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The Life and Times of Cary Grant

Updated on April 4, 2014

Born Archibald Alexander Leach

Born as Archibald Alexander Leach at Bristol’s Hortfield, Archibald Alexander Leach had an upbringing that was unhappy as an only child. Since the death of a child previously, his mother went through depression and was put in a mental institution by his father, telling Grant that his mom was on a long holiday. Having believed she had passed away, he only found out she was alive at the age of thirty-one.

Grant Expelled from School

At the age of ten, Grant’s father left him after getting married again and having a new child with his second wife. In the year nineteen eighteen, Grant was expelled from the Grammar School at Fairfield and ended up performing as a stilt walker traveling around the United States with the Bob Pender State Troupe at the age of sixteen on the Olympic RMS on a 2-year country tour. In Ellis Island, he was processed on the twenty eighth of July in nineteen twenty. He made a decision to remain in the United States even when the troupe returned to the United Kingdom and decided to continue his career in stage.

The Vaudeville World

At this time, he toured with Leach, Rand and Parker and became part of the world of vaudevilles. Still utilizing the name he was born with, he performed in the Missouri town of St. Louis in shows such as Rio Rita, Nina Rosa, Music in May and Irene. His stage experience as a mime, juggler, acrobat and stilt walker taught him exquisite timing as a comic and phenomenal grace physically. Other skills that was to his advantage in Hollywood include knowing the importance of teamwork.

Becoming a US Citizen

In the year nineteen forty two on the twenty-sixth of June, Grant became a US naturalized citizen at which he also changed his name legally to Cary Grant from Archibald Alexander Leach.


Born Archibald Alexander Leach, England-born Cary Grant was a stage actor and film actor born on the eighteenth of January in 1904. Later he gained citizenship for America. Popular for his debonair demeanour, transatlantic accent and good, dashing looks, Grant was definitely one of Hollywood’s classic leading men. Named All Time’s Greatest Male Star by the American Film Institute after Humphrey Bogart, Grant was known for dramatic and comedic roles in films. Grant was passed over continuously for a Golden Globe Award and for BestActor Grant was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Penny Serenade.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Favorite

Hitchcock called Grant the only actor he had ever loved in his life and Grant appeared in classics of Hitchcock besides Suspicion including North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief and Notorious. Patrick McGilligan wrote that in the year nineteen sixty five, Grant was asked by Hitchcock to be the lead in the Torn Curtain cast only to find out later that Grant made a decision to become retired after one more Walk, Don’t Run film. Originally, producers Saltzman and Broccoli sought Cary Grant for the James Bond role in Dr.No but the idea was discarded as Grant made a commitment to just one film feature and the production made a decision to go for an actor who could do more than that.


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