This Is the Night
Sinners in the Sun
Merrily We Go to Hell
Devil and the Deep
The Woman Accused
The Eagle and the Hawk
I’m No Angel
Alice in Wonderland
Born to Be Bad
Kiss and Make-Up
Ladies Should Listen
Wings in the Dark
The Last Outpost
Big Brown Eyes
The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss
When You’re in Love
The Toast of New York
The Howards of Virginia
Once Upon a Honeymoon
Once Upon a Time
Every Girl Should Be Married
People Will Talk
Room for One More
The Pride and the Passion
Kiss Them for Me
Cary Grant: Learn more about him, review his filmography and more
Cary Grant grew up in Bristol, England, as Archie Leach, the son of a clothing presser and a homemaker.His father abandoned the family for a job in Southampton. When Archie was 10 years old, he was told that his mother had died. Actually, his father had her committed to a sanitarium.
At the age of 13, he started hanging around a local theatre and doing odd jobs. He joined a group of traveling performers however, his father demanded that he return to school, so his first attempt at a career in theatre was short-lived.
A year later he was expelled from school and, with his father permission this time, Archie rejoined the group of traveling performers. He toured with the group for two years before going out on his own while the group was performing in New York City in 1920. He struggled to make it in show business for several years.
In the late 1920s, he appeared in several productions on Broadway. In 1931, he landed the lead in a musical with Fay Wray called Nikki. Even though the musical didn’t have a very long run, it did garner him enough praise to land him a role in the short film Singapore Sue. This got him some interest from the studios so he moved to Los Angeles.
Grant landed a contract with Paramount Studios, and took on a new identity. Archie Leach became Cary Grant at the studio’s request. He made his first feature film, This Is The Night, in 1932, and more roles on soon followed. Grant starred opposite such famed leading ladies as Marlene Dietrich and Mae West.
By the late 1930s, Grant had become an established leading man in Hollywood. He appeared in a variety of movies, from war dramas to mysteries to comedies. His career, however, reached new heights starting in 1937, with Topper. In this screwball comedy, Grant played a sophisticated ghost who, along with his late wife, decides to haunt an old friend.
Grant made some of his greatest films around this time; such comedies as The Awful Truth (1937) with Irene Dunne and The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. In many of his roles, Grant played a similar type—a man with wit and polish. He did, however, occasionally try to defy the audience’s expectations of him. He played a potentially lethal husband opposite Joan Fontaine in the 1941 thriller Suspicion, which marked his first film with director and master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. In Penny Serenade (1941), Grant balanced humor with grief as a husband who experiences both joy and heartbreak in his marriage. His work in the film netted him an Academy Award nomination.
His greatest dramatic leap was in 1944’s None but the Lonely Heart. Directed and co-written by Clifford Odets, the film featured Grant as a wandering prodigal son who returns home to help his sick mother (Ethel Barrymore). He picked up his second Academy Award nomination for this now mostly forgotten film.
By the early 1940s, Grant became one of the first actors to land status as a free agent, choosing not to be under contract to one of the many film studios that ruled Hollywood at the time. Instead, he picked his own parts, becoming increasingly selective about what roles he’d take. One of his first decisions as a free agent was to appear in another Hitchcock film—1946’s Notorious. Starring opposite Ingrid Bergman, Grant played an American agent on the trail of some neo-Nazis. Grant also appeared in several comedies, including 1947’s The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and 1949’s I Was a Male War Bride.
Two of Grant’s most memorable later roles had him once again working with the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. He played a reformed criminal accused of a robbery he didn’t commit in 1955’s To Catch a Thief. In the film, Grant starred opposite Grace Kelly. Hitchcock then put Grant through his paces in 1959’s North by Northwest. opposite Eva Marie Saint. As an advertising man who gets mixed up in murder and espionage, his character is on the run from sinister forces and battling for his life.
Grant also teamed up with Audrey Hepburn for the 1963 humorous and romantic thriller Charade, which gently poked fun at the genre. For his final film, Walk Don’t Run (1966), he had moved from romantic lead to mature matchmaker in this comedy. Grant retired from film-making after this movie.
After he quite acting, Grant still appeared in public. He became a director of the Fabergé company and served as the fragrance firm’s brand ambassador, traveling around to promote its products.
Grant received numerous honors for his contributions to film in his later years, including a special Academy Award in 1970 for his “unique mastery of the art of screen acting.” In 1981, he earned the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for Career Achievement in the Performing Arts. Grant agreed to a special public appearance in Davenport, Iowa, on November 29, 1986, but he never made it to the theater that night having suffered a fatal stroke in his hotel room.
Unlike his suave film characters, Grant seemed to struggle in his romantic life off-screen. He was married five times, and went through four divorces. Several of his ex-wives described him as controlling. His fourth wife, actress Dyan Cannon, said that he tried to tell her what to wear. She has also claimed that he forced her to take then-legal LSD, with him. She later explained that Grant took LSD as “a gateway to peace inside himself.” Cannon wrote about their marriage in 2011’s Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant.
While his romantic relationships may have been troubled, Grant was an attentive father. He only had one child, a daughter Jennifer, who was born in 1966, with wife Dyan Cannon. Grant became a doting and adoring parent. After he and Cannon divorced, Grant spent as much time as he could with his daughter. Jennifer Grant told the world what it was like to be the screen legend’s child in her 2011 memoir Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant.