...The James Bond Rolex Story...
The Complete History Of James Bond Watches
Including ALL Watches Worn In All James Bond Movies
The Definitive Guide
Chapter 2: Cary Grant Was The Real James Bond
Some people will tell you that Sean Connery is the only real James Bond, but the truth is that Cary Grant was the first, best and only real James Bond. I probably just completely confused you, but bear with me.
Ian Fleming said he based the James Bond character on Cary Grant. If you truly want to understand James Bond, you must understand the archetype for Bond, and that is Cary Grant.
Cary Grant made a movie in 1955, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, named North by Northwest which was an action, adventure, mystery, thriller– just like James Bond. In North by Northwest Cary Grant did many of his own stunts.
If James Bond was real what would he look like?
He would be tall, dark, handsome, debonaire, articulate, stylish, athletic, elegant and very masculine. Most of all he would be a gentle man–and Cary Grant was the perfect gentle man. Many people mistake gentility for weakness, but the truth is that it takes great strength to be gentle. Anybody can be rough, but not everybody can be gentle.
Cary Grant is–to this day–the personification of masculine timeless style, grace, and elegance.
The Pre James Bond, James Bond Movies
There are 4 seminal Cary Grant movies that informally develop the foundation for the James Bond character. Let's take a look at each of these thrillers to best understand the genesis of the James Bond character.
The first three Cary Grant movies were produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Alfred Hitchcock was the absolute master of suspense. In effect, Hitchcock really created the suspense genre, and certainly perfected it. The combination of Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock was incredible!!!
Cary Grant started making highly suspenseful, action-thriller, mystery, adventure movies with Alfred Hitchcock like Notorious in 1946. It has been speculated that Ian Fleming was highly inspired to create the James Bond character based on Cary Grant playing Devlin in Notorious in 1946.
In Notorious, Cary Grant plays a government agent and you see him here looking suave and debonair in his tuxedo. Of course you have a plot with espionage and a gorgeous woman played by Ingrid Bergman. Look familiar? Look like James Bond!?!?
Of course the secret agent is a ladies man. This movie, more than any else is perhaps the genesis for the James Bond character.
To Catch A Thief 
In 1955, Cary Grant made another action-thriller with Hitchcock, named To Catch A Thief. Cary Grant played a retired jewel thief named John Robee, whose nickname was The Cat. The stunningly gorgeous Grace Kelly co-starred with Grant. In many ways, his role in this movie was also very James Bond-like.
The chemistry between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was unmistakable and truly positioned the ultimate male with the ultimate female. To Catch A Thief has all the trappings of a James Bond movie, including suspense, intrigue, fast cars, romance and a lot of sneaking around in the dark.
The theme of the established, successful, debonaire older man with the younger female hotness is a constant theme in James Bond. Also, Cary Grant had a British accent, as do all the figures who played James Bond.
Believe it or not, Burt Reynolds was offered the role of James Bond after Sean Connery retired the role, and turned it down saying that he thought James Bond should have a British accent. Burt later went on to say it was the greatest blunder of his acting career.
Cary Grant starred in Houseboat with the strikingly gorgeous Sophia Loren in 1958. The movie was a comedy, but once again you see Cary looking like Bond in the photo below. Cary Grant and Sophia Loren made a previous movie named The Pride & The Passion. While shooting The Pride & The Passion, Cary and Sophia had a whirlwind affair and fell in love.
Cary asked Sophia to marry him, but she decided to marry her longtime lover, Italian director, Carlo Ponti. Sophia later said she married Carlo because they were both Italian and she felt they were better culturally matched. Cary Grant was heartbroken and if you watch the scene closely in Houseboat where they get married, you can see it was a bittersweet experience for both of them.
As I mentioned, Houseboat was a comedy. Cary Grant is considered by many to be the greatest actor that ever lived because he was so versatile. Some of Cary Grant's great comedies include, His Girl Friday, Arsenic & Old Lace, and Monkey Business. Cary modeled his comedic skills after W.C. Feilds, who was very funny, but the opposite of Cary Grant in the looks department.
North By Northwest 
North by Northwest was another James-Bond-like movie with secret government agents and lots of intrigue. The opening credits as seen below were designed by the famous graphic artist, Saul Bass.
The famous airplane chase scene was pure James Bond with Cary Grant doing his own stunts. Cary Grant was part of a British gymnastic group when he was 18 that traveled to the United States. Cary Grant's given name was Archibald Leach and by the time he made it to Hollywood he was rebranded as Cary Grant.
Imagine that!!!?!?!? The single worst name a man could have–Archibald Leach–changed to the most elegant name in history–Cary Grant.
Cary Grant was great with doing his own stunts because he always maintained his athletic, trim physique by working-out regularly.
The photo of Cary Grant with his beautiful co-star, Eva Marie Saint is pure James Bond. Notice he is kissing her and she is sticking him with the gun. My favorite line from North by Northwest was when Cary and Eva arrived in Chicago and when they were in the hotel room, Cary Grant say "Tell me something darling. How does a girl like you get to be like you?!"
This would be Cary Grant's last movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is pure James Bond and in the picture below you see fellow British actor, James Mason sitting next to Cary Grant.
James Mason was superb in his role as a bad guy in North by Northwest. It is supremely ironic, that after Cary Grant passed on being the first actor to play James Bond, the role was offered to James Mason, who also passed on it!!!
Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn
So if Cary Grant had played James Bond in Dr. No, what would he have looked like? The movie he made with the unequaled Audrey Hepburn gives us a great clue. Charade premiered a year after Dr. No premiered with Sean Connery. As we learned earlier, Cary Grant passed on playing James Bond in Dr. No., because he did not want to commit to doing more than one James Bond movie, instead he played a somewhat similar character in Charade.
Cary Grant's Legacy
As I previously mentioned, in my mind, Cary Grant was the only real James Bond, and it is a sad shame the he passed on playing James Bond in Dr. No. Can you imagine Cary Grant sporting a stainless Rolex Submariner!?!
In the mid 1960s Cary finally settled down and married actress Diane Cannon, who was 33 years younger. They had a daughter name Jennifer Grant in 1966 and she is pictured below.
As a teenager, I remember this GQ that came out with Carry Grant on the cover. I always wanted to meet him, but unfortunately Cary passed away in 1986. His legacy in so amazing that it is difficult to put into words. A reporter once asked Cary Grant, if he could trade places with anybody in the world was there anybody, and if so who? Cary thought about it for a long moment and replied, "Yes. I would like to be Cary Grant."
Roger Moore, who played James Bond was very close pals with Cary Grant and you can see two old boys together below.
Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli, producer of the James Bond movies once said:
"I first became aware of James Bond during the fifties. Like many thousands of others, I read the James Bond novels voraciously, devouring each new one as it was published, and it did not take me long to realize that they would make an excellent series of films.
"I recognized immediately that if transferred to the screen the Bond Charter would have universal appeal; men would want to be like him and women would fantasize about him. I felt that Fleming wrote about life in a new way, as a man of the world, and captured the vigour and excitement of life as he experienced it; combining his tastes for living, exotic locations, sex, adventure –the good life."
Cary Grant was originally offered to play the role of James Bond in Dr. No by Cubby Broccoli, but Cary refused to sign a contract saying he would play Bond for more than one movie. Cubby Broccoli and Cary Grant were great friends for 50 years, as a matter of fact Grant was the best man at Cubby's wedding to Dana Broccoli in 1959.
Since Cary Grant passed on playing James Bond, Sean Connery was chosen. This choice was based upon Sean Connery's likeness to Cary Grant–as you can clearly see in the collage I put together below. No, that is not a photo of Sean Connery & Cary Grant together.
The photo below is an actual photo of Cary Grant with Sean Connery, which was taken in England in 1957!!!! It turns out that reality can sometimes be stranger than fiction...