10 Things You Never Knew About Cary Grant, Hollywood’s Greatest Leading Man

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

Cary Grant.

What words come to mind when you hear that name?

Elegance, modesty, genius, charm, style, and handsomeness — these are just the first few I can think of.

Cary was born in 1904 in Bristol, the U.K. He is considered by some as the greatest Hollywood actor of all time. He had an ease on camera that no one else had ever been able to accomplish at the time and, if you’re asking me, that no one has been able to accomplish since.

His critics and colleagues alike constantly praised him for his incredible timing and natural affability. Cary didn’t act like he was the most handsome man in the room, even though he was.

He was humble in every sense of the word, and that made him universally beloved, up until the day he died in 1986.

But what about his earlier career, and his life behind the camera?

These 10 things about the late Cary Grant will make you feel even closer to Hollywood’s greatest leading man.

Please SHARE if you’re a huge Cary Grant fan, too!

1. His Name Wasn't Actually Cary Grant


Cary’s birth name was Archibald Alexander Leach. I can see why he changed it for Hollywood!

2. He Started Performing Young

young cary grant

Cary got the itch to get on stage at the early age of 6. He began performing with a troupe called “The Penders,” a group with which he would later travel to the U.S.

Even earlier, his mother began teaching him song and dance at the tender age of 4. That was the beginning of a long and very successful career.

3. He Was A Troublemaker


Although Cary did well in school, he liked to kick up a fuss in the classroom. His teachers at Fairfield Grammar School (pictured above) in Bristol remembered him as a “scruffy little boy” who was always making noise and not doing his homework.

At 14, he was expelled from school for (allegedly) sneaking into the girls’ restroom.

4. He Became An American Citizen In 1942

american citizen cary

At the age of 38, Cary became an official citizen of the United States and solidified himself as a bona fide Hollywood-based frontman.

5. He Found A Role Model In Zeppo Marx


During his early years in the states, Cary was very fond of the Marx Brothers. He found a main inspiration in Zeppo Marx (bottom).

Cary was later praised for his incredible comedic timing, and even considered the greatest comedic actor to ever appear on television, according to Premiere.

6. He Couldn't Nab An Academy Award Or Golden Globe For One Of His Movies

no awards

This is a travesty, because Cary definitely deserved one if not all of the awards for which he was nominated, which were a lot. He was nominated for Best Actor by the Academy twice, for Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Heart. He was also nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes five times.

However, almost more impressively, he received an honorary Academy Award in 1970, with the inscription reading, “To Cary Grant, for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting, with the respect and affection of his colleagues.”

7. He Donated An Entire Paycheck To The British War Effort


He donated all of his paycheck from the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story to the British war effort. Four years later, he donated his $100,000 paycheck from Arsenic and Old Lace to the U.S. War Relief Fund.

8. He Turned Down The Opportunity To Be James Bond


Cary turned down the chance to play the spy in the 1962 film Dr. No because he thought he was too old at 58. Though I think that’s poppycock, I still respect his decision.

9. He Won The Role Of Roger Thornhill Over James Stewart

9. He Won The Role Of Roger Thornhill Over James Stewart

Alfred Hitchcock considered Jimmy, but ultimately decided not to go with his Vertigo star. It turns out that the director blamed the movie’s box office failure on Jimmy looking a bit old. So, even though Cary was four years older than Jimmy, he was cast in North by Northwest instead.

While I love them both, I couldn’t picture the film any other way.

10. He Retired For His Daughter

10. He Retired For His Daughter

Cary first became a father at the age of 62 with his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon. He wanted to give his daughter, Jennifer, all the love and attention that she deserved. He saw her as the greatest thing he ever created, so much better than all of his movies.

He didn’t have the most stable childhood and he wanted to give his beloved progeny everything that he didn’t have, so he retired from show business to divert all of his attention to his little girl.

Did you know any of this about the beloved star? Please SHARE with family and friends on Facebook!