Cary Grant

Biography

Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English-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), Suspicion (1941), 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". Archibald Alexander Leach was born in Horfield, Bristol, to Elsie Maria Kingdon (1877–1973) and Elias James Leach (1873–1935). An only child, he had an unhappy childhood, attending Bishop Road Primary School. His mother had suffered from depression since the death of a previous child. His father placed her in a mental institution, and told his nine-year-old son only that she had gone away on a "long holiday"; it was not until he was in his thirties that Grant discovered her alive, in an institutionalized care facility. He was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918. He subsequently joined the "Bob Pender stage troupe" and travelled with the group to the United States as a stilt walker in 1920 at the age of 16, on a two-year tour of the country. He was processed at Ellis Island on July 28, 1920. When the troupe returned to the UK, he decided to stay in the U.S. and continue his stage career. Still using his birth name, he performed on the stage at The Muny in 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 Hollywood 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 acceptable, 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 biggest movie stars. Already having 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 unsuccessful 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, but it was The Philadelphia Story (1940), with Hepburn and James Stewart, that made him a star. as John Robie in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955)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 such as 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". Grant appeared in the Hitchcock classics 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 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 often had personal choice of the directors and his co-stars and at times, even negotiated a share of the gross, something uncommon at the time. Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards in the 1940s. Grant received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. In 1981, he was accorded the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1962, a few years before retiring, Time reported that he had once received a telegram from a magazine editor asking him "HOW OLD CARY GRANT?" Grant was reported to have responded with "OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?" Never self absorbed, he even poked fun at himself with statements such as, "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant—even I want to be Cary Grant".

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Person Photo

Birth Name

Alexander Archibald Leach

Birth Place

Bristol

Birth Date

1/18/1904

Death Date

11/30/1986
Known For
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North by Northwest

Roger O. Thornhill

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To Catch a Thief

John Robie

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Charade

Peter Joshua

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Notorious

Devlin

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The Philadelphia Story

C. K. Dexter Haven

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An Affair to Remember

Nickie Ferrante

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Arsenic And Old Lace

Mortimer Brewster

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His Girl Friday

Walter Burns

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Operation Petticoat

Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman

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Bringing Up Baby

Dr. David Huxley

Starring In
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Call Me Kate

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Marilyn - Made in Hollywod

Dr. Barnaby Fulton (archive footage)

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My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock

Self (archive footage)

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Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene

Roger Thornhill / John Robie / T.R. Devlin (archive footage)

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Becoming Cary Grant

Self (archive footage)

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And the Oscar Goes To...

Himself (archive footage)

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Smash His Camera

Self (archive footage)

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1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

Himself (archive footage)

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Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story

Himself (archive footage)

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Call the Usual Suspects: The Craft of the Character Actor

Self (archive footage)

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I'm King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Cary Grant: A Class Apart

Himself (archive footage)

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Nearest to heaven

Nickie Ferrante from film 'An Affair to Remember' (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Edith Head: The Paramount Years

(archive footage)

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Marilyn Monroe - The Final Days

Himself (archive footage)

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The Unknown Marx Brothers

Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Holiday Greetings from 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

Self - Actor (archive footage)

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Marilyn: Ihr letzter Film

Himself (archive footage)

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That's Dancing!

Himself - film clip (archive footage)

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Terror in the Aisles

John Robie (in 'To Catch a Thief') (archive footage) (uncredited)

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George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey

Self

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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

(in "Suspicion") (archive footage)

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This is Elvis

Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The First 40 Years

Self

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That's Entertainment Part 2

Clip from 'Philadelphia Story' (archive footage)

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That's Entertainment

(archive footage)

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Elvis: That's the Way It Is

Himself (uncredited)

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Walk Don't Run

Sir William Rutland

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The Love Goddesses

Himself (archive footage)

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Father Goose

Walter Christopher Eckland

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M-G-M’s The Big Parade of Comedy

Actor in 'Suzy' (archive footage)

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Charade

Peter Joshua

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That Touch of Mink

Philip Shayne

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The Grass Is Greener

Victor Rhyall, Earl

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Operation Petticoat

Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman

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North by Northwest

Roger O. Thornhill

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Houseboat

Tom Winters

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Indiscreet

Philip Adams

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Kiss Them for Me

Lieutenant Commander Andy Crewson

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An Affair to Remember

Nickie Ferrante

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The Pride and the Passion

Anthony

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To Catch a Thief

John Robie

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Du und keine andere

Clemson Reade

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Monkey Business

Dr. Barnaby Fulton

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Room for One More

George Rose

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People Will Talk

Dr. Noah Praetorius

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Crisis

Dr. Eugene Norland Ferguson

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I Was a Male War Bride

Capt. Henri Rochard

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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Jim Blandings

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Jedes Mädchen müßte heiraten

Dr. Madison Brown

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The Bishop's Wife

Dudley

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The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Dick

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Without Reservations

Cary Grant (uncredited)

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Notorious

Devlin

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Night and Day

Cole Porter

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Arsenic And Old Lace

Mortimer Brewster

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The Shining Future

Cary Grant

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Once Upon a Time

Jerry Flynn

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None But the Lonely Heart

Ernie Mott

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Destination Tokyo

Capt. Cassidy

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Mr. Lucky

Joe Adams / Joe Bascopolous

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The Talk of the Town

Leopold Dilg - Joseph

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Breakdowns of 1942

Self (uncredited)

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Once Upon a Honeymoon

Patrick 'Pat' O'Toole

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Suspicion

Johnnie Aysgarth

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Penny Serenade

Roger Adams

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The Philadelphia Story

C. K. Dexter Haven

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The Miracle of Sound

Self (archive footage)

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My Favorite Wife

Nick Arden

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His Girl Friday

Walter Burns

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The Howards of Virginia

Matt Howard

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Only Angels Have Wings

Geoff Carter

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Gunga Din

Sgt. Archibald Cutter

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In Name Only

Alec Walker

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Holiday

Johnny Case

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Bringing Up Baby

Dr. David Huxley

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Topper Takes a Trip

George Kerby (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Awful Truth

Jerry Warriner

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Topper

George Kerby

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The Toast of New York

Nick Boyd

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Wedding Present

Charlie Mason

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Suzy

Andre Charville

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The Amazing Adventure

Ernest Bliss

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Big Brown Eyes

Det. Sgt. Danny Barr

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Pirate Party on Catalina Isle

Cary Grant (uncredited)

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Sylvia Scarlet

Jimmy Monkley

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Enter Madame!

Gerald Fitzgerald

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The Last Outpost

Michael Andrews

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Wings in the Dark

Ken Gordon

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Thirty Day Princess

Porter Madison III

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Kiss and Make-Up

Dr. Maurice Lamar

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Born to Be Bad

Malcolm Trevor

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Meine Damen, zugehört!

Julian De Lussac

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I'm No Angel

Jack Clayton

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The Eagle and the Hawk

Henry Crocker

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She Done Him Wrong

Capt. Cummings

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Gambling Ship

Ace Corbin

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The Woman Accused

Jeffrey Baxter

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Alice in Wonderland (1933)

Mock Turtle

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Blonde Venus

Nick Townsend

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This Is the Night

Stephen Mathewson

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Madame Butterfly

Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton

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Hot Saturday

Romer Sheffield

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Devil and the Deep

Lt. Jaeckel

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Merrily We Go to Hell

Charlie Baxter / 'DeBrion' in play

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