Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Cary Grant Story

By Danny Hoover

In was back in 1904 in Horfield, Bristol that Archibald Alexander Leach was brought into this world. Most people know him now as Cary Grant. His childhood was fairly normal for a middle class family in England but tragedy was to strike his home when he was only 9 as his mother fell gravely ill with a mental condition. When he turned 14, he left school and joined a comedic troupe which was led by Bob Pender after lying about how old he was and signing his father's signature.

He was able to learn many talents while touring with Bob Pender's troupe including acrobatics and pantomime. While he was with this troupe, he was able to see the vast majority of England but in his heart he knew that he was destined for something greater that could only lay in America. He was chosen along with 6 others from the troupe - 7 boys in total - to perform in the Broadway musical, Good Times.

By 1931, he chose to leave the troupe and made his way out to California where he was able to get a screen test at Paramount Pictures. It was at this time that he was to change his name to Cary Grant because it was simpler and more sophisticated. He debuted on the big screen in the movie This is the Night which appeared in 1932.

Thanks to Mae West, over the next year Cary would appear in two more films, She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel, but his big break would not actually come along until 1935 when he co-stared along side of Katherine Hepburn in the movie entitled Sylvia Scarlett. This was finally the real break Cary Grant had been looking for.

Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn made a perfect duo so it was no coincidence that many of his future movies featured the two of them together. In 1937 his Paramount Pictures contract had expired and he chose to be independent rather then under a contract allowing him to chose the movies he would play in. Thanks to this move, he was able to create some of the best comedy movies ever, along side of Katherine.

It was when Cary turned 62 that he chose to retire from the films. He left the industry to live his life and to be a father as well as a husband. Although on screen he was definitely a charmer, off screen was a different story as he was married 5 times. The memories of his classical comedies live on in the hearts of many people today even after his death. It was November of 1986 that Cary Grant would pass away from a stroke leaving his only daughter and 5th wife behind. - 16651

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