jack Warner.

  11. George Raft, Spawn of the North, 1937.   Raft and Henry Fonda were safer box-office bet than the “marriage” of Grant and pal Randolph Scott.
  12. Fredric March, Trade Winds, 1937.   Grant was director Tay Garnett’s first choice for the skirt-chasing detective Sam Wye - having a shipboard romance with murder suspect Joan Bennett. New York Times critic Frank S Nugent hesitated to call it a romantic comedy, “beginning as it does with a suicide, adding a murder and ending with a third body on the floor.” And a fourth in 1951… when one year after marrying Bennetter, the fim’s producer, Walter Wanger shot her agent, Jennings Lang, in the groin when having more than his 10% with Bennett and was jailed for attempted murder. Time well spent. When he came out, after four months, he made… Riot In Cell Block 11).
  13. Ray Milland, Men With Wings, 1937.     Grant and pal Randolph Scott were first pegged as the fly boy heroes in an aviation thrillder (from Kitty Hawk to WW1) from one of the titular kind - the 1928 Wings director and WW1 daredevil, Wild Bill Wellman.
  14. Ray Milland, Wise Girl,  1937.   Well, all of the titles - were slanted towards Miriam  Hopkins as the wealthy leading lady:  Female of the Species, The Indestructible Susan and Women Have a Way.
  15. Edward G Robinson, The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse, 1938.     Edward G's gangster image was all wrong for a shrink joining a gang - simply   to study the criminal psyche.   Suggested replacements went from Cary to... Bette Davis.
  16. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Gunga Din, 1938.     In pipeline for three years. director   Howard Hawks tried make it with   Clark Gable-Spencer Tracy or   Tracy-Ronald Colman or Robert Donat-Ray Milland or Franchot Tone or...   As  George Stevens took over and started his long shoot (June 27-October l9, 1938), Grant had swopped roles at last minute with Fairbanks, to become Sergeant Cutter. The ex-Archibald Leach renamed him Archibald Cutter.  
  17. Melvyn Douglas, Ninotchka, 1938.    “Garbo Laughs!” Grant was MGM’s first choice for  Leon.  In fact, shooting began without Garbo having found a leading man.  Two years later, Douglas was also second choice for her trite finale, Two-Faced Woman, 1940. (Her laughter was dubbed by another actress revealed the Hollywood Reporter in 1980).
  18. David Niven, Raffles, 1939.      Producer Sam Goldwyn had ten writers modernising the Edwardian gentleman thief for Cary. He liked it enough to lower his normal fee.   Then, faced with mutiny by contractee David Niven, Goldwyn used the project as bait to keep Niven down on the farm...   to the extent of   making Niven nervous by constantly seeing new pactee Dana Andrews wandering around the lot in an obvious Raffles costume!
  19. Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday, 1939.       Howard Hawks originally planned Grant as the reporter Hlldy Johnson - and Mr Staccato of the Airwavs, newspaper and radio gossip columnist Walter Winchell, as the editor Walter Burns.Then, scripter Charles Lederer suggested Hildy and Walterbe ex-spouses.
  20. Ray Milland, The Doctor Takes A Wife, 1940.      Written for Cary-Irene Dunne, played by Milland-Loretta Young. “There are actors in this town,” commented Louis Jourdan, “who made important careers for a long, long period just by taking the parts that Cary Grant turned down.”
  21. Gary Cooper, North West Mounted Police, 1940.      Cecil B DeMille’s first Technicolor film was without a hero during six months of pre-production.   First choices, Joel McCrea, Fredric March, were lost to other movies. Cary never liked the script. And so, picking up Grant's leavings for once, Coop was the Texas Ranger working with   the Mounties.

  22. Joel McCrea, Foreign Correspondent, 1940.      
    Cary was the sole Hollywood US actor Hitchcock wanted to meet when producer David Selznick imported him from London. At a private party at New York’s 21 club, star and artist hit it off in seconds. They were like brothers, each idolising the other: the ugly   one   for the other’s beauty, the narcissistic star for the fat man’s creativity.  Grant and Hitch -  inside each man was the other.   Hitch craved him for his US second film but Cary was into Only Angels Have Wings. Rejected by Gary Cooper and Clark Gable, Hitch made do with McCrea while famously moaning: “I always end up with the next best.” And it happened again with Cary. Three more times.

  23. Robert Montgomery, Here Comes Mr Jordan, 1940.  The legendary Broadway producer Jed Harris wanted to film Harry Segall’s play with Cary. Then, the horrible Columbia czar Harry Cohn took over.  Cheaply. He preferred lavishing big bucks on his Rita Hayworth vehicles. Even so, it became a good hit with Montgomery, borrowed from MGM.   Cohn, being Cohn, he made use of various Jordan ideas in Rita’s Down to Earth, 1946, which was almost the planned sequel, Hell Bent for Mr Jordan - cancelled when Cohn could not reassemble the original cast, apart from Edward Everett Horton and Jams Gleason.   As producer, star, and co-director, Warren Beatty offered Grant any fee to join the 1977 re-make, using one of the alternate 1940 titles, Heaven Can Wait.
  24. Tyrone Power, Blood and Sand, 1940.      Eight years earlier, Paramount planned a re-make of  Rudolph Valentino’s 1921 silent classic, with Grant as the poor matador caught in the web of  what would have been a camp vamp from Tallulah Bankhead.  Quelle corrida!
  25. Melvyn Douglas, Our Wife, 1940.      How a screen couple evolves… Grant and Jan Arthur in 1938 became Grant and Loretta Young in ’39 Grant and Rita Hayworth in ’40… finally, Douglas and Ruth Hussey. Not the same chich-to-chic at all.
  26. Fredric March, Bedtime Story, 1941.     It was March who had immediately warned his pal Gary Cooper - on a year long vacation  -  of this   new guy, being   groomed take over Cooper’s top-spot at Paramount... after Cary, in his third film only, had easily stolen Merrily We Go To Hell, from March in 1932, They shared The Eagle and The Hawk, 1933.
  27. Ray Milland, The Major and the Minor, 1941.     When you write your Hollywood directing debut for him and you can’t land him, how do you replace Cary Grant? While driving home from Paramount, Billy Wilder stopped at the traffic lights - right next to Ray Milland in his car. “I’m doing a picture. Would you like to be in it?” “Sure.” Wilder sent him the script, which Milland liked. Next time Wilder called Milland it was for a Lost Weekend - and a Best Actor Oscar on March 7, 1946.
  28. Monty Woolley, The Man Who Came To Dinner, 1941.  When the comedy tickled director Howard Hawks’ fancy, he wanted Grant as the titular Sheridan Whiteside… Grant immediately offered his salary to the British relief fund. But  the  public, the stage and screen all insisted Woolley and only Woolley could and should play his famous stage role. Which is how Cary was free to be Mortimer Brewster in Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace. A much funnier. (Like who  would have been upset if Cary Gtant suddenly came to dinner?) Orson Welles wanted to direct - and play the title role. John Barrymore could no longer remember his lines. Tests of Robert Benchley and Laird Cregar were respectively deemed “too mild-mannered”  and “overblown and extravagant,” by producer Hal Wallis. (Probably why Charles Coburn refused to test at all). Director William Keighley also saw Charles Laughton and  Fredric March. And Grant was still around -  - “far too young and attractive,” said Hal Wallis.  He was switched to Arsenic and Old Lace.  
  29. Robert Montgomery, Mr and Mrs Smith, 1941.     When Alfred Hitchcock could not deliver Grant for Carole Lombard’s comedy, he looked at everyone from George Brent to Fredric March. Montgomery's salary was $110,000 for eight weeks.   Hitch got $40,000 less for his 16 weeks.
  30. Dennis O’Keefe, Week-End For Three, 1941.  Cary Grant and Irene Dunne became Dennis O’Keefe and Jane Wyatt in a downsized production when RKO couldn’t land Ginger Rogers as Mrs Grant. As in the anti-Nazi Once Upon a Honeymoon   later that year - and ten years on in Monkey Business.

  31. Paul Henreid, Joan of Paris, 1942.     Another Cary rejection in May, 1941,   leading to the Hollywood debut of not only   Henreid but Michèle Morgan.
  32. Gary Cooper, The Pride of the Yankees, 1942.      Producer Samuel Goldwyn won the battle to make a biopic of baseball great Lou Gehrig - who died at 40 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), after a moving farewell to his fans:  “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” His widow, Eleanor, wanted Cooper or Spencer Tracy to play Lou. They were not alone. Also on the mound before Cooper signed on were Grant, Eddie Albert, Brian Donlevy. Pus two other real sports heroes: ex-New York Yankee pitcher Waite Hoyt and middle-weight champion boxer Billy Soos. Gehrig appeared as himself in Rawhide, 1937, his film despite being listed by producer Sol Lesser to head his Tarzan series. Until seeing Lou’s legs. “More functional than decorative.”
  33. Franchot Tone, Five Graves To Cairo, 1942.   As if he wasn’t having enough trouble casting Mouche (Ingrid Bergman, Simone Simon passed on the chambermaid), he couldn’t land Grant, either - for his hero, Corporal John J Bramble. Not for a location in Arizona at the height of summetr, thank you very much
  34. Bob Hope, They Got Me Covered, 1942.   Producer Sam Goldwyn asked Charles MacArthur to brush up the lame-brain spy for Cary.  MacArthur refused, suggesting it better suited Hope. “He can get away with more inconsistencies than Grant...” It would be a further 13 years before Hope inherited another Grant vehicle.
  35. George Brent, Experiment Perilous, 1943.      “Life is short,” said Hippocrates, “art is long, decision difficult, and experiment perilous.” So was the period thriller, although Jacques Tourneur fans adore it. When producer David Hempstead walked, so did Grant. Next: Gregory Peck. Next? George Brent?!!
  36. Robert Young, Claudia, 1943.    Finding her husband was difficult. Don Ameche, 35, Cary Grant, 39, Franchot Tone, 38, were too old for a “child bride.”  How salacious! Not really. She wasn’t Lolita but an immature 20-something aimed at Joan Fontaine, 26, Katharine Hepburn, 36, and Jennifer    Jones, 24. Dorothy McGuire repeated her Broadway role at 27, opposite an old Young, 36… showing “what a fine actor can do in a modest and unspectacular part,”said The New York Times. They were still together for the sequel, Claudia and David, 1946.  Snore!
  37. Joel McCrea, The More The Merrier, 1943.     Director George Stevens was satisfied with McCrea-Jean Arthur.   Joel wasn’t and suggested Cary take his place. No, Stevens wanted an all-American type.   Grant re-made it as his final film, Walk Don't Run, 1966, in Charles Coburn's Oscared role.
  38. Gary Cooper, Saratoga Trunk, 1943. Head bro Jack Warne shelled out #175,000 for the rights to the latest huge (ie rambling) novel by Edna Ferber– for yet another reunion of Errol Flynn-Olivia De Havilland.  Howatr Hawks wanted to direct withb pal Cary Grant as Colonel Clint Maroon. But Sam Wood got the gig and used his Hemingwayesque couple from the previous year’s For Whom the Bell Tolls:  Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. Trunk (a railroad’s main lIne) was shown to the GIs fighting WWII but delayed in the US until1945. Sam’s assistant director was… Don Siegel.
  39. Joseph Cotten, Shadow Of   Doubt, 1943.      Even though he could not obtain his favourite   leading man   - and soul brother -   to be the murderous Uncle Charlie, this always remained Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite Hitchcock movie.
  40. Gregory Peck, Spellbound, 1944.     For “just another manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis,” Alfred Hitchcock lost Grant and was unhappy with Peck. “I couldn’t produce the facial expressions that Hitch wanted... I didn’t have that facility. He had a preconception of what the expression ought to be… He planned that as carefully as the camera angles. Hitchcock was an outside fellow, and I had the Stanislavski training from the Neighborhood Playhouse, which means you work from the inside.”

  41. Dennis Morgan, God Is My Co-Pilot, 1944.      Warner’s first choice for the Robert Lee Scott Jr biopic was Gary Cooper.  Then, Grant or Humphrey Bogart… or even Scott, himself.  Colonel Scott was a WWII USAF fighter pilot hero - his dream, since the age of eight. (A 1989 episode  of the Coming of Age series, was calld Todd Is My Co-Pilot).
  42. Rex Harrison, Blithe Spirit, 1944.        Testier than audiences would ever realise during Arsenic and Old Lace (particularly over the cutting of his last line: “I’m a bastard!”), Cary made it clear. He would have   preferred the Noel Coward piece.
  43. Robert Alda, Rhapsody In Blue, 1944.   Clifford Odets started writing his George Gershwin biopic for Cary, one of the composer's friends. Director Irving Rapper, to his cost, felt Grant was, once again, not American enough. When, in   fact, the film was not Gershwin enough!   Cary later played Cole Porter in Night   and Day, which was not Porter enough!
  44. Ray Milland, Lost Weekend, 1944.    “I am not a drinker. I’m a drunk.” About the only time, director Billy Wilder did not want Grant. Wilder wanted José Ferrer. The studio wanted Grant - or someone close. Now who on earth was close to Cary Grant?!  Without saying a word, Milland won the Oscar on March 7, 1946. The first Welsh actor to do so. Anthony Hopkins was the second, 46 years later.
  45. Gregory Peck, Spellbound, 1945.      This was (alas)  another of the films that Cary could not make for his partner-in-crime Alfred Hitchcock - Foreign Correspondent , Shadow of a Doubt and Rope.  
  46. Willard Parker, One Way To Love, 1945.   Odd title for a tale of two radio scriptwriters. One good, the other not so much - but needing to get back in harness for a $1,000-per-week contract. Parker beat Grant and Lee Bowman to the ace while the not so hot Chester Morris stole everything in sight. Including O’Keefe’s role.
  47. James Stewart, It's A Wonderful Life, 1946.
  48. Clark Gable, The Hucksters, 1946.        Grant passed on ad man Vic Norman back from WWII and passed the script to Gable . The King was horrified : "It's filthy and it isn’t entertainment."  And so Deborah Kerrl’s Hollywood debut was considerably watered down. Imagine Mad Men castrated.

  49. Gregory Peck, Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947.   
    Iconic Broadway p[ropducer Moss Hart loses Grant,   Round One... Specifically for Cary, his old New York pal had adapted Laura Z Hobson’s anti-racism best-seller about a journalist posing as a Jew to investigate American anti-Semitism.  Impossible,  said Grant, because  he was Jewish, looked Jewish and no Jew could satisfactorily play the role.  Hart understood; Clifford Odets did not, Grant had always told him he was not Jewish.   Hollywood remained baffled by the claims.  Cary gave money to Jewish causes,   including $25,000 in 1947 to the new state of Israel in memory of his dead Jewish mother.  His unknown father might have been Jewish, his official mother was not, though he could have been the illegitimate child of a Jewish woman friend of his presumed parents...

  50. Ronald Colman, A Double Life, 1947.     Nervous about tackling the Shakespearean scenes (he refused a voice coach).   Plus his new   agent, Lew Wasserman,    fought to preserve Cary’s   image by persuading him not to   play a star who really strangles his Desdemona on-stage in Othello. Colman won an Oscar.
  51. David Niven, The Bishop's Wife, 1947.     Having paid nearly $500,000   to Cary (his biggest salary to an actor; Lew Wasserman and MCA were working well), producer Sam Goldwyn called a halt to William Seiter’s slow direction after three weeks, had the script re-tooled and swopped the star roles.  Grant wanted the role he had signed for and tried to quit. “Goldwyn told him that only Goldwyn could decide what Cary would play,” said the new director Henry Koster. “He was very upset. He thought the bishop was much better than the part of the angel - a straightforward, very self-assured man, while the bishop would be comically befuddled, one of   Cary's   specialities.” Koster was stuck with two miserable stars contractually forced into unwanted   roles.   Niven, still recovering from the death of his wife, was the bishop and Grant, reported dead in an air crash with Howard Hughes some months before, was a “rather conceited, impudent, high-handed magician” of an angel called Dudley - curiously re-christened Daniel in French-language dubbing. (Denzel Washington had no problem about which role to play in the 1996 re-make. Cary's).
  52. John Ireland, Red River, 1947.       Howard Hawks lost his Cherry when  his pal passed on “the charming and impudent” cowboy. Westerns weren’t Grant’s thing and Cherry Valance was third banana to John Wayne.  And could Grant have survived the  “Can I see it?... And you’d like to see mine!” routine of  Ireland  and Montgomery Clift.... about their, er,  guns. Grant never did make a Western, although in his final years, Howard Hawks was planning one  for him as a consumptive dentist - Doc Holiday meets Walter Brennan.  (Grant kept the grizzled galoot idea for his penultimate movie, Father Goose).
  53. James Stewart, Rope, 1947.     For his first colour movie, Alfred Hitchcock temptedfate by trying to convince Grant and Montgomery Clift to play (the implied) gay teacher andgay student in the murder mystery ruined byHitch being more keen on up to ten-minute takes than the story. (He was inspired by Dallas Bower’s BBCtv production, circa 1939). The totally miscast Stewart disliked the film.  
  54. Gene Kelly, The Pirate, 1947.    MGM snapped up SN Behrman’s play for… let’s see now, more stars than in the heavens above…    So how about them Minivers: Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon? Or, Garson or Myrna Loy plus Cary Grant plus Charles Laughton…  Or, the Notorious Grant and Ingrid Bergman couple… or William Powell and Hedy Lamarr?  Hey, we’re MGM!  Why not a musical? With Judy Garland and… er… John Hodiak? They got on real swell in The Harvey Girls. He can’t really sing ‘n’ dance? No prob - Judy and Gene Kelly! And so it came to pass. Uneasily... The Minnellis (an imploding Judy and director Vincente) were at each other’s creative throats. LB Mayer ordered the Judy-Kelly Voodoo number burnt: too torrid! (Judy-Kelly were torrid?). In fact, LB hated it all, calling it high-brow and extremely pretentious. But that’’s Kelly  - and Minnelli - in a nutshell. Metro lost $2m. Including for the first time in any Hollywood budget, paying a shrink. For Judy.
  55. Fred MacMurray, The Miracle of the Bells, 1947.    After James Cagney passed on the Hollywood flack hero (he wanted to produce, as well), producer Jesse L Lasky chased Grant and Clark Gable. And settled for a MacMurray with “the air of an embalmer” (said the New York Times) in a truncated and limp version of Russell Janney’s novel.
  56. Robert Ryan, Berlin Express, 1947.      Once Merle Oberon finished the film - and her affair with Ryan - she took the Queen Mary to New York. Grant, her fellow British secret agent (according to Charles Higham), was on the same boat - and while having tea with 15-year-old Liz Taylor he noticed an actress from a play he'd seen in London. He asked Oberon to introduced   him to Betsy Drake - who became   his third wife.  (On   another sea voyage, Betsy survived the sinking off Nantket of the SS Andrea Doria, July 25, 1956).
  57. Robert Montgomery, The Saxon Charm, 1947.     Grant was sought for the selfish Broadway producer (think Jed Harris) when he and the rôle and the film were called The Charming Matt Saxon.
  58. John Lund, A Foreign Affair, 1948.      “Lund,” explained writer-director Billy Wilder, “was the guy you got after you wrote the part for Cary Grant and Grant wasn’t available.” Lund was the meat in the Marlene Dietrich-Jean Arthur sandwhich. Dietrich was also unimpressed with "that piece of petrified wood." And the suits never even noticed when, for fun, Wilder replaced Lund with Ray Milland in a take. “Maybe they thought it was Lost Weekend II.”

  59. Lamberto Maggiorani, Ladri di biciclette (UK/US: Bicycle Thieves), Italy, 1948.  
    Hard to imagine that legendary producer David O Selznick could be such an oaf!   He suggested Cary for the luckless, Italian father looking for a job. “Now I think Cary Grant is a marvelous actor,” director Vittorio De Sica told Guy Flatley in the  New York Times in 1973,          “I just couldn’t see him as an Italian working man.  So I had to reject the offer."

  (Anyway, he preferred Henry Fonda).. DOS quit and it ws another two years before  De Sica raised a budget and made the timeless neo-realism classic his way. With amateurs. “There was much excitement about him, and Billy Wilder wanted to star him in an American movie. But after Wilder interviewed Maggiorani, he realized that this man was no actor at all. I had made him seem an actor, because I myself am an actor and I know immediately how to get the things I want.”

  60. Joseph Cotten, The Third Man, 1948.     Cotten, Orson Welles, director Carol Reed, Anton Karas’ zither score - they’re fixed in the collective imagination, as vividly as the classic post-war thriller. David O Selznick, however, is forgotten as the producer, a parody of his former Gone With The Wind glory, full of fatuous notions like Noel  Coward for the titular Harry Lime (based on author Graham Greene’s superior in the UK Secret Intelligence Service: the infamous double agent Kim Philby).  The Selznick version would have been forgotten in a week,  said US critic Roger Ebert, of his  favourite film. Of course it is - as flawless as the very best of Hitchcock.  Cotten insisted  that the original name, Rollo Martins, be changed. The  too gay Rollo became Holly.  D’oh?
  61. Montgomery Clift, The Heiress, 1949.    A firm fan of director William Wyler, Cary told the media that he wanted to be the heartless seducer from Henry James’ 1881 novel, Washington Square.  He was too old and, wily William Wyler preferred what he termed a more subtle acting style. Grant was not upset when learnig Wyler had taken the villllainy out of the role.
  62. Van Johnson, Battleground, 1949.      Dore Schary was running RKO without much help from an increasingly bizarre Howard Hughes, forever trysting his starlets at Grant’s Beverly Grove Drive home.   Hughes rejected war films, despite Schary wanting Cary - it wound   up at MGM.   So did Schary.   LB Mayer did not want it, either. Schary proved him wrong and soon had LB’s job.
  63. James Stewart, Harvey, 1949.     Playwright Mary Chase had final approval of the movie Elwood P Dowd, an alcoholic who sees and relates to an invisible giant rabbit called Harvey. Stewart and Joe E Brown were the only contenders  who had played the role on-stage (Jim never stopped reviving the play in the UK and US).  Other potential Elwoods were: Grant, Jack Benny, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Jack Haley (The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz), even crooner Rudy Vallee. 
  64. Dennis Morgan, Pretty Baby, 1949.    Head brother Jack Warner tried to sweet-talk Grant into the project on July 29. No, he’d had enough of screwball comedies. Not even the notion of co-starring with his lover Betsy Drake sweetened the pill. Grant passed. Drake stayed. Morgan took over. Grant and Drake eloped. Everyone was happy. Except Jack Warner.
  65. Ray Milland, A Woman of Distinction, 1949.     The fact that the genius Frank Capra off-loaded this project on to Columbia must have warned Grant off the comedy - that never ever rollicked. Finally, it was Milland dealing with the straight-laced schoolteacher - Rosalind Russell chosen from a list of Jean Arthur, Joan Fontaine and Loretta Young. Fine but Milland was no Grant and this was no Bringing Up Baby.
  66. Louis Heyward, House by the River, 1949.   Sir AP Herbert’s novella was once on director-ogre Otto Preminger’s wish list. It is doubful he could have persuaded Grant to sully his image as one of the most despicable of (accidental) killers. Rex Harrison was dueas Grant’s crippled (well, disabled) brother, helping him hide the body… When Fritz Lang directed – down B Street way! - the real hero was cinematographer Edward Cronjager.   

  67. John Wayne, Jet Pilot, 1950. 
    Starring John Wayne, Janet Leigh and the United States Air Force…” Shooting began in October 1949 (when Grant was too busy to be Colonel Jim Shannon) and Howard Hughes tinkered with it for so long - close to eight years - that the innovative jets he filmed were obsolete when the film was released in October 1957. But co-star Janet Leigh got to meet Grant...  “My God, he was good-looking and suave and he really does talk that way.  Quite a man! Fortunately, John Wayne could fit the film into his crowded schedule. Another hunk of man. And he really talked that way and walked that way... the consummate model of virility.”

  68. Ray Milland, A Life of Her Own, 1950.      Lana Turner  nearly stalked from her first movie in two years when MGM failed to land a co-star from the highly mixed bag of Grant, James Craig,  Howard Keel, James Mason, George Murphy and Robert Ryan. The rich mine owner was given to Wendell Corey. As lucklustre as usual, he begged off after a few weeks. “I’m not right for the rôle.”   And Milland was, said MGM, borrowing him from Paramount.
  69. Richard Basehart, Fourteen Hours, 1950.    Howard Hawks was always looking out for a Grant vehicle. Cinderella was one possibility (Cary as her mother, James Stewart and Danny Kaye for the ugly sisters!).Plus Fox’s man-on-a-ledge thriller if Hawks could do it his way. “Cary’s inbed with a very good-looking girl and her husband comes home and Cary crawls out on the ledge and pretends he’s going tocommit suicide.”No, said head Fox Darryl F Zanuck. After the opening, he wished he’d done it that way.

  70. Macdonald Carey, Meet Me After The Show, 1950.   The song and dances were far better than the tiresome script. Which is why Cameron and Cary Grant refused to be Betty Grable’s wandering husband. (First title was Don't Fence Me In). Neither one was a happy hoofer!
  71. Stewart Granger, The Light Touch, 1951.     Grant wanted to make Richard Brooks; second film after arranging and enjoying his debut, Crisis, together the year before. But he was too fully booked. “MGM said, well, we have another fella here,” said Brooks. “But the one thing the other fella didn’t have was... a light touch.” But he did have a wife. And nine years later, Brooks later married her. Jean Simmons.

  72. John Derek, Scandal Sheet, 1951.    Or The Dark Page when Sam Fuller wrote his first novel - headed towards Broderick Crawford with William Holxden or John Payne - before Howard Hawks paid $15,000 for it. After completing Red River, 1946, The Silver Fox planned the Fuller thriller (reporter investigates his editor’s crime) for Cary Grant and Edward G Robinson Or Cary and Humphrey Bogart!!! Or, Dennis O’Keefe and Orson Welles. Hawks dropped it. Phil Karlson picked it up to reunite the 1949 stars of All The King’s Men, Derek and Broderick Crawford.
  73. Dirk Bogarde, Penny Princess, 1952.       Eleven years earlier, Cary had Penny Serenade with Irene Dunne. There is no Grant comment on  record about this UK comedy. Doubtless he would have agreed with Bogarde’s summation:   “As funny as a baby’s coffin.”  
  74. Montgomery Clift, I Confess, 1952.      Alfred Hitchcock had first been intrigued by  Paul Anthelme’s 1902 play, Nos deux consciences/Our Two Conscience), in the 30s.   Mrs Hitch,  Alma Reville, got him interested in  the project again in 1948, when they worked on the script and offered Van Johnson the lead  - a Roman Catholic priest suspected of murder. Next? His future regulars: Grant and James Stewart. Which is probably why Clift drank too much; Hitch got co-star Karl Malden to warn him off the sauce. 
  75. Gregory Peck, Roman Holiday, 1953.      Director Frank Capra had Cary and Liz Taylor interested. Paramount said no - then yes, once Capra had sold his rights to another top helmer, William Wyler.  “It’s my pet yarn but you can have it.  And if you like that one, come back, and I’ll  give  you Friendly Persuasion.”  Capra quit when realising he could not make the film for the Paramount ceiling of $1.5m. William Wyler made it for $2,092,487 – all in Rome. Eager for comedy, Peck felt that “every romantic comedy script I get to read has Cary Grant’s fingerprints all over it.”  And those off blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo was posthumously awarded  the 1943 Oscar given to his “front,” Ian McLellan Hunter, in  1993.  
  76. Ray Milland, Dial M For Murder, 1953.      OK, said Hitchcock, no gay professor – so how about a man planning his wife’s murder? And in 3D? At the time she was Olivia De Havilland (or Deborah Kerr), not Grace Kelly. The Warner suits would not hear of it. Total mis-casting! And for once, they were right. Anyway, Grant had officially retired in February because of the rise of Method-ists and the way Hollywood had treated Chaplin. Even with 3D, Hitch shot the film in 36 days: August 5-September 25 1953. And then coaxed Grant back for his next suspenser: To Catch A Thief.
  77. James Mason, A Star Is Born, 1953.
  78. Dick Powell, Susan Slept Here, 1953.     Grant was asked  to succeed Dan Dailey and  Robert Mitchum… until Hollywood scripter Mark Christopher became Powell’s 58th and final movie role before TV producing and film directing. Debbie Reynolds was Susan and the US Catholic Legion of Decency (!) was  aghast by the title…but not by  George Washington Slept Here in 1942.
  79. Humphrey Bogart, Sabrina (UK: Sabrina Fair), 1954.     One story insisted that Grant did not wish to be seen… carrying an umbrella!! In fact and just like Bogie, Cary felt too old to be chasing Audrey Hepburn - 25 years his junior. Besides, in all his films, he never chased women: they chased him... exactly as Audrey would do nine years later in Charade, “OK,” said director Billy Wilder, “somebody that’s older than William Holden and not so pretty.” Bogart did not like that, nor being second choice, and called Wilder a Nazi, Holden quite untalented and the film “a crock of shit.” Billy threatened to let Holden win the girl (as he had off-set). But Bogie had to win because “Bogart gets $300,000, Holden $125,000.” (Poor Audrey got a mere $15,000) Same reasoning in 1995 only Harrison Ford won $15million. On his deathbed, Bogie apologised to Wilder. As for Audrey, Bogie never changed his mind: “All right as long as you like to do 36 takes.”

  80. Van Johnson, The Last Time I Saw Paris, 1954.      Alias F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1931 short story Babylon Revisited. Producer Lester Cowan had tried to set it up as Cosmopolitan in 1940 with Shirley Temple as Cary's daughter - the real star of the show. This rewrite by Casablanca’s Epstein twins (Julius J and Philip G), shifted focus to the mother (Elizabeth Taylor) with little time for room for young Sandy Descher as Vicki.
  81. Danny Kaye, White Christmas, 1954.      Cary almost turned down To Catch A Thief because of his interest in joining Vera-Ellen in this musical. Bing Crosby needed a partner as Fred Astaire did not like the script and Donald O'Connor's   back was out.
  82. Charlton Heston, The Private War of Major Benson, 1955.      Developed at Universal for Cary, ruined by Chuck. Who envied and immensely admired Grant’s films “where you stand around in beautiful clothes, saying beautiful   things to a   beautiful   woman. Of course, the trick is being able to   do it the way Grant did.”  Exactly!
  83. Jack Palance, The Big Knife, 1955.      Playwright Clifford Odets told critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich - who directed a scene from the play in his Stella Adler drama class and the 1959 off-Broadway revival - that the lead role of the much troubled, indeed doomed movie star, Charles Castle, had been conceived with Cary in mind.Anyway, to paraphrase Hamlet: The best is Palance.

  84. Marlon Brando, Guys and Dolls, 1955.    
    As proved  by such  flights of  insane  fancy about Cary (Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, even Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis!), producer Sam Goldwyn had bought a hit musical that he didn’t know what to do with. Cary did. He called Brando - his one-time lover - with the magic words: “Frank Sinatra desperately wants the role...       I heard you don’t like Sinatra. Take the role just to piss him off.”   OK, said Brando, “It’s a deal!”

  85. Akim Tamiroff, Don Quixote, 1955.    Years before Orson Welles started his version,Howard Hawks wanted to make the Cervantes tragedy with Cary Grant and Cantinflas as Sancho Panza.Someone told Hawks that he couldn’t make a comedy out of a tragedy. “Oh no?” said Hawks,. “Tell me the story of Don Quixote.” He did so and then Hawks told him: “You’ve just told me the story of three of Chaplin’s best pictures.”
  86. David Niven, Around The World in 80 Days, 1955.      Phileas Fogg was Niven’s favourite role. Yet he only won it because producer Mike Todd had to give up on his dream Fogg - after six months of wooing Grant into topping his planned cast of 48 stars.  Grant felt Todd was more keen on shooting locations around the world,  than depth of character. Still refused when Todd virtually offered him half the profits. Only half?  Cary usually got 75%! 
  87. James Mason, Forever, Darling, 1955.   The five-year-itch pair was always for one screen couple or another. From William Powell-Myrna Loy to Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn to…Lucy and Desi. But they couldn’t land Grant as their marriage-saving angel - a fun part for James Mason.
  88. Bob Hope, The Iron Petticoat, 1956.       Rejected out of hand by Grant - making the writer Ben Hecht turn to Hope. He soon wished he had not.  Hope arrived with all his writers and in Hecht's word “fractured” the picture and “blowtorched” Katharine Hepburn out of “her magnificent comic performance.”
  89. Tyrone Power, The Edddy Duchin Story, 1956.      Cary chased the role of the debonair piano star. Duchin’s also piano-playing son, Peter, said Power’s   “dark looks and boyish charm seemed perfect.” Besides, he was nine years younger...

  90. Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1956.     Looking for his Colonel Nicholson, producer Sam Spiegel also contacted: Ronald Colman, Noel Coward, Charles Laughton, James Mason, Ray Milland, Laurence Olivier, Eric Portman, Anthony Quayle, Ralph Richardson - and Spencer Tracy, who bluntly told Spiegel that the Colonel had to be an Englishman.  Cary was more taken with  Shears - which went to…
  91. William Holden, The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1956  Grant tried to talk Holden out of it when both accepted the same role. Producer Sam Spiegel  told David Lean: “I was in  a most embarrassing position.” Sam  voted for Holden as the public rarely liked  a serious  Grant, such as in Crisis, 1950) Cary “was absolutely broken-hearted. He cried actual tears when notified.” For the  role, Holden’s agent engineered a then unique tax-payment deal:  $250,000 plus 10% of “whatever the profits: were, to be paid at no more than $50,000 per year.” By 1975, the cut had  totaled $2.8m. (Columbia and Spiegel shared the annual $100,000 interest made from Holden’s funds!) Lean asked both men to appear in  his (aborted) project: Gandhi.  Grant as a British cop in the Indian police force and Holden as a US doctor. (Neither role was in  the 1981 Richard Attenborough version).
  92. Jack Hawkins, The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1956.     Grant’s 1949 flop in  his serious Crisis film troubled  Sam Spiegel.  But “because of Cary’s hurt feelings,” the producer  offered him Major Warden -  already given to Hawkins!  No surprise…   In the 50s/60s,  to “Spiegel” was  LA slang meaning: to cajole, manipulate or downright con. That’s how producer Spiegel won most of his deals, casts and women.
  93. John Rait, The Pajama Game, 1956.    Frederick Brisson, Robert E Griffith and Hal Prince bought the 7 Cents novelfor a stage musical  about a pajama factory strike.  They  immediately started courting Grant, Gene Kelly and Van Johnson  - surely one would agree to Broadway and Hollywood!  No ? OK, they’ll discover a new star. And did. A non A-Star, though. 
  94. Alan Ladd, Boy On A Dolphin, 1957.       No to Gina Lollobrigida, yes to Sophia Loren. On fourth day of shooting, Cary quit to fly home where his wife, Betsy Drake, was among the survivors of the SS Andrea Doria sinking off Nantucket on July 25, 1956. Director Jean Negulesco requested the Front Office to send him someone to “look right opposite theItalian Venus - abig, tall, strong, romantic box-office star.”Head Fox Spyros Skouras sent him little Ladd.“Negulesco fell in love with (Loren), so she got all the good close-ups - all you ever saw of me in most scenes was the back of my neck.I got fed up of it.” Not as much as the mayor of Hydra, bemoaning his poor virgin island, unscathed in two world wars, was suddenly "criss-crossed by trenches so that your beautiful Sophia could walk at the same level as her lover.”

  95. Gary Cooper, Love in the Afternoon, 1957.
    Director Billy Wilder aimed high again: Grant and Audrey Hepburn. “The day I signed Cooper, he got too old!    I always wanted Grant for anything,    it was a disappointment that he never said yes...    Nothing personal.   Intuitive.   He had very strong ideas about what parts he wanted to play.   Tony Curtis impersonating Grant in Some Like It Hot was as close as I got to having Cary Grant in one of my pictures.”   Coop looked far too ancient for seducing Audrey Hepburn - still six years away from her Charade with Cary.

  96. Clark Gable, Run Silent, Run Deep, 1957.    Two years  earlier, both the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times said Delmar Daves would direct Grant.  But they’d long completed their submarine service in Destination Tokyo, 1943.
  97. James Stewart, Bell, Book and Candle, 1958.     Cary wanted it for him and his third wife, Betsy Drake. But MCA had already grabbed the play for Stewart - described as Lew Wasserman’s favourite client. (Neither news delighted Cary, who quit Wassermanby 1960 for suggesting a Grant TV series- produced by MCA, of course).Stewart’s worst casting since Rope (when he also stood in for Cary), was the price Columbia’s hated boss, Harry Cohn, paid for allowing Kim Novak join Jim in Vertigo. And that is exactly where Stewart wanted to be, back withHitch.But he blamed Stewart looking took old for Vertigo flopping and didn’t want him around when moving North By Northwest. So Cary travelled (for about $750,000 and 10%)) while Stewart candled.
  98. David Niven, Bonjour Tristesse, 1958.     This time, Audrey Hepburn was supposed to be...hisdaughter! Director Otto Preminger flew to the Spanish locations of The Pride And The Passion, 1957, to sweet-talk Cary into becoming the reprobate father of Françoise Sagan’s first heroine. Five years later, Audrey was chasing Cary around Parisin Charade.
  99. Clark Gable, Teacher’s Pet, 1958.      Not keen onaquickly re-tuned frolic as tough newsman joining Deborah Kerr’sjournalism class. For Gable, she was Doris Day - given ThatTouch of Mink by Cary in 1962.

  100. Ray Walston, Damn Yankees!, 1958.    To go the beauty route, Warners wanted Cyd Charisse and Cary Grant, but chose to go cheaper with the Broadway showstopper Gwen Verdon opposite Walston as  Mr Applegate, aka The Devil.
  101. Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, 1958.
  102. Gregory Peck, Beloved Infidel, 1959.     All the  talk of Grant playing F Scott Fitzgerald came to naught. As he was proneto exclaim: “Plenty of room up front!”
  103. Alec Guinness, The Scapegoat, 1959.    MGM wanted Cary.  Everyone did - except Daphne Du Maurier. For the filmof her novel, sheinsisted upon Guinness - not quite the same charisma. However, Alec saved (or, at least, completed)the film by directing when Robert Hamer (maker of Guinness’ Ealing Studios classic breakthrough, Kind Hearts and Coronets, 1949) was in his cups.

  104. Geoffrey Horne, Giuseppe venduto dai fratelli/The Story of Joseph and His Brethern, Italy-Yugoslavia, 1959.    
    Bizarre idea: Cary Grant in a Biblcal epic.   It was the dream wish of Columbia czar Harry “King” Cohn - despised by the industry as much as Joseph was by his siblings. Playwright Clifford Odets had meetings with Grant and noted his “evasive, non-committal, commitment... strange flirting...”Cary was more interested in another Odets project (unmade) about a man with 18 aliases, rather than a saint with eleven brothers, including thefuturespaghetti cowboy Terence Hill.

  105. Louis Jourdan, Can-Can, 1959.     Spurned Frank Sinatra’s offer in irritable fashion during the friction-fraught Houseboat when Grantwas being spurned by Sophia Loren - marrying Carlo Ponti by proxy in Mexico!Cary was also still seething at the way Sinatra stalked out of The Pride and The Passion locations.
  106. Robert Mitchum, The Grass Is Greener, 1959.     As it was a Grandon (Grant-Stanley Donen) production, obviously Cary would be one of the leads.His original casting was Rex Harrison and his wife, Kay Kendall, as Lord andLady Rhyall with himself as US businessman Charles Delacro.  Kay’s death from leukaemia meant her husband withdrew, Grant took his place opposite Deborah Kerr.  And Bob Mitchum became Delacro.
  107. Yves Montand, Let's Make Love, 1960.    All Hollywood leading men rejected Marilyn. Nice guys! Well, they knew she’d steal it. Without even  trying.
  108. Stuart Whitman, The Comancheros, 1960.   Oklahoma novelist Paul Wellman (Cheyenne, Jubal, etc) penned the book with Grant as the model for his hero Paul Regret.  However, once the 60s began, Cary was too old - anyway, he’d never accept second billing to John Wayne. Particularly when Duke’s Captain Jake Cutter had been beefed up from the novel for him. Cutter was known as Big Jake.  Duke liked that monicker.  Enough to have his Bajac company create a film of the same name in 1970. The ailing George Sherman (who produced The Comancheros) directed Big Jake  with much uncredited help from Wayne.  They’d been pals since their 30s’ Republic Westerns. 
  109. Gregory Peck, The Guns of Navaronne, 1960.     Obvious thinking from Carl Foreman - after Grant’s assured  handling of the cannon in The Pride and The Passion.  Oh,  and with Brando in the Anthony  Quinn role.  Wow!  Now that is really thinking BIG!

  110. James Mason, Lolita, 1960.
  111. John Gavin, Back Street, 1960.     For the third Hollywood take on Fannie Hurst’s notorious weepie, the married guy with Susan Hayward as a mistress was a battle between Steve Forrrest, William Holden, Peter Lawford, Gregory Peck and “how old Cary Grant?” was just that - “too old.”  In her July 15 column, gossip queen Hedda Hopper stupidly suggested Gavin. Hadn’t the great know-all heard that Hitchcock called him The Stiff the year before during Psycho? Bet she never mentioned Gavin never made another Hollywood film for six years!
  112. Steve McQueen, The Honeymoon Machine, 1961.    Cary avoidedthe US Navy lieutenant busting a casino roulette table with his ship’s computer when the comedy was called The Golden Fleece. He wuz right. “I’ll take full creditfor that one,” said McQueen’s agent Hillard Elkins.“It was a dumb move for both Steve and me. We were looking the other way and we should’ve passed.”
  113. Michael Redgrave, The Innocents, 1961.      Searching for the innocent kids’ debonair uncle, British director    Jack Clayton spied Cary in the studio restaurant..“I had the nerve to offer him - the biggest star at the time - this tiny part.He was so charming. Didn’t find it an insult.He said he’d do it if I could bring back the uncle at the end of the film. I was torn... Having Cary would’ve meant a lot but seeing him at the end would’ve been impossible.  I’m probably the only director who ever said no to Cary Grant.” (Far from it!).
  114. Gregory Peck, The Guns of Navaronne, 1961.      Obvious thinking from Carl Foreman - after Grant’s assured handling of the cannon in The Pride and The Passion.Oh and with Brando in the Anthony Quinn role!  
  115. Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia, 1961.   
  116. Jack Hawkins, Lawrence of Arabia, 1961.
  117. Jason Robards, Tender Is The Night, 1962.     Producer David Selznick first tried to make it at RKO in 1951 with his lover Jennifer Jones.Cary remained loyal to the discarded Irene Selznick (a friendsince his New York stage days). He was also against the dramatics of Dick Diver, the shrink falling for his patient. And he was right. Again! The fiasco (Henry King directing Jones) did not save Fox sinking below Cleopatra’s Plimsoll line.
  118. Robert Preston, The Music Man, 1962.     Jack Warner begged but Cary felt only the Broadway show’s star could and should do it. Also refusing to steal Preston'sthunder:Milton Berle, Ray Bolger, Art Carney, Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly.
  119. Rod Taylor, The Birds, 1962.  Alfred Hitchcock had found his  ”new Grace Kelly” in ex-model Tippi Hedren. He wanted an experienced player on hand to help her first film.  So he considered Cary Grant, Farley Granger, evem Sean Connery - wrestling with Dr No at the time.  Universal told Hitch that the birds and his name were all the stars he required.

  120. Edward de Souza, The Phantom of the Opera, 1962.    “Mr Carreras - there’s a Mr Grant to see you...”  Everyone recognised the surprise visitor to Hammer House in London’s  Film Row. Yet  never understood why he was there.  Well,  old Cary wanted to make a horror film...! That much is true. That Hammer immediately asked him to play The Phantom is not.  Producer Anthony Hinds offered the rubbishy romantic lead. (At 58). And that  explains why Cary Grant never made a Hammer horror film.
  121. Rex Harrison, Cleopatra, 1962.
  122. Sean Connery, From Russia With Love, 1963.
  123. Rock Hudson, Man’s Favourite Sport, 1963.     Or The Girl Who Almost Got Away when Howard Hawks first figured on reuniting his Bringing Up Baby team of Grant and Katie Hepburn...By the time he was59, Grant was worried about romancing Paula Prentiss, 24. “He doesn’t wanna be surrounded by all those young women,” said Hawks. As director Peter Bogdanovich, explained: “Grant was fearful of looking like a dirty old man.” That didn’t stop stop him calling Stanley Donen back after having first passed on Charade -opposite Audrey Hepburn, aged... 32.“I read Howard's script last night,” said Grant.“Is your script still available?”

  124. Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, 1963.   
    To protect the $5.2m he paid for the rights, Jack Warner wanted star power - like Audrey Hepburn and Cary instead of Broadway’s original Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins: Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. Warner had several other Professors in mind. From the inspired (Grant, Noël Coward, Peter O’Toole, George Sanders) to the plain stupid (Rock Hudsons as a grumpy English gentleman?). Plus dowdy Michael Redgrave, who had the style but the box-office appeal of George Zucco. (Who?) (Exactly!) arrisdon. Ha “At that time, I was considered more commercial than Rex Harrison,” Grant told Guy Flatley in the New York Times, 1973. “The thing that stopped me was… I’d seen the show on stage three times and didn’t think anyone could do it better than Rex. Warner kept pushing, though, so finally I said to him, 'Look, Rex does it; use him.’ Actually, I always thought the movie should have been done with Julie Andrews, too, although I adore Audrey Hepburn and had a great time with her in Charade. I just think that once something has been done to perfection, why interfere with success? ”   Warner did not give up easily. Refusing $1.5m, Grant declared:   “Not only will I not play  it, but if you don't put Rex in it, I won't go to see it!

  125. Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins, 1963.    OK, chimney sweep Bert had to sing and dance it up. But he also had to be at home with a Cockney accent. Only a few US stars could manage that. Sadly, Van Dyke was not among them. Nor were Fred Astaire, Cary Grant or Danny Kaye…UK author PL Travers didn’t like how books were Hollywoodised and took 25 years to accept Walt Disney’s plan for her governess. She then found the result “vulgar and disrespectful” - and, like most Brits, loathed Van Dyke’s Bert. But then she knew nothing about cinema, having suggested the august (and aged) Alec Guinness, Rex Harrison, even Laurence Olivier - To sweep, or not to sweep! Plus Richards Burton and Harris, Peters O’Toole and Sellers. (Only Sellers made sense). Disney wanted Stanley Holloway - busy reprising his My Fair Lady stage role. Loving the movie but feeling miscast, Van Dyke nominated Jim Dale (a Disney star in the 70s) and agreed with Travers about Ron Moody… who would have frightened not only the horses but the kids, as well.
  126. David Niven, Bedtime Story, 1964.     Universal’s original idea: Grant-Rock Hudson in King of the Mountain. That could have set tongues wagging.OKthen, Tony Curtis... Either duo would have been more dynamic than Niven-Brando in, as per New York critic Judith Crist, “a vulgar soporific forthe little-brained ones.”
  127. Oskar Werner, Ship of Fools, 1965.      Stanley Kramer started workingon Grant for the alcoholic doctor while making The Pride and The Passion, 1956. Could have been an Oscar in it.
  128. Richard Burton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1965.  Thinking of their image, most actors were scared of being the emasculated husband of a blowsy, loudmouthed Elizabeth Taylor. Ernest Lehman was the producer and scenarist  - well, the Burtons put all of playwright Edward  Albee’s lines back into the script, leaving just two by Lehman!.  He wanted Peter O’Toole as George. (The wife was Martha!). Liz liked Broadway’s George, Arthur Hill, but Jack Lemmon actually accepted the role - and changed his mind next day. (A matter, said insiders, more of money than fear).  Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, James Mason and, amazingly, Glenn Ford, were also in the frame before Liz simply said: “What about Burton?”   Just like she’d said about directors: “You know who’s a genius? Mike Nichols.” That’s how  Broadway’s king started his amazing  film-directing career – after  studying the George Stevens classic, A Place in the  Sun. The star was… Liz Taylor.
  129. Peter O'Toole, What's New Pussycat, 1965.      The oh-so-dated 60s farce grew out of Czech writer Ladislaus Bus-Fekete's comedy about apriapic Don Juan,Lot's Wife- bought expressly for Cary by agent-turned producer Charles K Feldman. But he never approved any versions of the script(by Billy Wilder’s co-writer, IAL Diamond (among others). Feldman’s next target, Warren Beatty, said much the same about Woody Allen's treatment.Warren providedthe title - his telephone chit-chat opening to his legion of ladies.

  130. Paul Newman, Torn Curtain, 1965.   Playing safe, Alfred Hitchcock wanted Cary as his hero, Professor Michael Armstrong in the Euro-thriller.  Or his Pyscho, Anthony Perkins. Universal refused  and foisted Newman and Julie Andrews (who had zero chemistry)  on what they calied The Master’s 50th film. (it was his #61 of 64). As Hitch told me in London on April 21, 966: "Casting is the first compromise."
  131. Michael Caine, Gambit, 1966.      Shirley MacLaine arranged Caine’s Hollywood debut - in an update of a BryanForbes script which had been bespoke tailored for Cary in the early 60s.But (a) he felt too old for the part, (b), he’d played it before in Hitchcock’s far superior To Catch A Thief  and (c)   hadn’t they  heard, he was retiring...
  132. Gregory Peck, Arabesque, 1966.     The role, the film, hey the casting of La Loren - it was all for Cary.He still backed off. Peck had trouble with his comedy timing and would apologise to Stanley Donen. “Remember, I’m no Cary Grant.” No one needed reminding.
  133. Christopher Plummer, Triple Cross, 1966.      Director Terence Young never managed to have Cary as James Bond - nor, another spy, the real-life burglar turned WWII double-agent. Eddie Chapman.  Smooth, all right,  just not suave.
  134. Richard Burton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? 1966.      Among the many possible Georges: Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, James Mason, Peter O’Toole and Broadway’s George, Arthur Hill.  Plus Grant, presumably opposite an early idea for the harridan wife, his Notorious and Indiscreet co-star: Ingrid Bergman. He was way too smooth for such in-couple brawling. His public would hardly have enjoyed this sight (or side) of him... presumably known only to his five wives (Virginia Cherrill, Barbara Hutton, Betsy Drake, Dyan Cannon, Barbara Harris) and the one that got away, Sophia Loren.
  135. Marlon Brando, A Countess From Hong Kong, 1966.      First designed 30 years earlier (!) for Paulette Goddard and Cary Cooper, played by Sophia Loren and Brando - bitterly disappointed by the genius directing, Charles Chaplin - the nasty, sadistic asshole from Hell. “And I’m being kind.”
  136. Omar Sharif, Funny Girl, 1967.  The Jewish Barbra Streisand preferred an Arab screen lover (on and off-screen) to Grant. And the others short-listed for her gambling man Nick Arnstein:  Marlon Brando,  Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra.  Plus three  TVstars, Robert Culp, James Garner, David Janssen, that she would have chewed up and spat out. She as an expert in cutting her co-stars’ roles to ribbons.  Asked whether she’d been difficult to work with, director William Wyler said:  "No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed"!

  137. Dick Van Dyke, Fitzwilly, 1967.
    As the epitome of English butlers,aidinghis penniless employer by organising a crime syndicate, Van Dyke tried hard to match the maestro.  But   as Grant said, himself:    “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant.   want to be Cary Grant!”

  138. Peter O'Toole, Goodbye Mr. Chips, 1969.     Hollywood was determined to get him into a musical!The plan (again!) was Cary-Audrey Hepburn.  When Grant passed, Vincente Minnelli turned to Rex Harrison-Samantha Eggar, Burton-Julie Andrews... then Burton-Lee Remick, then Burton-Petula Clark before O'Toole moved in - opposite Pet.  
  139. Laurence Olivier, Sleuth, 1972.      “I decided it would be too much work. I mean, I’ve done all that - almost 70 times - and it’s a tiresome and very strenuous business.” Great idea from director Joseph Mankiewicz. Except Cary had retired...  to watch his daughter grow up. Jennifer was born in 1966 to Cary and his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon.  “The only film I’ve ever done where the entire cast is nominated,” said Mank.   The entire cast being Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine! And Mank for Best Director. A good one to retire  on.
  140. Topol, Follow Me! 1972.        To co-star with Julie Andrews.That was the 1965 hook for the film of Peter Shaffer’s The Public Eye play.
  141. Laurence Harvey, Night Watch, 1973.     He’d won his Oscar, lost his mother and movies just didn’t matter anymore. Not even a scary thriller opposite Elizabeth Taylor - produced by his Faberge boss and friend, George Barrie.
  142. George Segal, A Touch of Class, 1973.     Perfect title for Cary, found and offered to him (and Sophia Loren) by George Barrie again. “I’d have done if I were 50 years younger.”
  143. Art Carney, Harry and Tonto, 1974.       “I’m re-tir-ed!” Paul Mazursky wrote it for Jimmy Cagney to be the  widower of 72, on an odyssey across the US after being evicted with his cat, Tonto.  Also refusing:  Cary, Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier and  Frank Sinatra.  Carney got the job - and the Oscar.
  144. Paul Newman, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s’ History Lesson,  1975. Much earlier, 1968. Grant and director Mervyn Le Roy planned their own warts-and-all study on William F "Buffalo Bill" Cody.  But it was not based on the Arthur Kopit play, The Indians. Then again, nor was Newman’s... and he’d paid $500,000 for the rights to film the play with his Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid director George Roy Hill. However, it became, as the credits put it, “Robert Altman’s Absoloutely Unique and Heroic Enterprise of Inimitable Lustre"(no critic agreed!)  and his and co-writer Alan Rudolph’s script contained hardly a word from the play.

  145. Peter Finch, Network, 1976.      
    "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore Both director Sidney Lumet and writer Paddy Chayefsky came from the golden age of US TV - and pulled no punches in detailing where the medium was going (down the drain. Indeed, their fictional USB fourth network became, well, Fox.  After tenuous thoughts about real TV News anchors (John Chancellor and the venerable Walter Cronkite),Paddy had a wish list of real actors  for the unhinged news anchor Howard Beale: Henry Fonda  found it “too hysterical” (his daughter Jane was up for Faye Dunaway’s Oscar-winning role), Glenn Ford,  Cary Grant, Gene Hackman, William Holden (he played news exec  Max Schumacher, instead), Walter  Matthau, Paul Newman, James Stewart (appalled by the script’s bad language!). Plus George C Scott , who refused because he had once been “offended” by Lumet! (Yet his final film was Lumet’s final film, Gloria, 1998).   Lumet had just the one name - and this proved to be Finchy’s farewell, winning the fjrst posthumous Best Actor Oscar. Lumet was with Peter when he died. They were in the Beverly Hills Hotel, awaiting  a joint interview,  when  Finch collapsed and died soon after in hospital, never regaining consciousness from his heart attack.  His performance won the first posthumous acting Oscar. (Ironically, the second was also for an Aussie, Heath Ledger, for The Dark Knight... 33 years later).

  146. Gregory Peck, MacArthur, 1977.      On producer Frank McCarthy's (very) short list. As already explained to Mazursky (and others), retired really meant retired. But nobody believed him.
  147. James Mason, Heaven Can Wait, 1978.      Producer, star, co-director Warren Beatty (who refused almost as many films, as Grant; including Charade, 1963) offered Cary any fee to play Mr Jordan - God to his pals.  "Not a very good part! All those long speeches and none of the jokes. Claude [Rains]  pulle dit off in the original    - he was good, but it's not really a very good part," he told Peter Bogdanovich, when Beatty asked him to direct.As noted in #23,   Broadway producer Jed Harris wanted to film Harry Segal’s play with Cary in 1940 - instead of Robert Montgomery).
  148. Robert Wagner, Hart To Hart, TV, 1979-1996.    As if Cary needed TV! When Sidney Sheldon's Double Twist couplewere both spies, the obviousinitial choice for the role of Jonathan Hart was Cary. However, he75 years old and had long retired. Wagner (like Sean Connery) was among the fewHollywoodianswho looked at homein black tie as much as Grant did.
  149. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.      Among many considered for the drunk lawyer: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Frank Sinatra... Cary was hardly likely to comeback and ruin his impeccable image.  Watching it in 2019  for the 100th time, George Clooney was attracted to Newman’s  image.  "That is a proper big-time, world-class movie star saying to the world: ‘I’m a character actor now.’ He busted his ass. And you couldn’t make that as a film now. Not like that. The films that you used to get - Three Days of the Condor and those kind of films - you couldn’t make now. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would be hard to make, because the guys die in it."


                                                                                                                   >>> Tributes


Peter Bogdanovich spoke for us all: "I always wished he hadn’t stopped."

Burt Reynolds also loved him. “Nobody understood what the hell that accent was. I don’t think he did, but it was wonderful.”

Charton Heston immensely admired Grant and longed to work with him. “Because he always did those films where you stand around in beautiful clothes, saying beautiful things to a beautiful woman. It’s always seemed like a fine way to make a living. Of course, the trick is being able to do it the way Grant did.” Exactly!







































Copyright © 2022 Crawley's Casting Calls. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.