‘I never knew what was going to set him off’: Dyan Cannon says ex Cary Grant constantly criticized her

Dyan Cannon has fallen in love with Cary Grant all over again.

“About four months ago I was going through my safe and I found some notes from him that were so adorable, and made me understand why I fell in love with him,” the actress, 86, shared with Page Six in a recent exclusive interview.

The “Heaven Can Wait” star was 28 when she married the movie icon — 61 at the time — in 1965. The two welcomed a daughter, Jennifer, in 1966 and divorced two years later. The marriage was rocky and imploded in a raft of unflattering headlines for the movie icon.

In her 2011 memoir, “Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant,” the Oscar-nominated Cannon shared that there were “fundamental problems” in their relationship from the start — with Grant criticizing what she wore and flying into unexpected fits of rage.

Actress Dyan Cannon says her ex-husband Cary Grant was not always the gentleman fans imagined. PA Images via Getty Images
Cannon wrote about their tempestuous marriage in a memoir. Getty Images

“I never knew what was going to set him off next, and when he wasn’t at work he trailed me around the house, listing my shortcomings,” she wrote.

“I didn’t place a coaster under my water glass. I parked my car in the driveway crooked. I shouldn’t be so friendly to the postman because he might get the wrong idea, or to the maid because it was good to keep a distance.”

Grant also pressed Cannon to take LSD with him.

Cannon’s memoir is the basis for a miniseries about Grant called “Archie.” ITVX

She admits that there is plenty left out of the book.

“The thing that was really challenging for me in writing the book was what to say and what not to say,” Gannon explained. “Cary had so many people who loved him and I didn’t want to take the stars out of their eyes … [mine] disappeared for a while but, curiously, the stars are back in my eyes again.”

Cannon’s memoir serves as the basis for a four-part miniseries, now streaming on Britbox, about Grant’s life called “Archie.”

“Harry Potter” star Jason Isaacs plays Grant and Laura Aikman stars as Cannon in “Archie.” ITVX

Archie Leach was Grant’s real name, and his childhood was the stuff of Dickensian nightmares.

He grew up poor in Bristol, England. When Archie was 9, his father placed his mother in a mental institution and told him that she had died. The future star did not learn that his mother was still alive until he was 31. That perceived abandonment and subsequent difficult relationship with his mother colored all of his future romantic relationships.

Grant, who changed his name in 1941, died in 1986 at the age of 82.

The series touches on rumors that Grant had a sexual relationship with Randolph Scott. Bettmann Archive
The actors were roommates for several years. Corbis via Getty Images

“Harry Potter” star Jason Issacs, who plays an older Grant, admitted that he thought it was ridiculous that he had been offered the role.

“And then I read the script and realized it’s not about Cary Grant,” he shared. “It’s about Archie Leach, which is why it’s called ‘Archie’ … everything I knew about Cary Grant, the truth turned out to be the opposite.

“It’s a picture of a human being. He found a lot of redemption and peace through becoming a parent — learning he was never going to get the love he lost in his childhood, but he could give love to his child in a way that he could never give to an adult because he drove them all away before they could abandon him.”

Grant starred in dozens of iconic movies including “North by Northwest.” Courtesy Everett Collection
Grant’s dysfunctional childhood is depicted in the series. Getty Images

Cannon noted the same theme.

“I feel like what happened was he had to abandon us before we abandoned him or I abandoned him, in order to stay on top because he just wasn’t happy,” she said.

The “Ally McBeal” alum hopes that the miniseries will “allow people to love him even more but I think it’s a bigger lesson than that.

Grant and Cannon welcomed daughter Jennifer in 1966. Bettmann Archive

“We look at everyone out there and go, ‘Oh, they’ve got such a great life’ and inside [for Grant, the past] was very hurtful. And the ripple effect of what happened to him was passed on.”

The series also touches on the gay rumors — that he had a sexual relationship with fellow movie star and roommate Randolph Scott — that followed Grant for years.

Cannon doesn’t discount if that happened but says she never saw any hint of it.

Cannon and her daughter Jennifer served as executive-producers on the miniseries. Getty Images

“If he was, I never saw it,” she said. “I saw him be really friendly with a captain on a boat one day while we were crossing to see his mother but … he was never unfaithful to me. Infidelity wasn’t the problem, men weren’t the problem, we were the problem.”

Nevertheless, Cannon knows that Grant was one of a kind.

“When he walked into the room, the room was his …There was no one like him ever and there never will be.”

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