oward Hawks: who directed the popular Bringing Up Baby,
His Girl Friday, Only Angels Have Wings, I was a Male War
Bride, and the not-so-popular Monkey Business.
George Stevens: the
director of Penny Serenade, Talk of the Town and Gunga
Leo McCarey: who directed The
Awful Truth and An Affair to Remember.
George Cukor: who directed Holiday,
Philadelphia Story and Sylvia Scarlett.
And, of course, Alfred
Hitchcock: who made Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a
Thief and North by Northwest.
Each of those directors
permitted me the release of improvisation during the
rehearsing of each scene — rather in the manner that
Dave Brubeck’s musical group improvises on the central
theme, never losing sight of the original mood, key or
rhythm, no matter how far out they go. The above directors
permitted me to discover how far out I could go
with confidence, while guided by their quiet, sensitive
directorial approval. I am deeply indebted to each of them
for their permission. And their patience.
Stanley Donen: the young
director with whom I formed the Grandon Company, which
produced Indiscreet and The Grass Is Greener.
Recently he proffered the irresistible bait of Audrey
Hepburn in the leading feminine role of Charade;
and a promise that Peter Stone, its author, would rewrite
the central characters in a way that would bridge the wide
difference between Audrey’s age mine. That’s going to
be some bridge. We’re making the picture, as I write
these words, in Paris — where, in testimony to
Stanley’s persuasiveness, I shall spend a chilly winter
missing the warm Palm Springs desert and the home and
horses I enjoy there. Stanley and I disagree about many
points of picture-making, but no disagreement disturbs our
mutual regard. Someone once said that if two partners in
business are in constant agreement one of them is
Because their names are so
often exploited, I find myself reluctant to include
Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. But they’re
the most attractive couple I know — young and mature,
gay and serious, indulgent yet protective parents of two
unusually beautiful children. When I’m in their company,
my pleasure places a perpetual grin on my face. Grace
keeps fondly in touch with friends she made in Hollywood,
before leaving such an unfillable vacancy in the ranks of
our leading stars, and her husband, Prince Ranier, equally
shares her welcome of those same friends.
rarely been privileged to celebrate a holiday, whether
Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, with a family, but
about three years ago, Betsy and I attended a quiet Easter
Sunday service in the family chapel at Monaco. And, later,
watching the children excitedly running back and forth to
their mother and father during the traditional egg hunt, I
was suddenly caught unawares in a large wave of gladness
for being there, and sadness for a childhood I couldn’t
clearly remember or appreciate.
Grace and Rainier are
considerate, stimulating hosts, and recently, after dinner
in their unpretentious, comfortable apartment in Paris,
the conversation of our small group ranged from the
serious subject of rearing (and what more serious subject
is there than the guiding of a life?) To word games and
wince-making puns. We talked of absent friends,
particularly of David Niven and his wife Jordis, who
brighten any group anywhere. And, listening to such easy,
pleasant conversation, I thought how satisfying it is to
be accepted by these affectionate but unaffected people.
Robert Arthur: the
producer, whose offices adjoin mine and who worked so
diligently toward the tremendous box-office success of Operation
Petticoat and That Touch of Mink. He and
Stanley Shapiro, the unequaled comedy writer who wrote
both pictures, have been steadying influences to my
flights of impracticability.
And the closest to me of
all, my lawyer-manager, Stanley Fox, without whose
friendship and counsel I’d be adrift.
There are other people
whose names you might know. Mostly successful self-made
men — though, in a way, every man is self-made, I
suppose — men in politics and the garment industry, men
in sports and the financial world; and still others whose
names or the degree of our closeness you could not know,
but who will, when they read this, know that I know.
Some I see often. Some I
see seldom. Some, alas, are dead. But I still feel the
communion of their love. For all of them I’ve had
someone said that he’d never met anyone who had been
inside my home. It seemed to the interviewer, who repeated
it, that the statement signified I had no friends. Well,
it’s probably true that he didn’t know anybody who had
been inside my home, but then I don’t know anyone who
has been inside his.
I know men and women who
have dozens of people around them constantly, and not a
friend amongst them. They group together in fear and
secret dislike of one another, and when not with one
another openly gossip about one another.
There is one man whose name
I omitted in deference to his profession: the doctor who
guided me through the therapeutic ordeal of many sessions
and experiments with a hallucinogenic drug known as LSD.
Much has been written about them, and later I shall try to
describe the experiences and what have been, for me, their
Now, let me see. Where was
I in my story? ...
Oh, yes. I got the job at
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