Cary Grant was a man of great conviction who rose from the humble surroundings of his British childhood to become one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors. He starred in more than seventy movies and was nominated for two Academy Awards. While on his journey from the back streets of Bristol to the glittering thoroughfares of Hollywood, Cary Grant shed his British accent and crafted a new persona—that of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading man.
Born in Bristol, England January 18, 1904, to lower middle class parents in Bristol England, his given name was Archibald Alexander Leach and was not changed to Cary Grant until he began his film career at Paramount Studios.
He had a fear of heights and knives as a child.
Only had on incisor because he knocked the other one out while ice skating. He had his other teeth pushed together to make up for the loss of the tooth.
At age 14, he quit school and lied about his age in order to join Bob Pender’s musical comedy and acrobat group. While working for Pender, Cary learned to pantomime, an art for exemplified by Marcel Marceau
and also became a stilt walker. The skills that he acquired while performing with the group allowed him to be able to do the majority of his own stunts in his movies.
Although he dropped out of school as a teenager, he was a voracious reader.
Mae West personally selected Grant to co-star with her in She Done Him Wrong not only because of his virility but also because of his distinct manner of presenting himself as a gentleman.
Was known as Carini at The Magic Castle where he greeted guests at the door like Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, and James Cagney. Orson Welles also performed there and to this day they still hold séances for Harry Houdini
Although he was a contract player for Paramount early in his career, he decided to become a freelance actor once his contract was finished, an unusual decision for the time, which allowed him to have more control over his career.
He starred in several Alfred Hitchcock movies including: Suspicion, To Catch a Thief, Notorious, with Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, and North by Northwest, which was Grant’s largest box office success. He was the only actor that Hitchcock was said to have loved.
He donated his entire salary for the Philadelphia Story, which costarred Katharine Hepburn
and Jimmy Stewart to the British war effort and donated all his earnings from Arsenic and Old Lace to the American War effort.
On April 18 1947, King George VI awarded Grant the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom for his assistance with the war effort.
He was an avid baseball fan of both the NY Giants and the LA Dodgers, who Jackie Robinson played for and broke the color barrier when the team was known as the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1960, he was considered, in an article in Esquire, to be one of the best dressed men in America, along with Miles Davis.
Ian Flemming had him in mind when designing the character of James Bond.
He played the Mock Turtle in the film version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
In 1970 he was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.
In 1981 the Kennedy Center Honors, an honor also bestowed on Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn
, George Burns and Chuck Berry.
Premier magazine voted him the Greatest Movie Star of All Time.
The American Film Institute selected him as #2 on their list of Greatest Screen Legends. In addition to that, he leads all actors on AFI’s list of the top 100 US Love Stories, with six films.
November 28, 1986: On Nov. 28th he suffered a major stroke prior to beginning his performance of his one man show An Evening with Cary Grant in Davenport, Iowa. He died at 11:22 pm of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His body was flown back to California where it was cremated. His ashes were given to his wife and daughter.