The Cary Grant Gay Factor

"I'm going to suggest something radical: We'll never know whether Grant was or was not gay, and it does not matter. What matters was that his image, for all its perfection, also had its points of flexibility -- living intimately with a man for long stretches of time, doing cute man things together -- that leaves the possibility open. Grant made millions of women swoon, and millions of straight men aspire to his likeness. But he also provided thousands of queer audience members with the hope that famous, successful, high-profile performers and homosexuality were not mutually exclusive, further suggesting straight, high-class masculinity as an elaborate masquerade." [The Hairpin]


  • Andrew says:

    If it doesn't matter then why are they having the discussion to begin with.

    • B Jezza says:

      It is funny how sexuality can not be discussed, because some take offence, Yet many actors careers are based on playing sexy characters. Is it fraudulent to be known in film and in your personal life as a lady's man and make millions as the brand while actually being the opposite? Or do we just call that good acting? Regardless I love his films, but I think sometimes that to some film goers, and people who buy 'those magazines' that a brand based on a lie can seem a little deceitful, or profitable ...

  • You might want to read the piece.

  • Andrew says:

    Okay, read it.
    I feel that contrary to the section you quoted, the author goes out of her way to prove POINTS with all capitol letters.
    Putting his (almost) entire acting career through a prism of "was he or wasn't he" and then trying to have it both ways with that closing paragraph, "but it totally doesn't matter you guys..."
    So again...if it doesn't matter...why is she talking about it?
    And no mention at all of Arsenic and Old Lace? Heresy.

  • The point isn't necessarily that it doesn't matter if Cary Grant is gay or not, but rather that the historical preoccupation with his sexuality a) has impacted our perception of his work and b) culminates the understanding -- or at least this author's understanding, in 2011 -- that it really doesn't matter.
    If nothing else, we're in agreement about the capital letters!

  • Capote99 says:

    Wow, this essay is written in a REALLY annoying style. But I must point out, as someone who LOVES "Notorious," that Ingrid Bergman DOES NOT play "a nerdy doctor." In fact, she pretty much plays a drunk tramp. I think Ms. Petersen is confusing it with "Spellbound," which didn't even star Grant but Gregory Peck.

  • Charles says:

    So then he was sorta like Laurence Olivier?
    Actually, I've been hearing those rumors for ages, so for me there's nothing new in that piece. And my love for Grant's screen persona remains undiminished after all these years.
    And now, let's hear some stories about Rock Hudson.

  • Goleft says:

    I havent seen a lot of Cary's films, but what I have seen obviously shows him to be incredibly charismatic. I think some people reading this blog are seeing it through a prism of homophobia .. while it doesnt really matter what the author thinks, to suggest a provocative piece. What I parrallel it with is in music we have obvious gay icons like George Michael and Fredy Mercury who will always outshine their sexually because of raw talent. In fact I still know some ex girlfriends who still consider George as one of the sexiest men of all time, regardless of his orientation. His songs still stand up to most people who liked them in the first place. And like with Cary, where we dont even know for sure .. his acting will always come first in most people's minds.

  • Steve Belgard says:

    As the author says, "it doesn't matter." Archie rocks (with apologies to Mr. Hudson). The man was "The Man." His style, his image, his acting. his sauveness - will forever be timeless. And what about Randolph Scott? RANDOLPH SCOTT? As Mel Brooks did in his Scott tribute in "Blazing Saddles," he was very cool as well and fun to watch on screen. Cary Grant? They'll never be another one like him - just pretenders to the throne.