Cary Grant Biography
Actor Cary Grant gave us many hours of pleasure and entertainment with his movies. America loved the suave persona that he exuded on screen.
Archibald Alexander Leach was born in Bristol, England January 18, 1904. He was the only child who grew up in a very poor family. When he was nine years old, Cary’s mother had to be institutionalized in a mental hospital. During this time, he developed a taste for English music and began working at odd jobs at the Hippodrome and Empire theaters.
Cary ran away from home at thirteen years of age to go into show business – to break into song and dance. He arrived in New York working with an acrobat comedy troupe in 1920. He learned how to dance, stilt-walk and pantomime. After his tour with the troupe, Mr. Grant returned to London, England in 1923. While in England he appeared in musical comedies. Arthur Hammerstein, who was a stage producer, noticed him and brought him back to New York to act on stage. Nine years later, Cary Grant made his first movie "This is the Night."
In 1931, Mr. Grant appeared in his first film, "Singapore Sue." He wanted to try his hand at the movies, so he traveled to Los Angeles, where he made a screen test for Paramount executive B.P. Schulberg. Paramount offered Grant a five-year contract, highly suggesting he change his name to Cary Lockwood; Cary didn’t like the name of Lockwood so they settled on the name Cary Grant.
In 1937, when his contract expired with Paramount Pictures; Cary Grant refused to sign with another studio. He wanted free reign to choose what he would perform in.
Cary Grant made over seventy movies from 1932 to 1966. In 1944, he acted in four films: "None But The Lonely Heart," "Arsenic and Old Lace," "Once Upon a Time" and the "Road to Victory."
In 1933, Cary Grant married actress Virginia Cherrill and the couple was divorced in 1935. In 1942, Cary Grant married heiress to the Woolworth fortune Barbara Hutton. They, too, were only married a few years divorcing in 1945. His third marriage to actress Betsy Drake lasted longer. They were wed in 1949 and divorced ten years later. Miss Drake starred opposite her husband in three movies. In 1965, Cary Grant wed actress Dyan Cannon. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1968 two years after Mr. Grant retired from acting. Through all of his marriages, Cary Grant only had one child – a daughter with Dyan Cannon one year after they were married.
It was when actor Gary Cooper went on a medical leave from acting that Cary Grant came into his own with his debonair looks and unusual yet charming speaking manner. While Cary Grant was suave and debonair on the big screen, off screen he was aloof and reserved. Regardless of his personal persona, Cary Grant still exuded charisma.
In 1966, Cary Grant retired from acting at the age of sixty-two years of age. Because his age was starting to show, Grant wanted to leave the industry while the Cary Grant image was untarnished and alive and this is what the American public wanted from him.
In 1981, Cary Grant married Barbara Harris whom he remained married to until his death on November 29, 1986. They were in Davenport, Iowa at the time of Grant’s death.