I love Cary Grant. Even the name has to be pronounced in full if you are to appreciate the elegance with which he was able to portray his character(s).
However, in recent discussions with my more biz-savvy friends, I discovered that apparently this guy was a legendary tight-ass, and “tight” doesn’t begin to describe it.
Here’s a guy who was apparently charging 15 cents in a local newspaper for getting autographs. WTF??? He was already a very wealthy actor. The studio would have taken care of his expenses. But even those guys didn’t know about it. At first they thought the thing was a hoax and called the authorities in (can’t have a famous movie icon’s rep besmurched), however in time they realized to thier disgust (yeah, think about it, movie producers) that it was all true. Good old Archibald was up to his old tricks again.
They also tell me that he regularly “stole” the costumes (namely suits) that the production studios “lent” him. You were expected to give those back but stocks of 'em just went missing when Archie was around. Also Marc (film buff) tells me they actually had to chain up some of the rolls of suits they had on those racks before the end of shooting, else our lovable rogue would have made off with them. I think he may be pulling my leg with this one.
Other stories I heard were that in one such movie (forgive me for the vagueness ICR which – blame that on me and not my sources) the studio thought it would be a good idea to try and set Cary up on a date with his opposite leading lady. Was she in for a treat. After they had finished thier meal, Cary charged the price of the meal to the studio’s account (as was his usual custom). But the account had dried up and the restaurant firmly held the money had to be paid there and then in some fashion. Cary simply refused to pay. This so disgusted his opposite number that in the end she had to fork over the money. Needless to say, they weren’t going for a candelight to Paris after that (if they did, Cary Grant certainly wasn’t gonna fund it).
Others include him marking his milk bottles (red tops), skapin his rent and general stingy-ness. The list’s too long to go into.
A friendly Google shows me that it’s not all entirely bull-crap either (the story 'bout the 25-cent-autographs seems to be valid). But I can’t find much specific info on details regarding his stinginess. I want corroborated evidence people. I wanna get to the bottom of this.
The only thing else I can say is I think it strikes me as kinda annoying. Partly because I think unlike many stars of today, Cary Grant was known for being… well, Cary Grant. He was the cool, smooth operator that the audience wanted him to be, and he played up to the part really well.
Now whenever I see him in Notorious (one of my fave films BTW) or The Philadelphia Story, I can’t help but burst into fits of laughter. It really pisses me off.