Cary Grants daughter: I doubt he was into men, but Ill never know
Of all the Old Hollywood leading men, my two favorites are Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant. If you haven’t seen his movies, Cary Grant comes across like this incredibly suave, debonair guy. And he is rather debonair. But the magic of Cary is that he’s a great comedian. He never takes himself too seriously onscreen. He wears his elegance lightly and gives off an effortless vibe. There have long been rumors that Cary was gay. He lived with another actor, Randolph Scott, on and off for twelve years, and some people believe they had a relationship. He was also married five times, which doesn’t prove anything one way or another but is good context. His only daughter, Jennifer Grant, has consistently denied these rumors for years. Jennifer was asked about it again recently because she’s producing a TV series about her dad, Archie, for ITV, a British TV channel. She is continuing to insist that her dad was not gay–but she also includes the caveat that she ultimately will never know.
“If you’re around your parents a lot, you see them in ways that almost no one else does. And I never saw a hint of that,” said Jennifer, 57. “I think I would have picked up on it — not that I would’ve cared.”
“But I have to speak the truth of the matter: Dad was charming, and he had great friendships, but he wasn’t flirtatious with men,” she continued. “A friend of mine sent me a picture the other day of Gregory Peck, my father and Mervyn LeRoy, and they’re good buddies. But I never got that hint.”
Said Jennifer, “Perhaps earlier in his life he had an affair [with a man]. I’ll never know, but if he did, fantastic. I hope he enjoyed it.”
This is what Jennifer wrote in her 2011 memoir: “Can’t blame men for wanting him, and wouldn’t be surprised if Dad even mildly flirted back. When the question arises, it generally speaks more about the person asking. … Dad somewhat enjoyed being called gay. He said it made women want to prove the assertion wrong.”
I personally think there’s probably something to the rumors, though it remains a matter of dispute among Grant’s biographers. But I also think we should not try to make definitive claims about the sexuality of a person who is a) long dead and b) wouldn’t have been able to come out until after they retired. If for argument’s sake Cary was gay or bisexual, being open about it could have ended his career. I also think that coming out is a deeply personal thing, and people should do it in a way that feels right for them, and maybe that means they don’t want to come out at all. It should be completely and totally that person’s choice when and how to come out. Cary was notoriously private and discreet and grew up in a different time. If he was queer, he might have chosen to keep it to himself when he was retired just because he believed it was nobody else’s business. That’s why I’ll never definitively say that Cary (or any celebrity from that time) was gay if he didn’t say it himself, and all we have to go on is speculation. It feels like I’d be taking something from him–his right to come out in the way he chooses–that he didn’t really get in his own lifetime. I’ll finish off by encouraging everyone to watch Cary’s movie Bringing Up Baby if you haven’t already. No matter how sad I am, it never fails to make me laugh.
Photos credit: STARSTOCK/Photoshot Avalon, Photoshot/Avalon, Holland/Avalon
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