Your ID please Mr. Grant

“There are two kinds of people in this world…” My 16-year-old daughter said these words earlier tonight. It’s often used and one of my favourite versions was Christian comedian Mark Lowry’s: There are two kinds of people in this world, hyperactive and boring. Which one are you?” My daughter’s was “…those who can appreciate awesome DIY’s and those who say ‘you’re wasting my brown sugar!’” I guess it’s a bit contextual…

This saying is essentially one that serves as a way for someone to express their own identity to others. Perhaps you’d say that the world’s population could be divided into 1) those who are morning people 2) those who hate morning people. Or maybe into 1) those who support such-and-such political party and 2) those who are evil destroyers of our nation. Mine is 1) those who love wrestling, movies and chocolate and 2) those who live sad, empty lives.

In North By Northwest Cary Grant’s character is mistaken to be someone else. That’s all I’ll say because this is such a great movie that it needs to be experienced. The less you know the better. But his character’s (Roger Thornhill) predicament is really something we all face. Even Cary Grant himself. 1) His real name is/was Archie Leach. I guess the producers and other Hollywood execs didn’t think it was a classy enough name and came up with the one we all know. 2) He often played characters that were quite similar to each other. 3) He even said himself, “My screen persona is a combination of Jack Buchanan, Noel Coward and Rex Harrison. i pretended to be something I wanted to be, and, finally, I became that person. or he became me.” But perhaps his best quote on this subject was when he said, “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”

Sometimes I struggle with this. Not with having everybody wanting to be me—never had that problem, that’s for sure. But the struggle of knowing what my own identity boundaries are. Who am I really? Am I truly a down-to-earth person, or do I just like others who are down-to-earth and therefore try to act like that too? Do I truly love stand-up comedy or is laughing at another’s jokes a way of escape from my problems? Do I honestly enjoy reading or do I just say that to sound smart and pure? “Being yourself” is a strong core belief in popular culture, and thank God for that. But for most of us, it’s not that we’re not being ourselves, it’s that we’re learning more about ourselves as we get older.

Speaking of identities, here are 8 of the best real names in Hollywood:

  • Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra: Meg Ryan
  • Allen Konigsberg: Woody Allen
  • Natalie Herschlag: Natalie Portman
  • Cornelius Crane Chase: Chevy Chase
  • Alphonso d’Abruzzo: Alan Alda
  • Maurice Micklewhite: Michael Caine
  • Leroy Harold Scherer: Rock Hudson

And my personal favourite…

  • Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston: Audrey Hepburn

Congratulations North By Northwest. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. Not to be confused with the other Hepburn, Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston.

Best Actor: Other than Grant, I think Martin Landau should be recognized. He’s very good and made the perfect Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.

Best Quote: “Now you listen to me, I’m an advertising man, not a red herring. I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don’t intend to disappoint them all by getting myself “slightly” killed.” – Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest. Though I’d love to highlight this little beauty from the same movie as well: “I didn’t realize you were an art collector. I thought you just collected corpses.”

And I’ve gotta say about Cary Grant, he was a real man’s man. He did most of his own stunts thanks to his experience as an acrobat. He also donated his entire salary from making one movie to the British WWII effort, then did the same thing three years later for the US WWII effort. And what can be cooler than the fact that Ian Fleming based his character “James Bond” partly on Grant. I guess you could say there are two kinds of people in this world: Cary Grant and everybody else.


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