<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> When in Rome<BR> Cary who? I said. I was sure Id heard wrong.<BR> Cary Grant.<BR> Cary Grant the actor?<BR> No, Cary Grant the rodeo clown. Yes, silly, its Cary Grant <BR> the actor.<BR> What does he want? I asked.<BR> Addie Gould heaved a theatrical sigh that couldve 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 didnt ask questions-<BR> especially if you were a young actress trying to work your <BR> way up in Hollywood.<BR> I wasnt really as flighty or as indifferent as my words might <BR> suggest, though. It was just that at that moment, I wasnt 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. Theres <BR> nothing wrong with them, and theyre important for keeping <BR> yourself on the radar, but they dont 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, its Cary Grant. Its about a part in a movie.<BR> Whats the movie?<BR> It doesnt 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> Fellinis 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> Hed 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 Hitchcocks North by Northwest.<BR> But that still wasnt enough. Im 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 Fawcettwe all called him <BR> Charliestepped 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> Thats what she says.<BR> If hes going to cast you in something, its worth the trip. But <BR> if its 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 Ive 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 werent 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 didnt 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 werent 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 dont. Its the best type of crush, and Charlie couldnt <BR> have agreed more.<BR> My favorite kind, he once told me. Lets 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, whod <BR> had sex only once in her life (though it was so inept, Im 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 laters. I think he sensed my <BR> innocence and figured thered 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. 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