Grant, Cary (1904–1986)

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Cary Grant (1904–1986)

Cary Grant (born Alexander Archibald Leach) was one of the most sophisticated and appealing of male motion-picture stars from the golden age of cinema. In the early 1930s, he first gained fame on-screen playing romantic leading men in light dramas and comedies such as I'm No Angel (1933) and The Awful Truth (1937). By the close of the 1930s, he had gained success in screwball comedy, a popular kind of escapist humor. Screwball comedies feature attractive, often eccentric characters who act with an unusual sense of abandon. Grant's most notable such film was Bringing Up Baby (1938).

Whatever role he played, Grant was adored by female film-goers for his handsome face—dark eyes, tanned complexion, and famous cleft chin. Male audience members admired him for his classy style and off- and on-screen ability to charm his female costars. Many young men emulated Grant's clean-cut, sophisticated look. His voice combined lower-class British Cockney tones that were the remains of a poverty-stricken childhood spent in Bristol, England, with an American accent. His unique style of speaking was often imitated by comedians.

The actor's sophistication, combined with uncommon good looks that lasted well into his senior years, made the name of Cary Grant a household word for manly charm and sex appeal. Grant is best remembered for the films Notorious (1946), North by Northwest (1959), and An Affair to Remember (1957), among many others.

—Audrey Kupferberg

For More Information

Descher, Donald. The Films of Cary Grant. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1973.

Feldman, Gene, and Suzette Winter, producer and writer. Cary Grant, the Leading Man (video). New York: Brighton Video, 1988.

Higham, Charles. Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.