Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach in Bristol England in 1904. His parents were not rich, and his father Elias was a heavy drinker. When Archie is 11, his father has his mother Elsie committed to a mental asylum. Archie is told that she has gone away on holiday, but she never returns. His life begins to fall apart. He truants from school and spends much of his days on the Bristol docks amongst the sailors and prostitutes. Salvation comes at the local Hippodrome Theatre, where he joins the Bob Pender acrobatic troupe. He becomes a stilt-walker, and discovers a natural ability for acrobatics. It’s a talent that he continues to draw on later in his life.
Archie travels to New York with the Pender Troupe. When they leave America, he stays, and aged 18 he tries to make a life for himself, landing small parts on Broadway in musicals, rising to leading man in the early 1930s. He moves to Hollywood and is put under contract by Paramount, making more than 25 films in 5 years. Eventually the Cary Grant persona is born. As a freelance and able to pick and choose his roles, he works with directors Leo McCarey and Howard Hawks, becoming the master of screwball comedy in films like The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. In the 1940’s Alfred Hitchcock sees the darker side of Grant, and together they make Suspicion and Notorious, two of his best performances.
In the 1950’s Grant becomes bored with the movies, and still in search of peace of mind, he begins to take LSD as a course of therapy. In parallel begins the second great phase of his film career, with North By Northwest, Charade, and a string of his most financially successful movies.
Grant was married 5 times. With Dyan Cannon he has a daughter, Jennifer, and he decides to retire from the movies to focus his love and attention on her. In 1981 he marries Barbara Harris, and enjoys great happiness in his final years, until his death in 1986.