26 February 2015

You are indeed a dear, Audrey

The first time Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn met was at a dinner arranged by Stanley Donen, who was the director of their only film together "Charade" (1963). Donen described their meeting in "Audrey Hepburn: A Biography" (by Warren G. Harris (1994)): "I arranged a dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paris. Audrey and I arrived first. Cary came in, and Audrey stood up and said, 'I'm so nervous.' He said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Meeting you, working with you - I'm so nervous.' And he said, 'Don't be nervous, for goodness' sake. I'm thrilled to know you. Here, sit down at the table. Put your hands on the table, palms up, put your head down and take a few deep breaths.' We all sat down, and Audrey put her hands on the table. I had ordered a bottle of red wine. When she put her head down, she hit the bottle, and the wine went all over Cary's cream-colored suit. Audrey was humiliated. People at other tables were looking, and everybody was buzzing. It was a horrendous moment. Cary was a half hour from his hotel, so he took off his coat and comfortably sat through the whole meal like that." [via]

With their unfortunate first meeting behind them, the two stars discovered they loved working together once the filming of "Charade" had started. In fact, they loved working with each other so much that Cary Grant reportedly said after filming: "All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn". Grant never got his wish, unfortunately, but he and Audrey would have -what Audrey called- "an unspoken friendship" for the rest of their lives. 

On 16 May 1982, Cary Grant received The Man of the Year Award at the Friars Club in New York. Prior to the event, Audrey had sent him a letter that she was unable to come. This is the reply Grant sent her a month later:


29th June, 1982

Dear, dear Audrey
And you are indeed a dear, Audrey.

How kind of you to trouble to send me a letter explaining your inability to be in New York on May 16th. How thoughtful. How considerate; and how envious am I, who so uncleverly manage to cultivate no such qualities. I dread writing thank-you notes. I still owe letters of love and appreciation to those who, like you, unselfishly came to the Kennedy Centre last year. Excuses, excuses.

Ah, well. You were greatly missed at that gala Friars banquet. It was quite a memorable evening. A four-tiered dais on which you, star-bright you, would have shone the brightest.

Barbara and I send our fond, warm, loving and happy thoughts.

Cary (signed)

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