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Cary Grant’s Only Daughter Spoke Out about His Sexuality Decades after He Shared Home with a Man Who Won 3 Oscars

Esther NJeri
Aug 07, 2022
12:30 P.M.

Throughout his life, film legend Cary Grant aroused skepticism about his sexuality, following claims that he lived and had an affair with an award-winning costume designer before he found fame. His daughter cleared the air about her father's sexuality decades after he died.

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In the '30s, it was not uncommon for men to live together. Errol Flynn and David Niven shared a home, as did James Stewart and Henry Fonda. However, neither pair garnered as much publicity from their living situation as Cary Grant and Randolph Scott.

The pair started cohabiting in 1932 when they were both up-and-coming stars at Paramount Studios. They continued living together on and off through to 1940 when they had both made enough fortune to afford a large beach house in Santa Monica.

British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), born Archibald Leach, with the American actor, Randolph Scott (1898 - 1987). | Source: Getty Images

British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), born Archibald Leach, with the American actor, Randolph Scott (1898 - 1987). | Source: Getty Images

However, unlike other roommates, Grant and Scott's relationship received so much media attention that people began speculating about a possible affair.

While theirs may have been an honest platonic relationship, the publicity campaigns around their relationship only heightened the speculation around them, and their alleged affair appeared to be a very appealing and well-documented truth.

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Their beach house often attracted crowds on Sundays when they shut down all filming and opened their doors to casual parties. But in 1934, even as rumors of his gay affair with Scott became rife, he married Virginia Cherrill.

British-American actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) with his first wife, actress Virginia Cherrill (1908 - 1996), circa 1934 | Source: Getty Images

British-American actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) with his first wife, actress Virginia Cherrill (1908 - 1996), circa 1934 | Source: Getty Images

Sadly, they divorced a year later, after which Grant had long-term relationships with actresses Phyllis Brooks and Mary Brian. Scott also settled into married life with his childhood sweetheart, the heiress Marion DuPont, and later dated Dorothy Lamour after divorcing his wife.

[Jeniffer] claims she wouldn't blame men for wanting [Grant] and would not be surprised if he flirted back.

Many commentators today look at Gary and Scott's photographs and picture a perfect and happy gay couple, but according to people who were close to them at the time, they were nothing but pals.

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GRANT GOT MARRIED FIVE TIMES

Portrait of Cary Grant in the early 1390s | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of Cary Grant in the early 1390s | Source: Getty Images

From a young age, Grant always had a passion for acting, fueled further during his Pender Troupe Tour to the US. After performing in Cleveland, Missouri, and St. Louis, the US made such a lasting impression that he decided to stay behind as the others returned to Britain.

Later he moved to Hollywood and started performing in drama and crime films and also starred in romantic comedies, including "The Awful Truth" and "Bringing Up Baby."

As a handsome, funny, and charming man, Grant began building an extensive rapport with other Hollywood actors and gained his spot as one of the great names of Hollywood's Golden Age. His charm also made him very popular among his female colleagues.

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Portrait of Cary Grant in the early 1930s | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of Cary Grant in the early 1930s | Source: Getty Images

Due to his complicated relationship with his mother, Grant fell into a toxic pattern. He would fall in love fast and obsessively, but his self-absorption and need for control would always doom his relationships.

The unsavory traits would manifest in his first marriage to Cherrill, which lasted a year before the pair parted ways. After their divorce in 1934, Grant found love again and married his second wife, heiress Barbara Hutton in 1943.

 Film star Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) with his bride the Woolworth heiress, Barbara Hutton (1912 - 1979) | Source: Getty Images

Film star Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) with his bride the Woolworth heiress, Barbara Hutton (1912 - 1979) | Source: Getty Images

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In both his marriages, the constant factor was several splits and passionate reconciliations before they finally decided to part ways for good. Barbara opened up about their marriage, saying:

"Cary is a dear. But he isn't interested in anything but his career, and after all, when you are married to a man, you must have something to talk about."

The pattern would repeat itself in his third marriage to Betsy Drake. But by the time he was marrying his fourth wife, actress Dyan Cannon, he had begun working on himself, even seeking LSD therapy for his unhealthy traits.

Cary Grant with his fourth wife actress Dyan Cannon and their daughter Jennifer in 1966 | Source: Getty Images

Cary Grant with his fourth wife actress Dyan Cannon and their daughter Jennifer in 1966 | Source: Getty Images

His marriage to Cannon also gave him his only daughter Jennifer, who he cherished and referred to as his most excellent production. Cary bragged:

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"She's the most winsome, captivating girl I've ever known, and I've known quite a few. We have an honest relationship. We level with each other."

Sadly, his marriage to Cannon ended after three years. He then married his fifth wife, Barbara, and was with her until he met his death in November 1986. Despite having five wives and a child, his life and sexuality left many unanswered questions, some of which remain a mystery to this day.

KELLY CLAIMS GRANT HID HIS TRUE SEXUALITY

Famous actor Cary Grant in the 1930s | Source: Getty Images

Famous actor Cary Grant in the 1930s | Source: Getty Images

There has been numerous speculation about Grant's sexuality since the star was a young man, and now, a documentary is out to clear any doubts surrounding the Hollywood legend.

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In addition to raising suspicion by living with Scott in the '30s, Grant reportedly lived a gay life but was forced to cover up his sexuality. A new film based on the autobiography of the acclaimed three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Orry-Kelly claims Grant was indeed gay.

Kelly says he met Grant when the young star was 21 and had not found his bearing in the film industry. Both struggling to make ends meet, they moved in and lived together for nine years before Grant moved in with Scott.

Famous actor Cary Grant in 1950 | Source: Getty Images

Famous actor Cary Grant in 1950 | Source: Getty Images

The documentary outright says that Kelly and Grant were lovers and lived in their shared New York home as any average couple would. Kelly claims that Grant only married his many wives to hide his sexuality.

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Even so, Grant denied any implications that he was gay, even suing comedian Chevy Chase for slander after he joked that the actor was homosexual.

Jennifer Grant during 11th Annual Princess Grace Awards - October 3, 1994 at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Jennifer Grant during 11th Annual Princess Grace Awards - October 3, 1994 at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images

In her 2011 memoir, the actor's only daughter, Jennifer, also refuted any claims that her dad was gay, saying that the reports were unbelievable yet understandable. She claims she wouldn't blame men for wanting him and would not be surprised if he flirted back, adding:

"Dad somewhat enjoyed being called gay. He said it made women want to prove the assertion wrong."

However, she left the possibility that her father was not exclusively heterosexual. She noted that Grant probably experimented with his sexuality, but does experimenting make him gay? "If experimentation makes one gay, then my guess is that most of the world is gay." She concluded.

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