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Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was a British-American actor. With his distinctive yet not quite placeable Mid-Atlantic accent, he was noted as perhaps the foremost exemplar of the debonair leading man, handsome, virile, charismatic and charming.

He was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. His popular classic films include The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959), and Charade (1963).

At the 42nd Academy Awards the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him with an Honorary Award "for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues".

Early life and career

Archibald Alexander Leach was born in Horfieldmarker, Bristolmarker, United Kingdommarker in 1904 to Elsie Maria Kingdon (1877-1973) and Elias James Leach (1873-1935). An only child, he had a confused and unhappy childhood, attending Bishop Road Primary School. His father placed his mother in a mental institution when he was nine and his mother never overcame her depression after the death of a previous child. His father had told him that she had gone away on a "long holiday" and it was not until he was in his thirties that Leach discovered her alive, in an institutionalized care facility.

He was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar Schoolmarker in Bristolmarker in 1918. He subsequently joined the "Bob Pender stage troupe" and travelled with the group to the United Statesmarker as a stilt walker in 1920 at the age of 16, on a two-year tour of the country. He was processed at Ellis Islandmarker on July 28, 1920. When the troupe returned to the UK, he decided to stay in the US and continue his stage career.

Still under his birth name, he performed on the stage at The Munymarker in St. Louis, Missourimarker, in such shows as Irene (1931); Music in May (1931); Nina Rosa (1931); Rio Rita (1931); Street Singer (1931); The Three Musketeers (1931); and Wonderful Night (1931).

Hollywood stardom

After some success in light Broadwaymarker comedies, he went to Hollywoodmarker in 1931, where he acquired the name Cary Lockwood. He chose the name Lockwood after the surname of his character in a recent play called Nikki. He signed with Paramount Pictures, but while studio bosses were impressed with him, they were less than impressed with his adopted stage name. They decided that the name Cary was OK, but Lockwood had to go due to a similarity with another actor's name. It was after browsing through a list of the studio's preferred surnames, that Cary Grant was born. Grant chose the name because the initials C and G had already proved lucky for Clark Gable and Gary Cooper, two of Hollywood's then-biggest movie stars.

Having already appeared as leading man opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), his stardom was given a further boost by Mae West when she chose him for her leading man in two of her most successful films, She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel (both 1933). I'm No Angel was a tremendous financial success and, along with She Done Him Wrong, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, saved Paramount from bankruptcy. Paramount put Grant in a series of indifferent films until 1936, when he signed with Columbia Pictures. His first major comedy hit was when he was loaned to Hal Roach's studio for the 1937 Topper (which was distributed by MGM).
Grant starred in some of the classic screwball comedies, including Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn, His Girl Friday (1940) with Rosalind Russell, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) featuring Priscilla Lane, and Monkey Business (1952) opposite Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. Under the tutelage of director Leo McCarey, his role in The Awful Truth (1937) with Irene Dunne was the pivotal film in the establishment of Grant's screen persona. These performances solidified his appeal, and The Philadelphia Story (1940), with Hepburn and James Stewart, showcased his best-known screen persona: the charming if sometimes unreliable man, formerly married to an intelligent and strong-willed woman who first divorced him, then realized that he was—with all his faults—irresistible.

Grant was one of Hollywood's top box-office attractions for several decades. He was a versatile actor, who did demanding physical comedy in movies like Gunga Din (1939) with the skills he had learned on the stage. Howard Hawks said that Grant was "so far the best that there isn't anybody to be compared to him".

Grant was a favorite actor of Alfred Hitchcock, notorious for disliking actors, who said that Grant was "the only actor I ever loved in my whole life".Nelson and Grant 1992. p. 325. Grant appeared in such Hitchcock classics as Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959). Biographer Patrick McGilligan wrote that, in 1965, Hitchcock asked Grant to star in Torn Curtain (1966), only to learn that Grant had decided to retire after making one more film, Walk, Don't Run (1966); Paul Newman was cast instead in Torn Curtain, opposite Julie Andrews.

In the mid-1950s, Grant formed his own production company, Grantley Productions, and produced a number of movies distributed by Universal, such as Operation Petticoat (1959), Indiscreet (1958), That Touch of Mink (co-starring with Doris Day, 1962), and Father Goose (1964). In 1963, he appeared opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade (1963). His last feature fim was Walk, Don't Run (1966) with Samantha Eggar.

Grant was once considered a maverick as he was the first actor to "go independent," effectively bucking the old studio system, which almost completely controlled what an actor could or could not do. In this way, Grant was able to control every aspect of his career. He decided which movies he was going to appear in, he had personal choice of the directors and his co-stars and at times, even negotiated a share of the gross, something unheard of at the time, but now common among A-list stars.

Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards in the 1940s. He was denied the Oscar throughout his active career because he was one of the first actors to be independent of the major studios. Grant received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. In 1981, he was accorded the Kennedy Center Honors.

Retirement and death

Although Grant had retired from the screen, he remained active in other areas. In the late 1960s, he accepted a position on the board of directors at Fabergé. By all accounts this position was not honorary as some had assumed, as Grant was regularly attending meetings and his mere appearance at a product launch would almost certainly guarantee its success. The position also permitted use of a private plane, which Grant could use to fly to see his daughter wherever her mother, Dyan Cannon, was working. He later joined the boards of Hollywood Park, Western Airlines (now Delta Air Lines), and MGM.

In the last few years of his life, Grant undertook tours of the United States in a one man show. It was called "A Conversation with Cary Grant", in which he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions. Grant was preparing for a performance at the Adler Theater in Davenportmarker, Iowamarker on the afternoon of 29 November 1986 when he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. (He had also suffered a minor stroke in October 1984.) He died at 11:22 pm in St. Luke's Hospital.

Personal life

Grant was married five times, and was dogged by rumors that he was bisexual. He wed Virginia Cherrill on February 10, 1934. She divorced him on March 26, 1935, following charges that Grant had hit her. He married Barbara Hutton and became a father figure to her son, Lance Reventlow. The couple were derisively nicknamed "Cash and Cary," although in an extensive prenuptial agreement Grant refused any financial settlement in the event of a divorce. After divorcing in 1945, they remained lifelong friends. Grant always bristled at the accusation that he married for money: "I may not have married for very sound reasons, but money was never one of them."

Grant married Betsy Drake on December 25, 1949. He appeared with her in two films. This would prove to be his longest marriage, ending on August 14, 1962. Drake introduced Grant to LSD, and in the early 60s he related how treatment with the hallucinogenic drug—legal at the time—at a prestigious Californiamarker clinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism, and mysticism had proved ineffective.McKelvey, Bob. "Cary Grant - Hollywood's Zany Lover Reaches 80." Detroit Free Press January 18, 1984. Retrieved: June 13, 2009.

He eloped with Dyan Cannon on July 22, 1965 in Las Vegasmarker. Their daughter, Jennifer Grant, was born prematurely on February 26, 1966. He frequently called her his "best production", and regretted that he had not had children sooner. The marriage was troubled from the beginning and Cannon left him in December 1966, claiming that Grant flew into frequent rages and spanked her when she "disobeyed" him. The divorce, finalized in 1968, was bitter and public, and custody fights over their daughter went on for nearly ten years.

On 11 April 1981 Grant married long-time companion, British hotel PR agent Barbara Harris, who was 47 years his junior. They renewed their vows on their fifth wedding anniversary. In 2001, Harris married former All-American quarterback David Jaynes.

Grant was allegedly involved with costume designer Orry-Kelly when he first moved to Manhattanmarker,Higham and Moseley 1989 and lived with Randolph Scott off and on for twelve years. Richard Blackwell wrote that Grant and Scott were "deeply, madly in love", and alleged eyewitness accounts of their physical affection have been published. Hedda Hopper and screenwriter Arthur Laurents have also alleged that Grant was bisexual, the latter writing that Grant "told me he threw pebbles at my window one night but was luckless". Alexander D'Arcy, who appeared with Grant in The Awful Truth, said he knew that he and Scott "lived together as a gay couple", adding: "I think Cary knew that people were saying things about him. I don't think he tried to hide it." The two men frequently accompanied each other to parties and premieres and were unconcerned when photographs of them cozily preparing dinner together at home were published in fan magazines.

Grant's widow, Barbara, has disputed that there was a relationship with Scott.Jaynes, Barbara Grant and Robert Trachtenberg. "Cary Grant: A Class Apart.", Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Entertainment, 2004. When Chevy Chase joked about Grant being gay in a television interview, he sued him for slander; they settled out of court. However, he did admit in an interview that his first two wives had accused him of being homosexual. Betsy Drake commented: "Why would I believe that Cary was homosexual when we were busy fucking? Maybe he was bisexual. He lived 43 years before he met me. I don't know what he did".


Grant was a Republican, but did not think movie stars should publicly make political declarations.Jaynes, Barbara Grant and Robert Trachtenberg. PBS: "Cary Grant: A Class Apart." Washington Post, May 26, 2005. Retrieved: June 13, 2009. During his career some people considered him to be a left-winger, as he publicly condemned McCarthyism in 1953 and vocally supported his blacklisted friend Charlie Chaplin. Grant was also criticized by right-wing columnist Hedda Hopper for vacationing in the Soviet Unionmarker after filming Indiscreet (1958). He appeared to worsen the situation by remarking to an interviewer "I don't care what kind of government they have over there, I never had such a good time in my life". In June 1968 he made a public appeal for gun control following the assassination of his friend, Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy. After his retirement from acting, Grant was active in a number of Republican causes. He introduced First Lady Betty Ford to the audience at the Republican National Convention in 1976. He was also a vocal supporter of his friend Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.


Statue of Cary Grant in Millennium Square, Bristol, England.
In 2001 a statue of Grant was erected in Millennium Square, a regenerated area next to the harbourmarker in his city of birth, Bristolmarker, Englandmarker.

In November 2004, Grant was named "The Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by Premiere Magazine. Richard Schickel, the film critic, said about Grant: "He's the best star actor there ever was in the movies."

Ian Fleming stated that he partially had Cary Grant in mind when he created his suave super-spy, James Bond. Sean Connery was selected for the first James Bond movie because of his likeness to Grant. Likewise, the later Bond, Roger Moore, was also selected for sharing Grant's wry sense of humor.

John Cleese's character in the film A Fish Called Wanda was named Archie Leach, a reference to Grant's legal birth name. (Grant himself had referenced an off-screen character named "Archie Leach" in His Girl Friday). The 1960s TV series The Flintstones featured a stone-age entertainer named "Gary Granite".

Cary Grant never did utter the phrase "Judy, Judy, Judy...". It was used by Tony Curtis who said it doing a Grant impression for the character of the millionaire in the movie Some Like it Hot, but Curtis heard it first when he went to visit his good friend Larry Storch's stand-up routine in New York and heard Storch say "Judy, Judy, Judy..." when Judy Garland walked into the club.

In his "Schticks of One and a Half Dozen of the Other" medley, Allan Sherman created this lyric, sung to the tune of "Marianne", comically expressing jealousy: "All day, all night, 'Cary Grant!' / That's all I hear from my wife, is 'Cary Grant!' / What can he do that I can't? / Big Star! Big deal! Cary Grant!"



Year Title Role Director Co-stars
This Is the Night Stephen Frank Tuttle Lili Damita, Charles Ruggles, Roland Young, Thelma Todd
Sinners in the Sun Ridgeway Alexander Hall Carole Lombard, Chester Morris, Alison Skipworth, Walter Byron
Singapore Sue First Sailor Casey Robinson Anna Chang
Merrily We Go to Hell
UK title: Merrily We Go to _____
Charlie Baxter Dorothy Arzner Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March
Devil and the Deep Lieutenant Jaeckel Marion Gering Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton
Blonde Venus Nick Townsend Josef von Sternberg Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Dickie Moore
Hot Saturday Romer Sheffield William A. Seiter Nancy Carroll, Randolph Scott
Madame Butterfly Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton Marion Gering Sylvia Sidney, Charles Ruggles, Irving Pichel
She Done Him Wrong Capt. Cummings Lowell Sherman Mae West, Owen Moore, Gilbert Roland
The Woman Accused Jeffrey Baxter Paul Sloane Nancy Carroll, John Halliday, Irving Pichel
The Eagle and the Hawk Henry Crocker Stuart Walker Fredric March, Jack Oakie, Carole Lombard, Guy Standing
Gambling Ship Ace Corbin Louis J. Gasnier
Max Marcin
Benita Hume, Roscoe Karns, Glenda Farrell
I'm No Angel Jack Clayton Wesley Ruggles Mae West, Edward Arnold
Alice in Wonderland The Mock Turtle Norman Z. McLeod Charlotte Henry, Richard Arlen, W. C. Fields, Gary Cooper, Billy Barty
Thirty Day Princess Porter Madison III Marion Gering Sylvia Sidney, Edward Arnold, Henry Stephenson, Vince Barnett
Born to Be Bad Malcolm Trevor Lowell Sherman Loretta Young, Jackie Kelk, Henry Travers, Russell Hopton
Kiss and Make Up Dr. Maurice Lamar Harlan Thompson Genevieve Tobin, Helen Mack, Lucien Littlefield
Ladies Should Listen Julian De Lussac Frank Tuttle Frances Drake, Edward Everett Horton
Enter Madame Gerald Fitzgerald Elliott Nugent Elissa Landi, Lynne Overman
Wings in the Dark Ken Gordon James Flood Myrna Loy, Roscoe Karns, Dean Jagger
The Last Outpost Michael Andrews Charles Barton
Louis J.

Claude Rains, Gertrude Michael, Kathleen Burke
Sylvia Scarlett Jimmy Monkley George Cukor Katharine Hepburn, Brian Aherne, Edmund Gwenn
Big Brown Eyes Det. Sgt. Danny Barr Raoul Walsh Joan Bennett, Walter Pidgeon, Isabel Jewell, Lloyd Nolan
Suzy Andre George Fitzmaurice Jean Harlow, Franchot Tone, Benita Hume
The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss
US title: Romance and Riches
Ernest Bliss Alfred Zeisler Mary Brian, Peter Gawthorne, Henry Kendall
Wedding Present Charlie Richard Wallace Joan Bennett, George Bancroft, Conrad Nagel, Gene Lockhart
When You're in Love
UK title: For You Alone
Jimmy Hudson Robert Riskin Grace Moore, Aline MacMahon, Henry Stephenson, Thomas Mitchell
Topper George Kerby Norman Z. McLeod Constance Bennett, Billie Burke, Roland Young, Alan Mowbray
The Toast of New York Nicholas "Nick" Boyd Rowland V. Lee Edward Arnold, Frances Farmer, Jack Oakie, Donald Meek
The Awful Truth Jerry Warriner Leo McCarey Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy
Bringing up Baby Dr. David Huxley Howard Hawks Katharine Hepburn, Charles Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson
UK title: Free to Live
John "Johnny" Case George Cukor Katharine Hepburn, Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton
Gunga Din Sgt. Archibald Cutter George Stevens Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Sam Jaffe, Eduardo Ciannelli, Joan Fontaine
Only Angels Have Wings Geoff Carter Howard Hawks Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Rita Hayworth, Thomas Mitchell, John Carroll, Allyn Joslyn
In Name Only Alec Walker John Cromwell Carole Lombard, Kay Francis, Charles Coburn
His Girl Friday Walter Burns Howard Hawks Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
My Favorite Wife Nick Garson Kanin Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick
The Howards of Virginia
UK title: The Tree of Liberty
Matt Howard Frank Lloyd Martha Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Marshal, Richard Carlson
The Philadelphia Story C.K. Dexter Haven George Cukor Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard


Year Title Role Director Co-stars
Penny Serenade Roger Adams George Stevens Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi, Edgar Buchanan, Ann Doran
Suspicion Johnnie Alfred Hitchcock Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty
The Talk of the Town Leopold Dilg aka Joseph George Stevens Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan, Glenda Farrell
Once Upon a Honeymoon Patrick "Pat" O'Toole Leo McCarey Ginger Rogers, Walter Slezak, Albert Dekker
Mr. Lucky Joe Adams/Joe Bascopolous H. C. Potter Laraine Day, Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper, Alan Carney
Destination Tokyo Capt. Cassidy Delmer Daves John Garfield, Alan Hale, Dane Clark
Once Upon a Time Jerry Flynn Alexander Hall Janet Blair, James Gleason, William Demarest
Arsenic and Old Lace Mortimer Brewster Frank Capra Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Peter Lorre, Edward Everett Horton
None But the Lonely Heart Ernie Mott Clifford Odets Ethel Barrymore, Barry Fitzgerald, June Duprez, Jane Wyatt
Without Reservations Himself (cameo) Mervyn LeRoy Claudette Colbert, John Wayne, Don DeFore, Louella Parsons
Night and Day Cole Porter Michael Curtiz Alexis Smith, Eve Arden, Monty Woolley, Jane Wyman, Dorothy Malone
Notorious T.R. Devlin Alfred Hitchcock Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
UK title: Bachelor Knight
Dick Irving Reis Myrna Loy, William Bakewell, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee
The Bishop's Wife Dudley Henry Koster Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley, James Gleason, Gladys Cooper
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House Jim Blandings H. C. Potter Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny
Every Girl Should Be Married Dr. Madison W. Brown Don Hartman Franchot Tone, Diana Lynn, Betsy Drake, Alan Mowbray
I Was a Male War Bride
UK title: You Can't Sleep Here
Capt. Henri Rochard Howard Hawks Ann Sheridan
Crisis Dr. Eugene Norland Ferguson Richard Brooks José Ferrer, Paula Raymond, Signe Hasso, Ramon Novarro


Year Title Role Director Co-stars
People Will Talk Dr. Noah Praetorius Joseph L. Mankiewicz Jeanne Crain, Finlay Currie, Hume Cronyn, Walter Slezak
Room for One More George "Poppy" Rose Norman Taurog Betsy Drake, Lurene Tuttle
Monkey Business Dr. Barnaby Fulton Howard Hawks Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn, Marilyn Monroe, Hugh Marlowe
Dream Wife Clemson Reade Sidney Sheldon Deborah Kerr, Walter Pidgeon, Betta St. John
To Catch a Thief John Robie Alfred Hitchcock Grace Kelly, John Williams
An Affair to Remember Nickie Ferrante Leo McCarey Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning
The Pride and the Passion Anthony Stanley Kramer Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Theodore Bikel
Kiss Them for Me Cmdr. Andy Crewson Stanley Donen Jayne Mansfield, Suzy Parker, Leif Erickson, Ray Walston
Indiscreet Philip Adams Stanley Donen Ingrid Bergman, Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert, David Kossoff
Houseboat Tom Winters Blake Edwards Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino
North by Northwest Roger O. Thornhill Alfred Hitchcock Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau
Operation Petticoat Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman Stanley Donen Tony Curtis, Dina Merrill, Gene Evans
The Grass Is Greener Victor Rhyall, Earl Stanley Donen Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Moray Watson
That Touch of Mink Philip Shayne Delbert Mann Doris Day, Gig Young, Audrey Meadows, John Astin, Dick Sargent
Charade Peter Joshua / Carson Dyle /
Alexander Dyle / Adam Canfield /
Brian Cruikshank

Stanley Donen Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy
Father Goose Walter Christopher Eckland Ralph Nelson Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, Jack Good
Walk, Don't Run Sir William Rutland Charles Walters Samantha Eggar, Jim Hutton



Bibliography of cited references

  • Bogdanovich, Peter. Who the Hell's in It: Portraits and Conversations. New York: A.A. Knopf, 2004. ISBN 0-37540-010-9.
  • Eliot, Marc. Cary Grant: The Biography. New York: Aurum Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84513-073-1.
  • Higham, Charles and Roy Moseley. Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart. London: Thompson Learning, 1997. ISBN 0-15115-787-1.
  • Johannson, Warren and William A. Percy. Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence.. Kirkwood, NY: Harrington Park Press, 1994, pp. 146–147.
  • Kael, Pauline. "The Man from Dream City - Cary Grant" - The New Yorker - July 14, 1975 - (reprinted in: Pauline Kael: For Keeps - 30 Years at the Movies. New York: Dutton, 1994.)
  • Laurents, Arthur. Original Story by: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp, 2001. ISBN 1-55783-467-9.
  • Mann, William J. Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969. New York: Viking, 2001. ISBN 0-67003-017-1.
  • McCann, Graham. Cary Grant: A Class Apart. London: Fourth Estate, 1997. ISBN 1-85702-574-1.
  • McGilligan, Patrick. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. New York: Regan Books, 2003. ISBN 0-06039-322-X.
  • Morecambe, Gary; Sterling, Martin. Cary Grant: In Name Alone. London: Robson Books, 2001. ISBN 1-86105-466-1.
  • Nelson, Nancy and Cary Grant. Evenings With Cary Grant: Recollections In His Own Words and By Those Who Loved Him Best. Thorndike, Maine: Thorndike Press, 1992. ISBN 1-56054-342-6.
  • Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies [revised edition]. New York: Harrow & Row, 1987. ISBN 0-06096-132-5.
  • Wansell, Geoffrey. Cary Grant: Dark Angel. London: Arcade, 1997. ISBN 1-55970-369-5.

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