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Grant, Cary

GRANT, Cary



Nationality: American. Born: Alexander Archibald Leach in Bristol, England, 18 January 1904; early work in vaudeville and on stage as Archie Leach. Education: Attended Fairfield Academy, Somerset. Family: Married 1) the actress Virginia Cherrill, 1934 (divorced 1935); 2) Barbara Hutton, 1942 (divorced 1945); 3) the actress Betsy Drake, 1949 (divorced 1962); 4) the actress Dyan Cannon, 1965 (divorced 1968), daughter: Jennifer; 5) Barbara Harris, 1981. Career: 1919–20—ran away from school to join the Bob Pender Troupe of comedians and acrobats; toured with them to the United States, and decided to stay; then worked as barker on Coney Island, stilt walker at Steeplechase Park, and in vaudeville as straight man; 1927—first role on legitimate stage, Golden Dawn; followed by roles in musicals including Boom, Boom, 1929, with Jeannette MacDonald, a summer season at the St. Louis Municipal Opera, 1931, and in Nikki, 1931, with Fay Wray; 1932–37—contract with Paramount: film debut in Singapore Sue (short), 1932; 1937—freelance actor; entertained the armed forces during World War II; 1959—formed his own production company Grantart. Awards: Honorary Academy Award, "for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues," 1969; Life Achievement Award, American Film Institute. Died: Of a stroke, in Davenport, Iowa, 29 November 1986.


Films as Actor:

1932

Singapore Sue (Robinson—short) (as Archie Leach); This Is the Night (Tuttle) (as Stephen); Sinners in the Sun (Hall) (as Ridgeway); Merrily We Go to Hell (Arzner) (as stage leading man); Devil and the Deep (Gering) (as Lt. Jacques); Blonde Venus (von Sternberg) (as Nick Townsend); Hot Saturday (Seiter) (as Romer Sheffield); Madame Butterfly (Gering) (as Lt. Pinkerton)

1933

She Done Him Wrong (Sherman) (as Capt. Cummings); The Woman Accused (Sloane) (as Jeffrey Baxter); The Eagle and the Hawk (Walker) (as Henry Crocker); Gambling Ship (Gasnier and Marcin) (as Ace Corbin); I'm No Angel (Ruggles) (as Jack Clayton); Alice in Wonderland (McLeod) (as Mock Turtle)

1934

Thirty-Day Princess (Gering) (as Porter Madison); Born to Be Bad (Sherman) (as Malcolm Trevor); Kiss and Make Up (Thompson) (as Dr. Maurice Lamar); Ladies Should Listen (Tuttle) (as Julian de Lussac)

1935

Wings in the Dark (Flood) (as Ken Gordon); The Last Outpost (Gasnier and Barton) (as Michael Andrews); Sylvia Scarlett (Cukor) (as Jimmy Monkley); Enter Madame (Nugent) (as Gerald Fitzgerald)

1936

Pirate Party on Catalina Island (short); Big Brown Eyes (Walsh) (as Danny Bart); Suzy (Fitzmaurice) (as Andre); Wedding Present (Wallace) (as Charlie); The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss (Amazing Adventure; Romance and Riches) (Zeisler) (as Ernest Bliss)

1937

When You're in Love (For You Alone) (Riskin) (as Jimmy Hudson); Topper (McLeod) (as George Kerby); The Toast of New York (Rowland V. Lee) (as Nick Boyd); The Awful Truth (McCarey) (as Jerry Warriner)

1938

Bringing Up Baby (Hawks) (as David Huxley); Holiday (Free to Live; Unconventional Linda) (Cukor) (as Johnny Case)

1939

Gunga Din (Stevens) (as Sgt. Archibald Cutter); Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks) (as Geoff Carter); In Name Only (Cromwell) (as Alec Walker); His Girl Friday (Hawks) (as Walter Burns)

1940

My Favorite Wife (Kanin) (as Nick Arden); The Howards of Virginia (The Tree of Liberty) (Lloyd) (as Matt Howard); The Philadelphia Story (Cukor) (as C. K. Dexter Haven)

1941

Penny Serenade (Stevens) (as Roger Adams); Suspicion (Hitchcock) (as Johnnie Aysgarth)

1942

The Talk of the Town (Stevens) (as Leopold Dilg); Once upon a Honeymoon (McCarey) (as Pat O'Toole)

1943

Mr. Lucky (Potter) (as Joe Adams)

1944

Destination Tokyo (Daves) (as Capt. Cassidy); Once upon a Time (Hall) (as Jerry Flynn); Arsenic and Old Lace (Capra) (as Mortimer Brewster); None but the Lonely Heart (Odets) (as Ernie Mott); The Road to Victory (short); The Shining Future (Prinz—short)

1946

Without Reservations (LeRoy) (as guest); Night and Day (Curtiz) (as Cole Porter); Notorious (Hitchcock) (as Devlin)

1947

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (Bachelor Knight) (Reis) (as Dick Nugent); The Bishop's Wife (Koster) (as Dudley)

1948

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (Potter) (title role); Every Girl Should Be Married (Hartman) (as Dr. Madison Brown)

1949

I Was a Male War Bride (You Can't Sleep Here) (Hawks) (as Capt. Henri Rochard); Polio and Communicable Diseases Hospital Trailer (Hoffman—short)

1950

Crisis (Richard Brooks) (as Dr. Eugene Ferguson)

1951

People Will Talk (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (as Dr. Noah Praetorius); Room for One More (The Easy Way) (Taurog) (as George "Poppy" Rose)

1952

Monkey Business (Hawks) (as Barnaby Fulton)

1953

Dream Wife (Sheldon) (as Clemson Reade)

1954

To Catch a Thief (Hitchcock) (as John Robie)


1957

The Pride and the Passion (Kramer) (as Anthony Trumbull); An Affair to Remember (McCarey) (as Nickie Ferrante); Kiss Them for Me (Donen) (as Andy Crewson)

1958

Indiscreet (Donen) (as Philip Adams); Houseboat (Shavelson) (as Tom Winston)

1959

North by Northwest (Hitchcock) (as Roger Thornhill); Operation Petticoat (Edwards) (as Matt Sherman)

1960

The Grass Is Greener (Donen) (as Victor Rhyall)

1962

That Touch of Mink (Delbert Mann) (as Philip Shayne)

1963

Charade (Donen) (as Peter Joshua/Alexander Dyle/Adam Canfield/Brian Cruickshank)

1964

Father Goose (Nelson) (as Walter Eckland)

1965

Ken Murray's Hollywood (Murray)

1966

Walk Don't Run (Walters) (as William Rutland)

1970

Elvis: That's the Way It Was (Sanders—doc)

1977

Once upon a Time . . . Is Now (Billington—for TV) (as voice)




Publications


On GRANT: books—

Goldoni, Albert, Cary Grant, An Unauthorized Biography, Chicago, 1972.

Rosen, Marjorie, Popcorn Venus, New York, 1973.

Vermilye, Jerry, Cary Grant, New York, 1973.

Deschner, Donald, The Films of Cary Grant, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1978.

Godfrey, Lionel, Cary Grant: The Light Touch, New York, 1981.

Britton, Andrew, Cary Grant: Comedy and Male Desire, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1983.

McIntosh, William Currie, and William Weaver, The Private Cary Grant, London, 1983; rev. ed., 1987.

Schickel, Richard, Cary Grant: A Celebration, London, 1983; rev. ed., 1987.

Wansell, Geoffrey, Cary Grant: Haunted Idol, London, 1983.

Dupuis, Jean-Jacques, Cary Grant, Paris, 1984.

Ashman, Chuck, and Pamela Trescott, Cary Grant, London, 1986.

Harris, Warren G., Cary Grant: A Touch of Elegance, New York, 1987.

Trescott, Pamela, Cary Grant: His Movies and His Life, Washington, D.C., 1987.

Donaldson, Maureen, and William Royce, An Affair to Remember: My Life with Cary Grant, London, 1989.

Higham, Charles, and Ray Moseley, Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart, New York, 1989.

Buehrer, Beverley Bare, Cary Grant: A Bio-Bibliography, New York, 1990.

Nelson, Nancy, Evenings with Cary Grant: Recollections in His Own Words and by Those Who Knew Him Best, New York, 1991.

Wansell, Geoffrey, Haunted Idol: The Story of the Real Cary Grant, New York, 1992.

Wansell, Geoffrey, Cary Grant: Dark Angel, New York, 1997.

Curtis, Jenny, and Jennifer Curtis, Cary Grant: A Life in Pictures, London, 1998.

McCann, Graham, Cary Grant: A Class Apart, New York, 1998.

On GRANT: articles—

Roman, Robert, "Cary Grant," in Films in Review (New York), December 1961.

Current Biography 1965, New York, 1965.

Champlin, Charles, "Cary Grant," in The Movie Star, edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.

McVay, D., "Celebrating Cary Grant," in Films and Filming (London), January and February 1983.

Thomson, David, "Charms and the Man," in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1984.

Baxter, Brian, "Cary Grant," in Films and Filming (London), June 1984.

Obituary in Variety (New York), 3 December 1986.

Taylor, John Russell, obituary in Films and Filming (London), January 1987.

Corliss, Richard, obituary in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1987.

Buckley, Michael, obituary in Films in Review (New York), February 1987.

Benayoun, Robert, "L'Image emblématique de Cary Grant," in Positif (Paris), March 1987.

Kobal, John, "An Affair to Remember," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), April 1987.

Leahy, J., "Cary on Comedy," in Films and Filming (London), January 1989.

Mattlin, Everett, ". . . And Cary," in Film Comment (New York), November/December 1989.

Clark, John, filmography in Premiere (New York), June 1991.

Buford, Kate, "A Death in the Family," in Film Comment (New York), May/June 1992.

Hohki, K., "My Father and Cary Grant," in Sight & Sound (London), May 1994.

Clarke, Gerald, "Cary Grant and Randolph Scott," in Architectural Digest (Los Angeles), April 1996.

Butte, George, "Theatricality and the Comedy of the Mutual Gaze in Hitchcock's Cary Grant Films," in Hitchcock Annual (Gambier), 1997–1998.


* * *

Cary Grant is one of a handful of actors whose personalities so captivate the moviegoing public that their names become synonymous with the qualities they embody on the screen. Just as John Wayne has come to represent a certain brand of rugged masculinity, or Marilyn Monroe a blend of sexuality and childlike innocence, so Cary Grant has become the enduring cinematic personification of elegance, wit, and sophistication. A master of light comic acting, his much-imitated style is the yardstick by which others who attempt this difficult technique are measured, yet Grant's seemingly effortless performances remained unequaled. His talent, grace, and good looks have earned him a place among Hollywood's most popular male stars.

Grant's polished persona seems the antithesis of his working-class background, yet his unmistakable style was already much in evidence in his earliest film roles. His credentials as a traditional leading man were established with his appearances opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus and Mae West in She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel, but it was his work with the directors George Cukor, Howard Hawks, and Leo McCarey which revealed the full measure of his abilities.

The fast-paced screwball comedies of the 1930s proved to be the perfect format for displaying Grant's verbal and physical agility. His romantic sparring with Irene Dunne in McCarey's The Awful Truth, Rosalind Russell in Hawks's His Girl Friday, and Katharine Hepburn in Cukor's Holiday and Hawks's Bringing Up Baby displayed Grant's deft comic touch in films that served to define the genre. His role as the daredevil flyer in Only Angels Have Wings, and his Oscar-nominated performances in Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Heart showed him to be a capable dramatic actor as well, but it was in sophisticated comedy that his real strength lay. Grant continued to mine the successful image he had created in these early films throughout his career, and his performance in Stanley Donen's Charade—one of his final films—demonstrates the undiminished appeal of his debonair charm.

Although Grant's comedies represent the majority of his best remembered roles, his work with Alfred Hitchcock in several classic films offers a departure from his usual image. As he does with James Stewart in Rear Window and Vertigo, Hitchcock plays against Grant's familiar persona by incorporating into his characters psychological twists that are in startling contrast to the actor's smooth surface elegance. To Catch a Thief is perhaps closest to his characteristic style, with Grant portraying an infamous jewel thief, while Suspicion finds him cast as a seemingly loving husband who may or may not be plotting to murder his wife. In North by Northwest Grant's wisecracking character is subtly shown to be a man whose charm hides a basically selfish nature and whose only lasting relationship with a woman is his amusing but obsessive bond with his mother.

It is in Notorious, however, that Hitchcock fully utilizes this conflict between Grant's image and his character's personality. As Devlin, a misogynistic, emotionally repressed American agent, he sends the woman he has unwillingly come to love (Ingrid Bergman) into the arms of a Nazi collaborator (Claude Rains). Devlin's struggle against his attraction to the high-living Bergman nearly causes her death when he blindly ignores signs that she may be in danger. The bizarre love triangle in the film hinges on Bergman's attraction to Grant in spite of his consistently callous behavior, and his performance is both fascinating and disturbing.

In David Thomson's essay, "Charms and the Man," he discusses at length the Notorious kiss between Grant and his co-star, Ingrid Bergman. The engineered intimacy and the "links between universal voyeurism and filmmaking" are perhaps best expressed by the director in an interview conducted by Truffaut. Hitchcock confesses, "I felt [the kiss] was indispensable that they should not separate, and I also felt that the public, represented by the camera, was the third party to this embrace. The public was given the great privilege of embracing Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman together. It was a kind of temporary menage à trois" (quoted by Thomson). One sees in this an ultimate working of the Hollywood star system and the ideology manipulated by the machine: if only in illusion do we embrace the unattainable glamour of the stars, so be it only in illusion.

Grant's charms and wits may linger larger than life on screen, but it is also his spirit of camp that transcends beyond and steps outside of the frame. If we feel his speech is fast, we are experiencing the thrill of a possibility that his speech is going to be too fast to be restrained on film. In his handsome smiles that also hint at a touch of coyness and conceit and the physical as well as mental agility and quickness when "suddenly gone gay," it is tempting to look at Grant not only as a star but also as a star looking back at us and, perhaps, at filmmaking itself.

—Janet E. Lorenz, updated by Guo-Juin Hong

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Cary Grant

Cary Grant

Hollywood legend Cary Grant (1904-1986) won audiences the world over with his charm and sophistication. With a career that spanned over 72 films in forty years, Grant established himself as an icon of American film.

One of the most charming, elegant, and likeable of Hollywood leading men, Cary Grant created a light, comic style that many have tried to imitate but none have surpassed. In 72 films made over four decades, Grant served as both a romantic ideal for women and a dashing role model for men.

Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904, in Bristol, England. His parents were poor, and they quarreled often as they struggled to raise their children. Grant's father pressed trousers in a factory. When war broke out between Italy and Turkey in 1911 and England increased its production of armaments (though they weren't involved directly in the war), he temporarily moved to another town to make uniforms at higher pay.

With his father gone and an increase in the family's income, Grant and his mother enjoyed their time together. After six months, however, his father lost his job and returned to Bristol. Family life was again tense. Grant's father came home from work late, if at all, and spent his time avoiding confrontations with his wife. Although it was unknown to Grant at the time, his father had fallen in love with another woman.

Through all this, Grant found escape in the newly emerging "picture palaces." There he would lose himself in the exciting adventures of movie heroes and heroines and laugh at the comic antics of silent-screen stars.

Mother Sent to Mental Institution

At the age of ten, Grant received news that would forever change his life and influence his future relationships with women. Arriving home from school one day, Grant was told his mother had left for a seaside resort. In reality, she had been locked away in a nearby mental institution where she remained for 20 years. Grant was an adult before he learned of his mother's true whereabouts. Until then she was a topic never discussed, and Grant was left to wonder why she had abandoned him. "There was a void in my life," Grant reflected on this time, "a sadness of spirit that affected each daily activity with which I occupied myself in order to overcome it."

In later years, Grant surmised that his mother had had a nervous breakdown, having never recovered from his elder brother's death. Aged only two months, this child died as a result of convulsions brought on by gangrene. Others have speculated, however, that Grant's father locked her away because at that time divorce was costly and socially unacceptable, and he wanted to provide a home for his pregnant mistress.

In 1915 Grant won a scholarship to Fairfield Academy. There he received good grades with the exception of those in Latin and mathematics, which he disliked. He also received a reputation for playing jokes and getting in trouble. During the summer of 1916 Grant volunteered to use his Boy Scout training to help with the war effort. World War I was well under way and England needed the help of all volunteers. Grant became a messenger and errand boy at the military docks of Southampton. Here, Grant was filled with wanderlust as he watched the ships depart for new and exciting destinations. At summer's end, Grant roamed the Bristol waterfront and fantasized about a life far away.

Decides to Become an Actor

It was at the Hippodrome, Bristol's premier vaudeville theater, that Grant realized just how he would escape his working-class environment and have some adventures. After being allowed backstage during a Saturday matinee, Grant decided to become an actor. "I suddenly found my inarticulate self in a land of smiling, jostling people wearing all sorts of costumes and doing all sorts of clever things," Grant remembered. "And that's when I knew! What other life could there be but that of an actor? They happily traveled and toured. They were classless, cheerful and carefree. They gaily laughed, lived and loved."

In 1919 Grant ran away from home and joined the Bob Pender Troupe of comedians and acrobats. He was soon forced to return home when they discovered that he had lied about his age and about having his father's permission to work. At 13, Grant was a year too young to obtain a work permit and work legally. Undeterred, Grant waited until he turned 14 and then tried to get expelled from school so that his father might let him rejoin the group. Grant's plan worked.

Grant learned comedy, gymnastics, and pantomime from Pender's group. His later skill at physical comedy and timing owed much to this very early training. Grant traveled with the troupe throughout Europe and in July 1920 arrived in New York to tour the United States. When the rest of the troupe returned to England, Grant decided to stay and seek success in America. He worked as a barker on Coney Island, a stilt walker at Steeplechase Park, and in vaudeville as a straight man (the "unfunny" half of a comedy duo). He also won roles in light musicals and in plays. In 1932 Grant took the advice of actress Fay Wray and went to Hollywood to find work. After a screen test, Paramount offered Grant a contract but insisted he change his name from Archie Leach. So the more glamorous Cary Grant was chosen— and a great film career began.

Trademark Sophistication Surfaces Early

Even in his earliest film roles, Grant demonstrates the elegant sophistication that is the very opposite of his working-class background. His credentials as a traditional leading man were established with his appearances opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blond Venus (1932) and Mae West in She Done Him Wrong (1933) and I'm No Angel (1933). The full range of Grant's talent was used most successfully with the directors George Cukor, Howard Hawks, and Leo McCarey.

The perfect format for displaying Grant's verbal and physical agility was in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. These films are marked by their fast pace, unconventional characters, and absurd situations. Grant's romantic sparring with Irene Dunn in McCarey's The Awful Truth, Rosalind Russell in Hawks's His Girl Friday, and Katharine Hepburn in Cukor's Holiday and Hawks's Bringing Up Baby displayed Grant's deft comic touch. His role as the daredevil flyer in Only Angels Have Wings and his Oscar-nominated performances in Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart show that Grant was a capable dramatic actor as well, but it was in sophisticated comedy that his real strength lay. Throughout his career, Grant continued to successfully play the charming leading man, even as late as 1964, with the film Charade.

Works with Hitchcock

Although Grant's comedies represent the majority of his best-remembered roles, his work with the director Alfred Hitchcock in several classic films offers a departure from his usual image. Hitchcock deliberately played against Grant's familiar persona by introducing psychological twists that are in startling contrast to the actor's smooth surface elegance. To Catch a Thief (1955) is probably the Hitchcock film in which Grant plays a character closest to his trademark style—that of a glamorous and well-known jewel thief. In Suspicion (1941) Grant plays a seemingly loving husband who may or may not be trying to kill his wife. While Grant's wise-cracking character in North by Northwest (1959) has a surface charm, the audience gradually discovers that underneath lies a man with a basically selfish nature whose only lasting relationship is his amusing but obsessive bond with his mother.

It is in Notorious (1946), however, that Hitchcock fully uses the conflict between Grant's image and his character's personality. As Devlin, an emotionally repressed American agent, Grant sends the woman he has unwillingly come to love into the arms of a Nazi collaborator. Devlin's struggle against his attraction to this woman nearly causes her death when he blindly ignores signs that she might be in danger. The bizarre love triangle in this film hinges on the woman's attraction to Grant despite his unfeeling behavior, and his performance is both fascinating and disturbing.

Troubled Marriages

Although Grant achieved tremendous success as an actor, his personal life had some disappointments. His first four marriages ended in divorce and Grant speculated that this poor record was tied to the disappearance of his mother. "I was making the mistake of thinking that each of my wives was my mother, that there would never be a replacement after she left," he said. "I had even found myself being attracted to people who looked like my mother—she had olive skin for instance. Of course, at the same time I was getting a person with her emotional makeup, too, and I didn't need that." In 1981 Grant married Barbara Harris. This marriage was reported to be happy, and with her he was said to have found contentment. Harris was at his side when he died of a massive stroke in 1986.

Until his retirement from the screen in 1966, Grant continued to play romantic leads while other actors of his generation often found themselves cast in supporting roles and character parts. Today Grant's name remains a symbol of the stylish sophistication that was his trademark, and repeated viewings of his films reveal an actor whose ability to delight an audience is timeless.

Further Reading

Interview, January 1987.

Newsweek, December 8, 1986.

New York Times, July 3, 1977; December 1, 1986.

People, December 15, 1986.

Time, December 15, 1986. □

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Grant, Cary

Cary Grant

Born: January 18, 1904
Bristol, England

Died: November 29, 1986
Davenport, Iowa

English-born American actor

Hollywood legend Cary Grant won audiences the world over with his charm and sophistication as an actor. Grant created a light, comic style that many have tried to imitate but none have surpassed. In seventy-two films made over four decades, Grant served as both a romantic ideal for women and a dashing role model for men.

Early life as Archie Leach

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904, in Bristol, England. His parents, Elias and Elsie Leach, were poor, and they quarreled often as they struggled to raise their only child. Grant found escape from the family tension in the newly emerging "picture palaces." He recalled in a Ladies Home Journal (1963) interview that "those Saturday matinees free from parental supervision were the high point of my week."

At the age of ten Grant was told that his mother had left for a seaside resort. In reality she had been sent to a nearby mental institution for a nervous breakdown. She remained there for twenty years. Grant was an adult before he learned of his mother's true whereabouts. "There was a void in my life," Grant said of the lost time with mother, "a sadness of spirit that affected each daily activity with which I occupied myself in order to overcome it."

Decision to act

Through a scholarship Grant attended a secondary school called Fairfield Academy in Somerset, England. While at the school he became interested in the theater and in theatrical lighting. It was at the Bristol (England) Hippodrome vaudeville (traveling variety entertainment) theater that Grant realized just how he would escape his worry-filled working-class environment. After being allowed backstage during a Saturday matinee, Grant decided to become an actor. "I suddenly found my inarticulate self in a land of smiling, jostling people wearing all sorts of costumes and doing all sorts of clever things," Grant remembered. "And that's when I knew! What other life could there be but that of an actor?"

Grant ran away from home and joined the Bob Pender Troupe of comedians and acrobats. He was soon forced to return home, when it was discovered that he had lied about his age and about having his father's permission to work. At thirteen Grant was a year too young to obtain a work permit to work legally. Undeterred, he waited until he turned fourteen and then got expelled from school so that his father might let him rejoin the group.

Grant learned comedy, gymnastics, and pantomime from Pender's group. His later skill at physical comedy and timing owed much to this early training. His travels with the troupe led him to New York, where he decided to stay and seek success. Using his vaudeville skills he worked Coney Island as a stilt-walker and eventually won roles in light musicals and plays. In 1932 Grant took the advice of a friend and went to Hollywood for a screen test. Paramount offered him a contract but insisted he change his name from Archie Leach. So the more glamorous Cary Grant was chosenand a great film career began.

Trademark sophistication

Even in his earliest film roles, Grant demonstrated the elegant sophistication that is the very opposite of his working-class background. His credentials as a traditional leading man were established with his appearance opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blond Venus.

The perfect format for displaying Grant's verbal and physical agility was in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. In The Awful Truth, His Girl Friday, Holiday and Bringing Up Baby, Grant's deft comic touch is prevalent. His Oscar-nominated performances in Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart show that Grant was a capable dramatic actor as well. Throughout his career Grant continued to successfully play the charming leading man, even as late as 1964, with the film Charade.

Drama with Hitchcock

Although Grant's comedies represent the majority of his best-remembered roles, his work with the director Alfred Hitchcock in several classic films offers a departure from his usual image. Hitchcock deliberately played against Grant's familiar persona by introducing psychological twists that are in startling contrast to the actor's smooth surface elegance.

Troubled marriages

Although Grant achieved tremendous success as an actor, his first four marriages ended in divorce. Grant speculated that this poor record was tied to the disappearance of his mother. His fifth wife, Barbara Harris, was at his side when he died of a massive stroke in 1986.

Today Grant's name remains a symbol of the stylish sophistication that was his trademark, and repeated viewings of his films reveal an actor whose ability to delight an audience is timeless.

For More Information

Harris, Warren G. Cary Grant: A Touch of Elegance. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1987.

McCann, Graham. Cary Grant: A Class Apart. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Nelson, Nancy. Evenings with Cary Grant: Recollections in His Own Words and by Those Who Knew Him Best. New York, NY: W. Morrow, 1991.

Wansell, Geoffrey. Cary Grant: Dark Angel. New York: Arcade Pub., 1996.

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Grant, Cary

Cary Grant, 1904–86, British movie actor, b. Bristol as Archibald Alexander Leach. He began on stage in 1923 and made his first film in 1932. An almost immediate hit, Grant was a leading star until his retirement in 1966, embodying debonair British charm and elegance in a broad range of comic and romantic roles. Among his films are She Done Him Wrong (1932), The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Holiday (1938), His Girl Friday (1940), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), North by Northwest (1959), and Charade (1963).

See J. Grant, Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant (2011); biographies by A. Govoni (1972), C. Higham (1986), G. McCann (1997), and M. Eliot (2004).

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"Grant, Cary." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Grant, Cary

Grant, Cary (1904–86) US film actor, b. Britain as Archibald Leach. A handsome and charming actor, he specialized in playing romantic leads. Grant's films include sophisticated comedies such as Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940), and stylish thrillers such as North by Northwest (1959).

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"Grant, Cary." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Grant, Cary." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/grant-cary

"Grant, Cary." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/grant-cary