Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good Stuff

"Dad used the expression 'good stuff' to declare happiness or, as one of his friends put it, he said it when he was pleased with the nature of things. He said it a lot. He had a happy way of life. His life was 'good stuff.'" 

Jennifer trying on her daddy's hat, 1970

A few months ago, I went to Barnes and Noble, a very dangerous place for me, and I was browsing the bargain shelves when I saw the book Cary Grant's daughter, Jennifer, wrote about her dad. At the low price of $5.98, I snatched it up! However, since having a kid, I haven't sat down to read very many books, so Good Stuff sat on my book shelf for a good two months before I made myself open it & start reading. 

Finally one day, I cracked open my new book during my son's nap time and MUCH to my surprise, right there on the title page, was none other than the author's signature. I was shocked to find it! I examined my copy and it appears it is real pen, not printed on the page. I did a little research to see if it was in fact Jennifer's signature and from what I can see, it looks totally legit when I compared it to another book she signed. I have no idea why there would be an autographed book on the shelves at a random Barnes and Noble in San Diego, but maybe someday I will find out. For now, I will just relish in my discovery and count it as a 'win' because I think it's extremely interesting! 

My copy of Good Stuff

What do you think? Does it look real? I think so!

Lindsay's autograph (
I think our autographs look very similar!

Good Stuff was a very entertaining read! It is not a book about Cary Grant, the actor. It's a book about Cary Grant, the father. Cary was 62 when his baby was born in 1966, and therefore he retired from making films to devote himself entirely to her while her mother, actress Dyan Cannon, who was just in the prime of her career, continued working. Jennifer recounts her glorious childhood and reveals that Cary kept diligent records of his daughter's childhood. During a remodel of his house at 9966 Beverly Grove in Beverly Hills, he had constructed a room-sized bank vault with a six inch thick steel door to keep his documents safe. His own childhood memories were all burned in the fires of Bristol, England during World War I, and he made sure Jennifer's would always be safe. He made audio recordings of the two of them playing and chatting together, kept drawings she made for him and marked them with the date and perhaps where she was when she drew it, and he kept all these treasures in a special room filled with filing boxes. She has all the lovely notes he wrote to her beginning when she was just a baby. Cary was enamored with little Jennifer. 

Cary, Dyan, and baby Jennifer
October 1966

"Dad was a sweet, cunning, playful little devil. 
His charm captivated the world."

Cary with his "darling Jennifer"

On holiday in the Hamptons, c. 1973

Through her father, Jennifer developed 
a love of horseback riding. 

Obviously, Jennifer didn't have a "normal" childhood. She went to grown up dinner parties with her parents and their friends, including Frank Sinatra and Walter Matthau. She went sailing with her father on his yacht, and these sea cruises were their favorite way to vacation. Jennifer stayed with her father at the palace of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace in Monaco. Upon her birth, her parents received well wishes from Princess Grace and Audrey Hepburn, whose notes Cary of course kept in his filing boxes for his dear daughter. Jennifer explains that since her father was who he was, he had only a few places he felt comfortable enough taking her for some fun, including the horse track because he had such fun simply watching the races and Dodgers games as he was good friends with Walter O'Malley, who was the owner of the team at the time. She tells how Cary bestowed on her financial knowledge beginning at a very young age, and when she was seven, he gifted her stocks. She grew up knowing she was well off and would never have to worry about money, and she was smart enough to know that she needed to not blow all of her father's hard earned money. He had come from nothing in Bristol, England and worked hard to earn his keep in Hollywood and to make money. 

A page from an alphabet book Cary drew for Jennifer, 1972.

A pun-filled postcard from Cary to Jennifer, 1983.

Jennifer, Cary, and Barbara, his last wife on one
of their sea cruises, 1980.

Good Stuff kept me very interested from cover to cover. I was already a fan of Cary Grant, the actor. I'm now a fan of Cary Grant, the father. Jennifer idolized her dad, and Cary idolized her right back. I could feel the love pouring from her writings. They shared a special bond for the 20 years they had together before his passing in 1986. Cary was an incredible actor, but he was an even better father.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your memories and stories of your dad. I was thrilled to read Good Stuff and learn more about Cary. It only magnified my admiration for him!

Until next time,


  1. I definitely think that's her autograph. When authors do book signings, the bookstores often have them sign a bunch of books that they can sell on the shelf - typically for those who wanted to go to signing, but couldn't. She most likely did a signing in San Diego and the book you found was an autographed one that just didn't happen to sell. :)

  2. I cannot wait to read this now! I knew he was older when she was born and I assumed they didn't have much time together. But this books sounds lovely and I can't wait to pick up a copy!

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