For me Cary Grant will always be the ultimate leading man. Sophisticated, debonaire and witty (not to mention a bit of a goof-ball at times) he was a Hollywood icon millions of women fell in love with. He acted alongside the greatest leading ladies from 3 decades of Hollywood, from Greta Garbo to Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.
Here are some things about him that you might not know…
- Cary Grant was christened with the slightly less sophisticated name of Archibald Alexander Leach. When his career first started on Broadway he worked under the name Archie Leach but was told to change it when he went to Hollywood. He suggested the name ‘Cary Lockwood’ which was rejected by studio bosses and he eventually selected Cary Grant because the initials CG had proved lucky for both Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.
- He was expelled from Fairfield Grammar School aged 14 for sneaking into the girl’s toilets.
- The character of Cary Grant during the filming of the hugely succesful The Awful Truth in 1937. When asked about it he was quoted as saying: “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”
- He received more money from the movie ‘To Catch A Thief’ than the writer and director Hitchcock did. Grant received more than $700,000 while Hitchcock received less than $50,000.
- Cary Grant was an advocate of taking the hallucinogenic drug LSD. He was introduced to the drug (which was legal at the time) in the early 1960s by his then-wife actress Betsy Drake and claimed it brought him inner peace.
- He believed that celebrities should keep out of politics and refused to be drawn on his political beliefs, speaking out for the only time after Robert F. Kennedy was shot calling for tighter gun control in America.
- Grant retired from acting at the age of 62 when his daughter Jennifer was born.
- In the late 1960s, Cary Grant accepted a position on the board of directors at Fabergé (as in Fabergé eggs). They believed that any products associated with him would be instantly successful.
- He was listed as the second Greatest Male Star of All Time behind Humphrey Bogart. I’m not sure why, IMHO Grant was a million times better than Bogart and I’m sure their positions should have been reversed!
- Despite his enormous box-office success he never received any major awards. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor (Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart) and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, but never won. However he was awarded an honororary Oscar in 1970 “for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues”
Above: Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade
Image source and copyright: 1, 4, This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice. 2, This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed. 3, This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties