5 Things You May Not Know About Cary Grant
Like that today is his birthday. Happy 111th Birthday to the legend Cary Grant.
1) He wasn’t actually Cary Grant…
Cary Grant or Archibald Leach? You decide.
Cary Grant. The name just rolls off the tongue. It sounds almost as smooth and debonair as the way Cary Grant acts. It might surprise you, then, to learn that Cary Grant isn’t Cary Grant. When the actor, now famously remembered as Cary Grant, was born, he was born with the name Archibald Leach. Yup. Little Archie Leach. When he arrived in Hollywood in 1931, the studio execs at Paramount immediately ordered a name change for the UK born actor. And thus Cary Grant was born. Archie Leach liked the name so much that he legally changed it to Cary Grant in 1941.
2) He had a troubled childhood…
Despite his worldly, wealthy, and sophisticated screen persona, Grant’s formative years were anything but. His father was a womanizer and his mother an emotionally unstable woman who long suffered from crippling clinical depression. Although she had high hopes for her only child, the young Cary Grant did little to distinguish himself while attending Bishop Road Primary School. At the age of 9, Grant was informed by his father that his mother had taken a “long holiday,” when in reality he had placed her in a mental institution. Grant would spend the next twenty years believing the lie, until his father confessed the truth on his deathbed. Soon after placing Elsie in the asylum, his father would remarry much to his son’s dismay. Fed up with his Dickensian life, at age 13 Grant left his insufferable environment to join a troupe of traveling acrobats.
3) His first love wasn’t acting…
Maybe it was this dog?
Yes, just like many other classic film stars, Grant’s first taste of performance wasn’t on the sound stage, but On the vaudeville circuit. At the tender age of 13, Grant left his unhappy household to join the Bob Pender Troupe, a traveling group of vaudeville comedians. While part of the troupe, Grant focused on acrobatics, tumbling, and vaudeville, which allowed him to gain a strong sense of kinesthetics and comedic timing. The group traveled to American in 1920, successfully touring the country for two years. When the Troupe was ready to return to the UK, Grant decided to stay in America, working as a circus performer for the next decade in places such as Coney Island.
4) His wartime efforts…
In the 1940s Hollywood became heavily involved with the World War II effort. Many stars left their comfortable careers and joined the armed forces while others danced away at the Hollywood Canteen. Although Grant was unable to fight “over there,” he did join the war effort in a big way. How so? Well, with dollars — and lots of them. First by donating his entire $137,000 salary from The Philadelphia Story to the British War Relief Fund and then by donating his entire salary from Arsenic and Old Lace, $100,000, to the U.S War relief fund. In 2015 money, that’s more 3.5 million dollars.
5) He was almost James Bond…
Yes, that’s right. The suavest character to ever grace the big screen was almost played by the suavest actor. The producers of Dr. No sought out Cary Grant for the Role of James Bond. However, when Grant learned the role would be part of a franchise and thus had to commit to more than one film, he declined.
Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub