Cary Grant earned the title of film icon through a legacy of classic movies, his imitable but not duplicable mid-Atlantic accent, pratfalls honed from years in vaudeville, and the best comedic double take in the business. And like most film icons, he’s been the focus of a variety of posthumous rumors, the most persistent being that the five-time husband was gay. Other Hollywood stars like Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson hid their sexuality from the movie-going public, so the idea that Grant too had a secret life isn’t without precedent.
But his daughter Jennifer says it is unfounded. In her memoir, Good Stuff, which hits bookstores today, Grant begins by acknowledging that while “there are interesting misconceptions about Dad,” she will “leave these misconceptions to themselves.” For the most part she does—and the large majority of the book is not about Grant’s role as a Hollywood figure, but as a retiree and loving father. However, she does dedicate a few pages in the middle of the book to addressing all those Tinseltown whisperings about her father’s orientation, although she doesn’t go into specifics or even mention his foremost alleged partner, fellow actor Randolph Scott, in the passage.
Grant dismisses the suggestion, saying it is preposterous, but understandable. “Can’t blame men for wanting him,” she writes. “And wouldn’t be surprised if Dad even mildly flirted back. […] Dad somewhat enjoyed being called gay. He said it made women want to prove the assertion wrong.” She does leave open the possibility that her father wasn’t exclusively heterosexual: “Did Dad ever experiment sexually? I don’t know. Have I ever experimented sexually? Have you? If experimentation makes one gay, then my guess is that most of the world is gay.”