Some Things About Cary Grant...and Randolph Scott


1932: Grant and Scott are either living together at the time of this article, or very close to it. By 1935, there are photographs and other indications that they are involved in the gay and lesbian social scene in Hollywood. [William J. Mann, "Behind the Screen," 2001] Clark Gable, on the other hand, had one drunken night in 1929 of being seduced by William Haines, an openly gay star, and was not happy about it. Ten years later, in 1939, he had George Cukor (also openly gay, and a friend of Haines', as were Grant and Scott) removed as the director of "Gone With the Wind," stating, "I can't go on with this picture. I won't be directed by a fairy. I have to work with a real man." All because someone remarked, at a party during filming, that George was directing "one of Billy's tricks" and the story flew around Hollywood. [Patrick McGilligan, "A Double Life: George Cukor", referenced in Murray]
I find the subtext in this article rather interesting.



1935: Cary Grant was encouraged to marry in 1934. The disastrous marriage ended a year later--Grant had tried to commit suicide after only a few months. His wife stated in her complaint that he had been drunk and sullen for the duration. After the divorce, Grant went back to live with Scott. [Mann, "Behind the Screen"] They are pictured here at their Malibu beach house in 1935.
Mr. Blackwell, as Dick Ellis, spent a few months living with Grant and Scott. He said in his memoirs that he considered them, "deeply, madly in love, their devotion complete...Behind closed doors they were warm, kind, loving and caring, and unembarrassed about showing it." [Blackwell, "From Rags to Bitches," referenced in Mann.]
Raymond Murray, in his encyclopedia of gay and lesbian cinema, quotes Carole Lombard: "Good friend Carole Lombard made a near-legendary comment on both their union and Cary's well-known frugality: 'Their relationship is perfect. Randy pays the bills, and Cary mails them.'" [Murray, "Images in the Dark," 1996]



1940: The only movie they were in together, "My Favorite Wife," with Irene Dunne. By this time, the Grant-Scott cohabitation had been permanently dissolved, with more encouragement from the studios and marriages for both. They remained lifelong friends. I include these photos because when I first saw this film, around age 17, I was pretty confused by the dynamics between the two men. They were supposed to be "fighting over" Irene Dunne (it's a long and vaguely complicated plot about Dunne having been lost on a desert island, now returned...) but Grant and Scott just didn't seem to have enough hostility behind their fascination with each other. I had no idea at the time, of course, that they had been lovers, nor would I have even understood what that meant. Someone said to me, upon hearing my memories, "Well, I bet what you were seeing was the chemistry between them. The camera always picks that up." I think she's right.
               


There are other references to Grant and Scott in William Mann's book, "Behind the Screen:" A 1933 profile in Modern Screen, written by gay journalist Ben Maddox, showed the two men in the house they shared, and used various code words to describe them to gay readers. One photo of the spread had both men in matching aprons, which heterosexual columnists snidely remarked upon and had the studios a tad bit upset about (sarcasm intended). A letter found in Hedda Hopper's personal papers, in which she blasted Look magazine for their profile of Grant, extolling his appeal to women ("Whom does he think he's fooling? He started with the boys and now he's gone back to them.").

Click here to see photos from the Modern Screen profile as an auto-scrolling slide show

And an addendum, if one could call it that, to Cary Grant and Randolph Scott's lifelong friendship, taken from Grant's biography, "Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart," by Roy Moseley and Charles Higham. Mr. Mosely interviewed the maitre d' at the Beverly Hillcrest Hotel. The maitre d' saw both actors in the 1970s, sitting in the back of the restaurant, after the place had emptied. They were holding hands.

As I said in my Live Journal entry, "A Cautionary Tale," looking at past lives led in the closet is a way of caring about what will happen in the future. Because nobody should have to leave the person they love, simply to pacify those who are frightened.

Thanks to Donna Moore for the scanned image of the 1932 article. The 1935 photo is public domain, I believe, as I found any number of copies of it around the internet, none with attribution or copyright.

Email me

Return to the Law&Order slash index