In Book, Dyan Cannon Opens Up About Cary Grant

From the moment Grant saw the Tacoma, Wash., native on the TV show "Malibu Run," he knew he wanted to be with her. Once they met, Grant swept her off her feet, and they had a whirlwind relationship, much to the dismay of her father.

Cannon wanted more, though. She wanted marriage. She wanted a family. Grant, who had already been married three times, made it clear that he no longer believed in marriage. Cannon tried on several occasions to walk away since he wasn't going to fulfill her dreams, but she couldn't deny her feelings.

Then she became pregnant with his only child. Eventually Grant proposed, and they wed on July 22, 1965. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born seven months later, but it wasn't the fairytale Cannon had in mind.

Cannon's pregnancy and the birth of Jennifer brought back painful childhood memories for Grant. When he was 10 years old, his mother disappeared. For a while he wondered why she left him. Later he was told she had died. Then at 30, his father contacted him unexpectedly and gave him the news that his mother was alive and living in a mental institution.

As Grant relived the past, he became abusive toward Cannon. He changed the way she dressed, talked and even thought. Being a proponent of LSD because he thought it brought him closer to God, he wanted the same for Cannon. Against her better judgment, she finally gave in and tried LSD about a dozen times in hopes it would make him happy and improve their failing marriage. It only destroyed her life.

Grant and Cannon divorced in 1968 and soon thereafter Cannon suffered a breakdown. For those who find themselves in a controlling relationship, Cannon says her advice would vary on the individual, but there is one thing she is certain of.

"When as a woman or a man you give your instincts -- your very thinking away -- to someone in order to make them happy, that's a no, no," she said.

Cannon, born Samile Diane Friesen, had always wanted to please. When producer Jerry Wald encouraged her to change to her last name, she did so without a second thought.

"I think that's the big thing about actors and actresses," she said. "They want to please. I wanted to make people around me happy."

Although Cannon had let go of anger years ago, writing this book taught her to trust again. She now knows when she is kidding herself and has returned to listening to the voice inside that tells her, "Hold it. I'm looking out for you."

Even though she was able to avoid drugs and alcohol, she continued to find it difficult to resist the temptations of men. She admits that she used to date three men to make one.

In 1985 Cannon married again to Stanley Finberg. They divorced five years later. Now she's stopped looking for Mr. Right because she's learned how to be happy alone. Not that she's sworn off marriage like Grant once did.

"I would like to be with someone again," she said, pausing to add, "To practice everything I've learned!"

As for Grant, she still considers him the romance of her life and believes he would enjoy her book.

"He would say, 'You silly child. Good work.' He was one of the most special people I've known in my life," she said. "Honestly, if I could love him then like I've learned to love now, I think it might have been different."

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