TCM remembers Cary Grant on his birthday

Iconic actor’s special day is marked by TCM

Cary Grant and Laraine Day

Cary Grant was in a league of his own, even if his self-deprecation suggested he might not have seen it that way.

One of the most legendary of all film stars was born in 1904 on Jan. 18, and Turner Classic Movies will use much of that date Tuesday for a birthday salute to an actor who was as solid as a dramatic figure as he was as a lighthearted rogue … sometimes evoking both personalities within the same role.

“I see aspects of Dad in every film,” actress-author daughter Jennifer Grant told this writer several years ago. “There isn’t one film that I think best embodies him, but his films were all made before I was born. He had retired by then, so he wore a different hat.

“In his earlier films, he’s very much the charming bachelor. He was good-looking throughout his life, but he was just playing a different role as a father. I didn’t see the romantic lead around the house; I saw the guy who was making the bed with me and making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and reading ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ He had plenty of charm to throw in there, but it was a different sort of thing.”

Also the daughter of actress Dyan Cannon, Grant explained of her father, “There was a certain vulnerability he had with me, his child, a certain lilt in his voice and a certain joy. I don’t necessarily see that in his films. I might see a glimpse, but at home, all masks were removed.”

In the order they’ll be shown, here’s a look at the films in TCM’s Cary Grant birthday salute.

“Destination Tokyo” (1943): Released while World War II still was raging, this tense drama stars Grant as the captain of a Japan-destined American submarine.

“Every Girl Should Be Married” (1948): A pediatrician (Grant) becomes the romantic target of a saleswoman (Betsy Drake, who married Grant in real life afterward).

“Gunga Din” (1939): Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. star in this adventure classic as military men assisted by a would-be soldier (Sam Jaffe).

“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (1948): Grant is Mr. Blandings, and indeed, he wants a country home built just the way he desires it.

Cary Grant stars in “Mr. Lucky,” part of Turner Classic Movies’ birthday tribute to him Tuesday.

“Mr. Lucky” (1943): A gambler (Grant) adopts an alias in a bid to spirit money away from a charity.

“The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (1947): A womanizer (Grant) attracts a much-younger admirer (Shirley Temple) in this Sidney Sheldon-written comedy.

“North by Northwest” (1959): In one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies, Grant plays a businessman mistaken for a spy and forced to run for his life… all the way to Mount Rushmore, in a hugely famous and effective climactic sequence.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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