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Morning Man Classic: Randolph Scott!

A few weeks before my dad died last year at the age of 92, my nephew and me took him to lunch and after settled in to his living room to watch a western on TV called The Tall T. The movie happened to star today’s Morning Man, Randolph Scott. It was the last movie I ever watched with my dad and we had watched hundreds and hundreds together over the years.

Scott was born on this day in 1898, retired from movies at the age of 64, and lived to be 89 years old.

He made more than 100 movies in a career that reached its peak in the 1950s. His films were of various genres but he found his greatest success in westerns.

He starred in such films as Belle Starr, The Spoilers, Seven Men From Now, and Ride the High Country.

The handsome Mr. Scott was married twice including a 40-plus year marriage to Patricia Stillman.

But it was his close relationship with Cary Grant that got the most attention during the early years of their careers.

It is widely believed that the two were lovers but neither ever acknowledged this, obviously. But what is known is that they lived together off and on for about 10 years as ‘roommates’ and the many publicity photos of them together are stunning.

While Grant is known for being dashing and handsome, you can see that Scott was also quite stunning. These days, they would be the biggest thing going on Instagram don’t you think?

A recent article in Vanity Fair shed more light than ever on the relationship. Here is an excerpt:

British journalist Maureen Donaldson published a book looking back at her romance with Grant in the late ’70s. The memoir was cowritten by Bill Royce, a close friend of hers (and later, Grant’s) and a writer who’d previously worked for a fan magazine. As recounted in his own 2006 book (published 20 years after Grant’s death), Royce ran into Scott one day in 1976 and then told Grant about the encounter. Grant reacted with a kind of melancholy wistfulness. By this point, he was in his early 70s and retired from acting. He decided to finally reveal the truth of what Scott meant to him. (Notably, none of this was included in Donaldson’s book.)

Grant set aside several hours to admit to Royce that he’d been in love with Scott from his earliest days in Hollywood. “Have you ever heard of gravity collapse? Some people call it love at first sight,” he said, according to Royce. “This was the first time I’d felt it for anyone.” Grant told Royce that he and Scott weren’t gay or straight but somewhere in between; that women as well as men slept over at their beach house; and that Scott never wanted Grant in the same way that Grant wanted Scott. They explored this attraction imbalance. Grant said that they did have sex, often awkwardly, and that they connected romantically. “There was no way Randy would have experimented with me…if he didn’t truly love me on some profound level,” he said.

He went on to remember Scott’s love for sweets and hatred for curse words, the way he cared more about golf and money than anything else on planet Earth, how he tended to cover his hot dogs in every condiment available at baseball games—mustard and ketchup and relish and onions. (“If they had petunias, he’d put them on there, too!”) Most poignantly, Grant confessed to the pain of saying goodbye to the love of his life, all those years ago: “It was dreadful having to let go of him in my heart.”

But as Royce remembered Grant in that moment, the man was ultimately at peace. “Our souls did touch,” Grant said. “What more could I ask?”

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