The Curious Case of Cary and Randy

On and off for twelve years, Cary Grant and Randolph Scott shared a home on the Santa Monica beach dubbed by the publicity departments as “Bachelor Hall.” They met in 1932 on the set of Hot Saturday and formed a fast friendship… and maybe something else. Rumors raged at the time that, while rooming together in Bachelor Hall, the two were sharing more than just the rent. Certainly there are questions about the nature of the Grant/Scott relationship that remain to this day. Although I haven’t read it yet, I understand Cary’s only child, Jennifer Grant, alleges in her new book Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant that Grant reveled in the rumors about his sexuality because he felt it made him more desirable to women. This would seem to be contradicted by the fact that he sued Chevy Chase for $10 million in 1980 for alluding to gay rumors about Grant on a talk show.

In my opinion? I don’t think we’ll ever know the truth about Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, and that’s probably the way they wanted it. Although the following pictures are often used as “evidence” that they were lovers, as much as we want them to, a single snapshot of a single moment in the lives of two people cannot possibly reveal every detail and facet of their relationship. The pictures are clean, ambiguous, and while they definitely show a great intimacy, labeling that intimacy as automatically sexual in nature ignores the nuances of both sexuality and homosocial relationships. Does that mean I don’t think people should speculate? Of course people are allowed to speculate. As public figures, the lives of Grant and Scott are left open to interpretation by anyone and everyone who wishes to do so. It can’t possibly hurt them, given that they’re both long dead. It can be especially important for members of sexual minorities to be able to identify mirrors of their own experiences in famous people; oftentimes this stems from an individual or communal need for acceptance and recognition which has nothing at all to do with the real lives of the celebrities in question, but is still completely valid and vital. But the idea that Grant or Scott can be unequivocally “claimed” by either the straight or gay “camp” is unnecessarily divisive and seems to deny any fluidity in identity or behavior. We’re drawing lines instead of building bridges, and with people who are dead and can’t give us the truth, it all seems rather silly.

Entertainers are meant to give us joy. If it gives you joy to interpret the Grant/Scott relationship as romantic, do it. If it gives you joy to envision them as just really close friends, do it. Neither of those are bad things. But please, don’t make any claims that you can divine the “truth” when you weren’t there to witness it. You don’t have the right to deny anyone else’s reality just as they don’t have the right to define yours.


click images to enlarge

Image Sources: iCollector (1); Epifanie (2); Waterfilm (3); Daily Musto (4); Il Post (5); TCM CFU (6)
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  1. Man, they were both smokin’ hot

  2. I second Kendra’s comment!!! Oh, the other day I saw on Tumblr a picture of these gorgeous guys I hadn’t seen before and it was so suggestive…that I realized it was photoshopped:

    :) When I read Cary’s biography by Marc Eliot, I remember the author assumed that they were a couple, which was really annoying since he had no PROOF whatsoever. I guess we will never really know. Great post.

    • I feel like there’s just as much “proof” that they were a couple as there is that they weren’t. Ultimately we as individuals decide what to believe and what not to believe. But again, when we don’t know for sure, everyone’s opinion is equally valid. I felt like Marc Eliot went to a lot of effort to cite first-hand accounts and back up his position that they were a couple.

  3. I really like this article. I agree with everything said. I’ve read Marc Eliot’s biography of Grant, and he definitely painted a picture of Grant and Scott as lovers. I don’t count that out, but I’ve also read and seen other accounts that directly contradict many of the claims Eliot’s biography made – and not just about Grant’s sexuality. And considering the art Grant made of keeping his personal life private, and how almost EVERY SINGLE ACCOUNT of him, even the most talked about events in his life, is different from one to the next, I don’t think we’ll ever know the truths of a lot of his life. Betsy Drake gave some accounts of things in a filmed interview that differ vastly from Eliot’s, and she made a particularly blunt and amusing remark about the insinuations about Grant’s being gay (with some saucy language, I might add). Frankly I think he was far too chauvinistic to be gay, but it WAS a different time. Regardless of either of these men’s sexuality, they had wonderful careers, and that’s why we love them. Great article, Caroline.

  4. I really thought Marc Eliot’s bio came across as stubborn insistence that Grant and Scott were lovers and everyone who questioned it was a big jerk. I seem to recall Betsy Drake being quite bitter and being the only almost proof that Eliot had, which made the entire situation seedy IMHO.

    I can’t get enough of the picture of them in the pool together. It’s adorable.

    It’s never made sense to me that he sued Chevy Chase, given how the rumors were milked for My Favorite Wife (which I’m in the middle of re-watching right now). His daughter’s claim makes much more sense in light of that, but the 1980 lawsuit is a puzzler.

  5. Well they have to be gay because otherwise there’s no reason for me to give two shits about Randolph Scott. (Ugh Westerns….) lol. Why couldn’t have he been in more things like Roberta?

  6. Paul

     /  June 28, 2011

    They lived together because the Santa Monica rentals were steep. Luxe comes with a price.

  7. Betsche K

     /  August 30, 2012

    So what if Cary Grant “might” have been Bi-Sexual? ( He did father a daughter in the marriage to Diane Cannon, right? I doubt that it was by proxy) I still enjoy watching his movies like Bringing Up Baby, Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Awful Truth, Arsenic and Old Lace, Topper, etc. I hope they never “remake” those classics because no one can compare to the actors of the 30’s- Grant, Harlow, Wallace Beery,Katharine Hepburn; Thank Goodness for DVD collections-

  8. Alyson Steinberg

     /  January 12, 2013

    They sat too close to each other, touched each other too much and frankly lived together too long when it really wasn’t financially necessary for either of them to have been just friends. There was something more between them than just a close friendship. Maybe they didn’t get it on frequently, but something sexual was going on between them.

  9. Nicky

     /  January 27, 2013

    Oh please, they were so gay.

  10. shades

     /  July 1, 2013

    I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, but, wow, what a gorgeous couple.

  11. Cary Grant was extremely handsome and I think it’s really rotten to read into their friendship as being gay or anything else. WHY NOT JUST FRIENDS!.. Do not speculate you dreamers!

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