Hello, welcome to my website on Cary Grant. He was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men. One can truly say that he was Hollywood's Prince Charming, with his great charisma, urbane presence, unique voice and extraordinary good looks. Yet with all his polished façade, there was always that working class boy undercurrent. His film career spanned over 35 years, appearing with many of the great ladies of Hollywood. During that time he appeared in over 72 films and was the favorite actor of director Alfred Hitchcock, with whom he worked in four films. Archibald Leach as he was born, transformed himself into a romantic movie star named Cary Grant. His film image was a personality that he had carefully crafted and created for the screen, one that he willed into existence. Once a reporter told him, "Everyone would like to be Cary Grant;" Grant answered back: "So would I."
- Pierre Montiel, December 2011
Cary Grant was born in Bristol, England on January 18, 1904. His father was Elias James Leach, a suit presser for a clothing company, and his mother was Elsie Kingdon Leach. They were a typical working class family. He was an only child. His real birth name was Archibald Alec Leach. His family and friends all called him Archie. At age 14, he left school and joined the Bob Pender Stage Troupe as an acrobat. Eventually they came to the United States for a tour in 1920, playing in New York and across the nation. When the troupe returned home to England in 1922, Cary Grant stayed in America to pursue a stage career.
in the 1920s and early 1930s, Grant appeared in many stage productions on Broadway such as "Golden Dawn" (1927), "Boom Boom" (1928), "Music in May" (1931), "Nikki" (1931) and "Nina Rosa" (1931). It was in "Nikki" that he changed his professional name to Gary Lockwood. In 1932 he signed a Paramount contract and they would change his last name to Grant. Thus at 28, Cary Grant was born to the world.
In 1933, Mae West requested Grant as her leading man in two of her major films, "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel." As a result, Cary Grant became well known in Hollywood. His debonair flair, cockney Americanized accent and handsome dark looks attracted the adulation of female audiences. In 1936 Grant ended his five-year contract with Paramount and immediately signed with Columbia Pictures and RKO on a freelance basis. He was the first star in Hollywood to become a freelancer. "The Awful Truth" and "Topper," both comedies in 1937, were turning points in his film career. Overnight he became a major superstar. He was excellent in comedies as well as in melodramas. Cary Grant now found himself in great demand. His most memorable films during htis period were "Bringing Up Baby" (1938), "Gunga Din" (1939), "His Girl Friday" (1940), "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), "Penny Serenade" (1941), "Suspicion" (1941), "Aresenic and Old Lace" (1943), and "None But the Lonely Heart" (1944) for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. By 1944, Grant was in the top ten box office stars of the nation. In 1942 he became an American citizen and during the war, he helped with the cause for Britain. After the war, he became a Hollywood instituion and icon. In 1946, "Night and Day" and "Notorious" reinforced this status.
The 1950s saw Cary Grant reach new heights in Hollywood. Such films as "To Catch a Thief" (1955), "An Affair to Remember" (1957), and "Indiscreet" (1958) brought him great accolades. But it was Alfred Hitchcock's "North By Northwest" (1959) that is considered to be the apex of Grant's film career. He aged gracefully and in the 1960s, Grant again found himself in the top ten box office stars of the nation with such films as "Touch of Mink" (1962), "Charade" (1963) and "Father Goose" (1964). Cary Grant retired in 1966 at the age of 62. Overall, their would be five marriages in his life. In 1970 he became a member of the board of directors for Fabergé, a position he held for many years. That same year Grant was given an honorary Oscar for his contribution to films; Frank Sinatra presented him the award. Cary Grant died on November 29, 1986 of a fatal stroke in Davenport, Iowa, as he was about to appear in his one-man show, "Conversation With Cary Grant." He was 82. His last wife, Barbara Harris, was with him at the time of his death. There was no funeral, just a cremation. It was a sad day in the history of Hollywood for an era had come to an end.