- Cary Grant
bgcolour = red
name = Cary Grant
imagesize = 230px
caption = in "To Catch a Thief" (1955)
birthname = Archibald Alexander Leach
birthdate = birth date|1904|1|18|mf=y
Bristol, England, UK
deathdate = death date and age|1986|11|29|1904|1|18|mf=y
Davenport, Iowa, United States
yearsactive = 1932–1966
Barbara Harris (1981-1986)
domesticpartner = Maureen Donaldson (1973-1977) [ [http://www.nndb.com/people/657/000026579/ Cary Grant] at the
NNDB] Donaldson, Maureen, and William Royce. "An Affair to Remember: My Life With Cary Grant". New York, New York: Charter Books. 1990. ISBN 1557733716]
Jennifer Grant(b. 1966)
Academy Honorary Award
1970 Lifetime Achievement Archibald Alec Leach (
January 18 1904– November 29 1986), better known by his stage name, Cary Grant, was a British-born American actor. With his distinctive 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 of American cinema, after Humphrey Bogart, by the American Film Institute. He was well known for starring in classic films such as " The Philadelphia Story", " North by Northwest", "Notorious", " His Girl Friday", "To Catch A Thief", " Bringing Up Baby" and " The Bishop's Wife".
Early life and career
Archibald Alec Leach was born in
Horfield, Bristol, Englandin 1904 to Elsie Kingdom and Elias Leach. [cite web | url = http://www.geneall.net/U/per_page.php?id=987018 | title = Elsie Kingdom | accessdate = 2008-07-12] [cite news | url = http://www.carygrant.net/articles/epitome.htm | title = Movies' Epitome of Elegance Dies of a Stroke | author = Eric Pace | work = New York Times| date = 1 December 1986| accessdate = 2008-07-12] An only child, he had a confused and unhappy childhood, attending Bishop Road Primary School. His father placed his mother in a mental institutionwhen he was ten 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 still alive, living in an institutionalized care facility.
He was expelled from the
Fairfield Grammar Schoolin Bristolin 1918. He subsequently joined the "Bob Pender stage troupe" and travelled with the group to the United Statesas a stilt walker in 1920, on a two-year tour of the country. When the troupe returned to England, he decided to stay in the US and continue his stage career.
Still under his birth name, he performed on the stage at
The Munyin St. Louis, Missouri, 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).
After some success in light Broadway comedies, he went to
Hollywoodin 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 Gableand Gary Cooper, two of Hollywood's then-biggest movie stars.
Having already appeared as leading man opposite
Marlene Dietrichin " Blonde Venus", his stardom was given a further boost by Mae Westwhen 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). [Encyclopedia Britannica, Cary Grant biography ] "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 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" with Katharine Hepburn, " His Girl Friday" with Rosalind Russell, "Arsenic and Old Lace" with Priscilla Lane, and "Monkey Business" with Ginger Rogers. His role in " The Awful Truth" with Irene Dunnewas the pivotal film in the establishment of Grant's screen persona. These performances solidified his appeal, and " The Philadelphia Story", 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" with the skills he had learned on the stage.
Howard Hawkssaid that Grant was "so far the best that there isn't anybody to be compared to him". [Interview of Howard Hawks with Joseph McBride, in Hawks, Howard and Gerald Mast, "Bringing Up Baby", p. 260. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1988.]
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, 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. p.325. ISBN 1560543426] Grant appeared in such Hitchcock classics as "Suspicion", "Notorious", "To Catch a Thief" and " North by Northwest". 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 Newmanwas cast instead in "Torn Curtain", opposite Julie Andrews.McGilligan, Patrick. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light". New York, New York: Regan Books. 2003. pp.663-664. ISBN 006039322X]
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", "Indiscreet", " That Touch of Mink" (co-starring Doris Day), and "Father Goose". In 1963, he appeared opposite Audrey Hepburnin " Charade."
Grant was considered a maverick by virtue of the fact that 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 Awardsin 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.
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.
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 Theaterin Davenport, Iowaon the afternoon of November 29, 1986when he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He had suffered a minor stroke in October 1984. He died later that night at St. Luke's Hospital at age 82.
Grant's personal life was complicated, involving five marriages. His first wife,
Virginia Cherrill, divorced him on March 26, 1935following charges that Grant had hit her. They had wed on February 10, 1934.
Grant married the ultra-wealthy socialite
Barbara Huttonand became a father figure and lifelong influence on her son, Lance Reventlow, who died in a plane crash. 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. He said with his typical wit, "I may not have married for very sound reasons, but money was never one of them."
Grant married his third wife, the actress
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 Californiaclinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism, and mysticismhad proved ineffective.White, Betty. [http://www.carygrant.net/articles/cary%20grant%20today.htm "Cary Grant Today"] - " Saturday Evening Post" - (c/o CaryGrant.net) - March 1978] McKelvey, Bob. [http://www.carygrant.net/articles/zany.htm "Cary Grant - Hollywood's Zany Lover Reaches 80"] - " Detroit Free Press" - (c/o CaryGrant.net) - January 18, 1984] Godfrey, Lionel. "Cary Grant: The Light Touch". New York, New York: St. Martin's Press. 1981. ISBN 0312123094]
His fourth marriage, to actress
Dyan Cannon, who was thirty-three years his junior, took place on July 22 1965in Las Vegas. The marriage was followed by the premature birth of his only child, Jennifer Grant, on February 26, 1966when Grant was sixty-two. He frequently called her his "best production", and regretted that he hadn't 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 around ten years.
April 11, 1981Grant married his long-time companion, British hotel PR agent Barbara Harris, who was forty-seven years his junior. Harris was by his side when he died.
War years and U.S. citizenship
Grant became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1942 in order to defuse the scandal resulting from his failure to return to Britain to serve in the military. He had, in fact, volunteered for service in the
Royal Navyas early as 1940, but at 36 was past the then-maximum enlistment age. This prompted Grant to declare that he wanted to go back to do his bit, even if it meant being a "fireman". However, certain portions of the British Government thought Grant would be more use to the war effort if he remained in Hollywood. During the war years, Grant donated entire salaries of several movies to British war charities, and it is even rumored that Grant was working for British Intelligence, monitoring suspected Nazi sympathizers among the Hollywood elite. This, however, has never been substantiated as records on the subject remain classified to this day. In 1947, King George VI awarded Grant the King's Medalfor his services to Britain during hostilities.
Rumors regarding sexual orientation
Throughout his time in Hollywood, Grant was rumored to be either
homosexualor bisexual. Early in his career he was a roommate of the openly gay silent star William Haines. [Eliot, Marc, "Cary Grant: A Biography" (2004).] In 1932, he met fellow actor Randolph Scotton the set of " Hot Saturday". The two shared a rented beach house, known as "Bachelor Hall", on and off for twelve years. In 1944, Grant and Scott stopped living together but remained close friends throughout their lives. Rumors ran rampant at the time that Grant and Scott were lovers. In 1957, Grant's English chauffeur claimed to have been in a sexual relationship with Grant. Grant immediately filed a lawsuit against him. The driver attempted suicide. [Eliot, Marc, "Cary Grant: A Biography" (2004).]
In their biographies of Grant, Marc Eliot, Charles Higham and
Roy Moseleycontend that Grant was bisexual. Higham and Moseley claim that Grant and Scott were seen kissing in a public car park outside a social function both attended in the 1960s. It has even been suggested that Grant and Scott were married in a secret ceremony in Mexico. [Eliot, Marc "Cary Grant: Grant's Sixth Marriage " (2005)] Randolph Scott's son Christopher refuted these rumors. Following the death of his father in 1987, Christopher wrote a book, "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?", in which he denied that his father was homosexual. According to Darwin Porter's biography, "Brando Unzipped," Grant also had an affair with Marlon Brandoin the early 1950s. [Porter, Darwin "Brando Unzipped" (2006)]
Arthur Laurentsindicated that Grant was bisexual. In his memoir, he says, Grant, "told me he threw pebbles at my window one night but was luckless—I wasn't home. ... his eyes and his smile implied that ... he would have liked doing what we would have done had I been home.Laurents, Arthur. "Original Story by: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood". New York, New York: Knopf. 2000. p.131. ISBN 0375400559] William J. Mann's book, "Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969," recounts how photographer Jerome Zerbespent, "three gay months," in the movie colony taking many photographs of Grant and Scott, "attesting to their involvement in the gay scene." Zerbe says that he often stayed with the two actors, "finding them both warm, charming, and happy."Mann, William J. "Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969". New York, New York: Viking. 2001. ISBN 0670030171]
Others, however, deny the rumors. In a 2004 interview, Grant's fifth wife, Barbara, says of the rumored Grant-Scott relationship, "It wasn't the case at all. In fact, the house that they had down on the beach was known to have women going in and out like running water."Jaynes, Barbara Grant and Robert Trachtenberg. [http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=76185 "Cary Grant: A Class Apart"] . Burbank, California:
Turner Classic Movies(TCM) and Turner Entertainment. 2004.] Grant himself always denied the rumors, saying, "If someone can't find anything bad to say about you, you are a tightwad or a homosexual."leninimports.com [http://www.leninimports.com/cary_grant.html "Cary Grant: Biography"] .] When comedian Chevy Chasejoked about Grant being gay in a television interview with Tom Snyderin 1980 ("Oh, what a gal!"), Grant sued him for slander; they settled out of court.Eliot, Marc. "Cary Grant: The biography". New York, New York: Harmony Books. 2004. ISBN 140005026X] Grant complained to writer/director Peter Bogdanovichabout the Chevy Chase incident, emphatically insisting that while he had many gay friends, including Cukor, William Haines, and costume designer Orry-Kelly, and had nothing against homosexuals, he was not one himself.Bogdanovich, Peter. "Who the Hell's in It: Portraits and Conversations". New York, New York: A.A. Knopf. 2004. ISBN 0375400109] However, he did admit in an interview that his first two wives had accused him of being a homosexual. [ Marc Eliot, "Cary Grant: A Biography" (2004) ]
In a 2004 interview for the
Turner Classic Moviesproduction, "Cary Grant: A Class Apart", Grant's third wife, 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." [Drake, Betsy and Robert Trachtenberg. [http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=76185 "Cary Grant: A Class Apart"] . Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies(TCM) and Turner Entertainment. 2004.]
Grant was a Republican, but did not think movie stars should publicly make political declarations.Jaynes, Barbara Grant and Robert Trachtenberg. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/05/24/DI2005052400695.html PBS: "Cary Grant: A Class Apart"] - "
Washington Post" - May 26, 2005] Ironically, during his career some people considered him to be a left-winger, as he publicly condemned McCarthyismin 1953 and vocally supported his blacklisted friend Charlie Chaplin. Grant was also criticized by right-wing columist Hedda Hopperfor vacationing in the Soviet Unionafter 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." [Eliot, Marc "Cary Grant" (2004)] However, 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 Reaganduring the 1980s.
In 2001 a statue of Grant was erected in Millennium Square, a regenerated area next to the harbour in his city of birth,
In November 2004 Grant was named "The Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by "
Premiere Magazine". [ [http://www.premiere.com/features/2394/the-50-greatest-movie-stars-of-all-time.html?print_page=y "The 50 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time"] - " Premiere Magazine"] Richard Schickel, the film critic, said about Grant: "He's the best star actor there ever was in the movies." [Hammond, Pete. [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/21/entertainment/cannes/main618859.shtml "Remembering Cary Grant at 100"] - Associated Press- (c/o CBS News) - May 21, 2004] Ian Flemingstated that he partially had Cary Grant in mind when he created his suave super-spy, James Bond. Sean Connerywas 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 [ [http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0008271/ Archie Leach (Character)] - " A Fish Called Wanda" - IMDb- 1998] , a reference to Grant's legal birth name.
Singapore Sue" (1932) (uncredited)
Hollywood on Parade" (1932)
Hollywood on Parade No. 9" (1933)
Pirate Party on Catalina Isle" (1935)
Road to Victory" (1944)
A Tribute to the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital" (1965)
* Bogdanovich, Peter. "Who the Hell's in It: Portraits and Conversations". New York, New York: A.A. Knopf. 2004. ISBN 0375400109
* Eliot, Marc. "Cary Grant: The Biography" New York, New York: Aurum Press. 2005. ISBN 1845130731
* Higham, Charles, and Roy Moseley. "Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart" Thompson Learning, 1997, ISBN 0151157871
* Johannson, Warren, and William A. Percy. [http://williamapercy.com/pub-Outing.htm "Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence."] Harrington Park Press, 1994, pp.146-7.
* 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". Dutton, 1994.)
* McCann, Graham. "Cary Grant: A Class Apart" Fourth Estate, 1997. ISBN 1857025741
* Morecambe, Gary, and Martin Sterling, "Cary Grant: In Name Alone" Robson Books, 2001. ISBN 1861054661
* 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 1560543426
* Vito Russo, "The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies" [revised edition] Harrow & Row, 1987. ISBN 0060961325
* Wansell, Geoffrey. "Cary Grant: Dark Angel". Arcade, 1997. ISBN 1559703695
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/grant_c.html "The Man From Dream City"] by
Pauline Kael, originally published in " The New Yorker", July 14, 1975
* [http://www.wumingfoundation.com/english/giap/giapdigest32_3.htm#style "Cary Grant: Style as a Martial Art"] by
Wu Ming, on the inclusion of Grant in their novel "54".
* [http://www.carygrantradio.com/ Radio Shows: The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages] . A vast collection of mp3 files.
* [http://www.esparagon.com/CaryGrant.htm Crème de la Crème: Cary Grant]
* [http://www.cosmopolis.ch/english/cosmo14/carygrant.htm Cary Grant biography and filmography by cosmopolis.ch]
NAME= Grant, Cary
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Leach, Archibald Alexander
SHORT DESCRIPTION=English actor
DATE OF BIRTH=
January 18 1904
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
November 29 1986
PLACE OF DEATH=
Davenport, Iowa, U.S.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.