In 1999, when John Kennedy Jr. is President of the United States and David Eisenhower wins the National Open, when the backside of the moon is selling for $500 an acre and the Ford V80 runs on nuclear power, the leading actor in Hollywood will be Cary Grant. The man is permanent. Continents have disappeared, and great islands have exploded into the air, but Gary Grant may outlast Earth, Mercury, and the Sun itself.
He is, actually, 58. He has made 69 motion pictures, and the latestThat Touch of Minkis currently breaking box office records at the Radio City Music Hall that were set three years ago by North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant. And all this has made him so rich that he could, if he chose, join NATO. His treasury grows by roughly half a million dollars a picture. The day is probably coming when he will be taking 90% of a picture's gross, generously giving the other 10% to his producers.
Darling Janizary. He also has virtually every nickel he has ever earned. He was once seen handing a few coins to his first wife and counting them first. Some time ago, when Manhattan's Hotel Plaza sent him 1½ English muffins for breakfast, he called the head of room service and the manager and even threatened to call Owner Conrad Hilton, claiming that the menu said "muffins" and a measly 1½ did not live up to the plural.
Lean, suave, incomparably tanned, he never wears makeup and has gotten steadily better looking. More or less successfully, he spends his real life pretending he is Gary Grant. Open Paris Match, for example, and there, in all likelihood, will be a picture of him in a sexy Italian car zooming east of Nice on La Moyenne Cornichethe same route he followed with Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. He is the darling of the internationalsa janizary in Kelly's Monegasque toy palace, a captive treasure among the potentates and popinjays of the Onassis floating salon.
Being Cary Grant is such a gilded role, in fact, that all sorts of other people think they are Cary Grant, too. The most notable of these is Tony Curtis, who caricatures Grant in everything he does. He dresses like Grant, but with tighter pants; his IRT-and-crumpets accent is an attempt to sound like Grant; and he imitates Grant on the screen (Some Like It Hot}. When Curtis bought a Rolls-Royce, he gutsily made sure he got a better one than Cary's.
Homeless Archie. Grant has many apes but few friends. In Hollywoodhe has a mansion in Beverly Hillshe runs with no pack and is rarely seen at parties or premiéres. "I don't know anyone who has been to Grant's house in the last ten years," says Director Billy Wilder. Grant steadfastly insists that he has as much right to his privacy as a plumber or a municipal clerk. When people ask for his autograph he gives them an incredulous look as if they were trying to crash a party, and if some jolly clod says, "Put your John Hancock right here, Cary," he says, "My name is not John Hancock, and I have no intention of putting it anywhere." On one memorable occasion, a rebuffed fan snapped: "Who the hell do you think you are?" Grant, cool as the north wind, answered: "I know who I am. I haven't the vaguest idea who you are, and furthermore I don't care to know."