In her new book, "Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant" Jennifer Grant remembers her father the way only a daughter could. She gives a behind-the-scenes look at her superstar father, detailing the way he cared lovingly for her and their family.
In my father's later years he asked several times that I remember him the way I knew him. He said that after his death, people would talk. They would say "things" about him and he wouldn't be there to defend himself. He beseechingly requested that I stick to what I knew to be true, because I truly knew him. I promised him I would. I've easily kept that oath. Although many books about him have been published, I've read none. Not out of a lack of interest. I'm sure there are some wonderful things I could learn about my father, but most likely more misconceptions than are worth weeding through. To me, he was like a marvelous painting. All the art historians wish to break down the motives, and the scheme, and so on. I would rather know, as I do, his essence. I believe that at the heart of a person lies passion. For the last twenty years of his life, I was given the extraordinary privilege to experience the full, vital passion of his heart. Dad used the expression "good stuff" to declare happiness or, as one of his friends put it, he said it when pleased with the nature of things. He said it a lot. He had a happy way of life. His life was "good stuff."
Just after my father's death, I graduated from Stanford. My senior year I had worked as an intern at an advocacy firm in San Francisco. My plan was to take a job with this same firm and later move on to law school. When Dad died I shifted gears in ten seconds flat. I felt pulled, in an almost subterranean way, home to Los Angeles. Why? If Dad came home, that's where he'd be. Have I been waiting for Dad to come home all these years?
At some level it's still hard for me to admit that my father died. I can talk about it and around it, but those two words. "He died." What can that possibly mean? That I won't get to hear his voice again? That's not true; I have movies, I have all his taped conversations with me, I have pictures, I have slides. . . . I even have one of his sweaters in my closet. If I remember well enough, he will come back. He'll appear, out of thin air, at my door or in my living room, and we'll laugh and we'll hug and we'll talk and we'll hold hands, and maybe he can hold the baby while I make lunch for him. After all, he's a grandfather now. There's so much playing to be done. Watch out, baby Cary may pull your hair, Dad. And my dog, Oliver, is named after our mutual nickname, Ollie. In a Cockney accent we could greet each other with, " 'ello Ollie! 'ow ya' doin', Ollie?" Oliver and baby Cary will look at us sideways, and then my father will never leave again.