Cary Grant - Details


Once told by an interviewer "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant". Grant is said to have replied: "So would I." His early years in Bristol, England, would have been an ordinary lower middle class childhood except for one extraordinary event. At age 9, he came home from school one day and was told his mother had gone off to a seaside resort. She was in a mental institution for years and he never was told. From the age of 9 until his late 20s, he didn't see his mother at all. He left school at 14, lying about his age and forging his father's signature on a letter to join Bob Pender's troupe of knockabout comedians. He learned pantomime as well as acrobatics as he toured with the Pender troupe in the English provinces, picked up a cockney accent in the music halls in London, and then in July 1920 he was one of the eight Pender boys selected to go to America. Their show on Broadway, "Good Times", ran for 456 performances, giving Grant time to acclimatize. He would stay in America. The opening Hollywood chapter is titled "She Done Him Right". Mae West wanted Grant for She Done Him Wrong (1933), because Grant combined virility with the aura and bearing of a gentleman. Grant was young enough to begin the new career of fatherhood when he stopped making movies at age 62. One biographer said Grant was alienated by the new realism in the film industry. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he had invented a man of the world persona and a style -- "high comedy with polished words". In To Catch a Thief (1955) he and Grace Kelly were allowed to improvise some of the dialogue. They knew what the director, Alfred Hitchcock, wanted to do with a scene, they rehearsed it, put in some clever double entendres that got past the censors, and then the scene was filmed. His biggest box office success was another Hitchcock 1950s film, North by Northwest (1959) made with Eva Marie Saint since Kelly was by that time Princess of Monaco.


  • 18th January 1904 - Birth
  • 29th November 1986 - Death