Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cary Grant's Advice to His "Son" Lance Hutton

This installment in our continuing series of vintage movie magazine articles is a fascinating piece from the April 1960 issue of "Movie Life". Author Stephanie Edwards interviewed (?) Cary Grant to ask him what advice he would give his son for his upcoming marriage to Jill St. John. Here is the article in its entirety for your perusal : 

Cary Grant's Advice to His "Son" 

Sixteen years ago, Cary Grant had a son! During his four-year marriage to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, Cary was a "father" for the first - and only - time in his life. The boy was actually Barbara's seven-year-old son from  her former marriage. Though he has now been married three times, Cary has never had another son. 

Today, Cary's stepson has grown up. His name is Lance Reventlow, a name nearly as well-known as his famous stepfather's, for Lance is a millionaire in his own right and a successful sports-car racer. 

"I like to race 'em, and I like to build 'em," Lance explains. "I've got a company, the Reventlow Automobile Corporation, a few good friends are in the business, and I think we can make a go of it."

But things haven't always gone as smoothly for "the world's richest baby." He became the pawn in a series of legal battles between his parents, fabled Barbara Hutton and handsome European playboy Count Kurt von Haugwitz Reventlow. From the age of two, Lance was awarded first to one parent, then another! Finally, he was made a ward of the court and learned to live with headlines - and heartaches. 

But now Lance is happily in love with beautiful starlet Jill St. John and is about to marry - for the first time. His ex-stepfather, Cary Grant, offers some paternal advice - from one man-of-the-world to another! 

  •  "The most important thing is to be yourself," Cary emphasizes.
  •  " Live - if you can - with a certain amount of grace. This is a thing that very few people do these days."
  • "Respect women because they are wiser than men."
  • "Do whatever is your inclination at the moment if it doesn't hurt or offend anyone else.
  • "Suspect people. You can't rely on them. They either die or disappoint you, or you them."
  • "One can't be content with one's sure thing and progress"
  • "Deplore your mistakes. Regret them as much as you like. But don't really expect to learn from them."
  • "If there is no cream, you might as well learn to like your coffee black."
  • "Learn how to be unhappy. If you have never been unhappy you cannot possibly know what happiness is."
  • "Have integrity. You can live with a little more respect for the world and for yourself if you do." 

Pausing for breath after what was virtually a ten-point design for living, Cary ran his hand over his silver-flecked hair. Though he is now 55, the greying at his temples is the only visible testimony to his age. A former acrobat, he keeps his 6'1" - 172 pound frame in trim with daily workouts and massages. 

During the period of his marital break-up with Betsy Drake, he tried to whip his thoughts into shape as well. Weekly sessions with a psychiatrist have resulted in a new assessment of the bad luck which dogged him through three marriages. 

"I don't believe in bad luck. People make their own luck. The best way to solve any problem," Cary continued, his brown eyes twinkling, "is to lie down on the floor and forget it. If the problem doesn't solve itself, you can deal with it just as easily next Tuesday."

Is this just Cary's way of saying that too much compulsive speed makes for heartbreak? His first marriage, also to an actress, Virginia Cherrill, was one of the "marry in haste, repent at leisure" variety. 

Jill and Lance, however, have known each other for a year now, and feel that they have a good deal in common, from sports to a love of the arts. 

"I found great difficult in sustaining a conversation with an actress until I met Jill, " says Lance. 

"I like to be with him, " volunteers Jill, "because he's cultured, intelligent, and brilliant. He knows books, art, music - and how to cook!"

Money problems will certainly never plague Lance,  due to a variety of interests he shares with Jill: he has a sense of humor about life - and about himself and the stories that have grown up about him. A thoughtful young man, he has spent a long time thinking out and talking over problems that all young married couples, however glamorous, have to face. With Cary's advice to guide him, Lance has the benefit of many years of experience - and observation - and the long point of view. 

As Cary says, "Jot down your ideas of life, love, sex and morality every two years. At the end of ten years reread your notes. If you have grown as a person, they'll be the most embarrassing bundle of inconsistencies you could ever imagine!"


One really could not expect Lance Reventlow to listen to his step-father's advice, considering Cary Grant had so many failed marriages of his own, but he must have followed his guidelines faithfully ( or ignored them entirely ) for Lance's marriage to Jill St. John broke up within three years with St. John citing "extreme cruelty" as the reason for divorce. Lance married former Mouseketeer Cheryl Holdridge a year later and that union lasted until his death in an airplane crash in 1972 at the age of 36. 

To find more stories like this, check out the other posts in our series - Movie Magazine Articles. Enjoy! 

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