1966, the year Jennifer was born, was obviously the best year of Grant's life. He absolutely doted on his only child, and even when his marriage to her mother, actress Dyan Cannon, fell apart soon after her birth, he remained cordial. He retired from the movies to devote himself to Jennifer. If Cannon was acting in a touring stage production, he followed along to be near Jennifer. He even helped his ex-wife get the part in Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969), as he knew it would help her career--and help keep Jennifer close to him.
Through the many anecdotes and quotes that Nelson assembles the reader learns not only about Grant, but about his friends and colleagues, like Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hughes, and Katherine Hepburn. Although Evenings With Cary Grant is more of a tribute than a detailed biography, from the Rashomon-like recollections of pivotal moments in his career a real sense of the man comes through. Grant was a complex individual who was grateful for his career and success, but was always striving to discover his true essence.
Cary Grant: "If I can understand how I became who I am, I can use that to shape my life in the future. I want to live in reality. Dreams aren't for me."
A man with an insatiable curiosity, Grant became a devotee of LSD experimentation in his quest for inner peace. Nelson documents how his third wife Betsy Drake introduced Grant to LSD therapy, as well as his friends' positive and negative opinions about his forays with the drug.
Evenings With Cary Grant is a thoroughly enjoyable look into the life of one of the biggest stars to have ever come out of Hollywood. Grant and his movies are still widely enjoyed today, and this selection of quotes from the actor and his contemporaries is a wonderful glimpse into Hollywood's glittering past.
Images from top: Archie Leach in Hollywood, Cary Grant at the peak of his stardom, Grant with newborn daughter Jennifer.