Once told by a reporter, “Everybody would like to be Cary Grant.” The ever humble Grant replied, “I would like to be Cary Grant.”
In 1962, a few years before retiring, it was reported that he had once received a telegram from a magazine editor asking him “HOW OLD CARY GRANT?” Grant was reported to have responded with “OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?”
The handsome, charasmatic, and debonair leading man with the mid-Atlantic accent we all know as Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach, on January 18, 1904 in Bristol, England. He quit school at the age of 14 and joined the “Bob Pender stage troupe” in 1918. He traveled with the group to America in 1920 at age 16. After the troup’s two year tour was over, Grant decided to stay in the United States rather than return to England. Still using his birth name he performed on stage at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri. After some success doing comedies on Broadway he went to Hollywood in 1931 where he starting using the name Cary Lockwood. He signed with Paramont Pictures, and while the studio bosses were impressed with him, they were less than impressed with his stage name. They decided Cary was acceptable, but Lockwood would have to go. After looking through a list of studio preferred names, the name Cary Grant was born. Supposedly, Grant chose the name because the initials, C and G had proved lucky for Clark Gable and Gary Cooper who were already two of Hollywood’s leading stars. With the name Cary Grant he went on to star in over 75 movies, becoming one of the greatest actors of all time. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. While he never won he was awarded an Honorary Award at the 42nd Academy Awards for ” “for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues”. In his Honorary Oscar acceptance speech Cary Grant said, “You know that I may never look at this without remembering the quiet patience of directors who were so kind to me, who were kind enough to put up with me more than once, some of them even three or four times. I trust they and all the other directors, writers and producers and my leading women have forgiven me for what I didn’t know. You know that I’ve never been a joiner or a member of any particular social set, but I’ve been privileged to be a part of Hollywood’s most glorious era.” In 1999 he was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time of American cinema, after Humphrey Bogart by the American Film Institute.
Cary Grant and Charlton Heston once attended a dinner at 10 Downing Street honoring the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whom they both greatly admired. Afterward Heston said to his wife Lydia, “You know I sat next to Mrs Thatcher.” She replied, “That’s nothing – I got to sit next to Cary Grant!”.