<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> When in Rome<BR> “Cary who?” I said. I was sure I’d heard wrong.<BR> “Cary Grant.”<BR> “Cary Grant the actor?”<BR> “No, Cary Grant the rodeo clown. Yes, silly, it’s Cary Grant <BR> the actor.”<BR> “What does he want?” I asked.<BR> Addie Gould heaved a theatrical sigh that could’ve carried <BR> from Los Angeles to Rome, even without the phone. This was <BR> back in the days when your agent could be your trusted friend, <BR> or vice versa, and for me, Addie was both. She had my best <BR> interests in mind personally and professionally. At that moment, <BR> Addie was firmly planted in the realm of wheels and deals while <BR> I was hovering in a pink cloud over Rome like a dove in a Renaissance<BR> painting. She must have felt like she was talking to a rather <BR> simple-minded child. Cary Grant had asked to meet me. He was <BR> Cary Grant, and if he wanted to meet you, you didn’t ask questions-<BR> especially if you were a young actress trying to work your <BR> way up in Hollywood.<BR> I wasn’t really as flighty or as indifferent as my words might <BR> suggest, though. It was just that at that moment, I wasn’t going to <BR> leave Rome for anything less than a guaranteed part, and a good <BR> one. In Hollywood, “meet-and-greets” are a fact of life. There’s <BR> nothing wrong with them, and they’re important for keeping <BR> yourself on the radar, but they don’t necessarily lead to anything <BR> substantial. I was having the time of my life, and if somebody <BR> wanted me to interrupt it, I wanted name, rank, and serial number.<BR> “Dyan, it’s Cary Grant. It’s about a part in a movie.”<BR> “What’s the movie?”<BR> “It doesn’t matter. When Mr. Grant requests a meeting, we <BR> hurry home.”<BR> “Is he paying my way?” I asked, sticking to my guns.<BR> Maybe another person would have rushed to the airport and <BR> boarded the next flight to Los Angeles, or maybe not. It was autumn <BR> of 1961. I was in my early twenties. I was in Rome right when <BR> Fellini’s La Dolce Vita had cast Rome as the most glamorous place on <BR> earth. I was living a fairy tale, and Cary Grant was just another <BR> knight of the realm who could take a number and wait his turn.<BR> Addie persisted. I dug in my heels. “We are talking about Cary <BR> Grant,” she said.<BR> “I know who Cary Grant is,” I replied. We were talking about <BR> Cary Grant the movie star, the matinee idol, the greatest leading <BR> man of the day. Yes, that Cary Grant.<BR> The word “icon” has been hopelessly devalued over the years, <BR> but Cary Grant was exactly that and more. More than an actor, <BR> really. Cary Grant was glamour. Cary Grant was charm. Cary <BR> Grant was class, intelligence, refinement. Women hardly dared to <BR> fantasize that such a combination of warmth, wit, and dash would <BR> walk into their lives. Men who took a page from his playbook <BR> came to believe in the power of being a gentleman. Cary Grant <BR> made manners, civility, and style as thrilling as Humphrey Bogart <BR> made a good pistol-whipping.<BR> He’d starred in about a bazillion movies, including three of my <BR> all-time favorites: An Affair to Remember, with Deborah Kerr (a <BR> five-hankie weeper); Indiscreet, with Ingrid Bergman; and, at the <BR> top of my list, Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.<BR> But that still wasn’t enough. “I’m sure Mr. Grant will still be <BR> there when I get back,” I said. “If I ever decide to go back.” There <BR> was a knock at my door. “Oops,” I said. “Gotta go ...” I hung <BR> up and opened the door and Charles Fawcett—we all called him <BR> “Charlie”—stepped through, kissing me on both cheeks.<BR> “You ready?” he asked.<BR> “I need a minute,” I said. “I was just on the line with my agent. <BR> She wants me to fly back to Los Angeles to meet Cary Grant.”<BR> “For a movie?” Charlie asked.<BR> “That’s what she says.”<BR> “If he’s going to cast you in something, it’s worth the trip. But <BR> if it’s just a get acquainted kind of thing, let him wait.”<BR> I loved Charlie Fawcett. I had met him two months earlier in <BR> a remote Portuguese fishing village, on the set of a low budget <BR> movie that I’ve done my best to forget. It was my second movie; <BR> my first was The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, about jewel thieves <BR> in Prohibition era New York, and that film, along with a string <BR> of television credits, had led to the job in Portugal. Alas, we all <BR> knew from the start that we weren’t making a masterpiece, but <BR> the bright side was that we all relaxed about it and had fun. We <BR> all lived in the same bed and breakfast, started the morning with <BR> good food and strong coffee, laughed our way through our morning<BR> table read, then went off to make the best of another day of <BR> second-rate film making.<BR> I fell in love with Charlie by the end of that first week. He was <BR> a good actor who treated acting as a bit of a lark. His services were <BR> in demand, and he earned enough at it to subsidize the low key, <BR> bohemian lifestyle he enjoyed as an American expatriate in Rome. <BR> Beyond that, he didn’t attach much importance to it.<BR> Charlie was truly larger than life. In World War II, he joined <BR> the British Royal Air Force as a Hurricane pilot. He fought with <BR> the Polish army after the German invasion, and fought again for <BR> six months with the French Foreign Legion in Alsace. Then to <BR> Greece to take on the communists in the Greek Civil War. As if <BR> that weren’t enough, in the waning days of World War II, he freed <BR> a half dozen Jewish women from concentration camps by marrying<BR> and divorcing each one in rapid succession. That got them an <BR> automatic American visa and allowed them to leave France. If I <BR> had to choose one word to describe Charlie, it would be “noble.”<BR> I had a little crush on Charlie, the kind of crush that gives <BR> you a feeling of boundless emotional safety along with a little jolt <BR> of physical attraction. That makes the friendship really interesting,<BR> whether or not you act on the attraction, though it is usually <BR> better if you don’t. It’s the best type of crush, and Charlie couldn’t <BR> have agreed more.<BR> “My favorite kind,” he once told me. “Let’s try to make it last.”<BR> Charlie was a man of experience, a man of the world, and I was <BR> a spirited Jewish girl from Seattle, barely past college age, who’d <BR> had sex only once in her life (though it was so inept, I’m not sure it <BR> even qualified). Charlie was the rare man who placed more value <BR> on the unspoiled fabric of our friendship than he did on a night of <BR> tangled sheets and awkward “see you later”s. I think he sensed my <BR> innocence and figured there’d be enough contenders to relieve me <BR> of it without his joining in.<BR> <p> <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Dear Cary</b> by <b>Dyan Cannon</b> Copyright © 2011 by Dyan Cannon. Excerpted by permission of IT Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.