Messy Facts About Cary Grant, The Iconic Leading Man

Archie Leach was a little boy who ran away from home, joined a vaudeville troupe, and transformed himself into the suave Hollywood actor we now know as Cary Grant.

With his debonair manners and deep voice, Grant has gone down in cinema history as one of our greatest stars. But off screen, his life was as messy as they get.

From family secrets to fiery affairs, you're going to want to buckle in for this one: Here's the real story of Cary Grant.

1. His Mother Vanished

When Grant was just nine years old, his mother disappeared out of his life. At first, Grant's father Elias said that his mom was away at a seaside resort, but after time passed, he revealed the truth: Grant's mother had passed.

Grant was devastated at this horrible loss, but his father seemed to rally quickly. He moved him and his young son into his grandmother's house, where he proceeded to party every day.

2. He Had An Unhappy Upbringing

Life at Grant's grandmother’s house wasn’t all that much better than it had been when his mom was around. His dad Elias was always away, shacking up with his new girlfriend, who he married when Grant was 10.

Meanwhile, Grant's grandmother was cold. They didn’t get along, leaving Grant devoid of affection from his only parental figures left. He'd seek solace at the one place he felt accepted: the movie theater.

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3. He Inspired An Iconic Character

Here's how you know you're suave: Cary Grant helped inspire the character of James Bond. The author Ian Fleming took inspiration from Cary Grant's roles in thrillers like Notorious when he came up with the super-spy. When it came time to cast Bond, producers even offered the role to Grant. Grant respectfully declined, saying he felt that at 60 he was too old to play a womanizing secret agent. His rejection freed up the part for Sean Connery.

Sean Connery as James Bond.

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4. He Ran Away And Joined The Circus

When he was just 14, Grant heard that the Pender Troupe of comedians was hiring a new member. He immediately applied, lying about his age and faking his father’s signature.

Without his family's knowledge, Grant started touring with the acrobatic troupe, learning how to stilt-walk, pantomime, and stage-tumble. When his father eventually found out, he didn't take his son's new interest very well.

He dragged Grant home by the ear and forced his son to return to school. But it would take more than that to get Grant away from the spotlight.

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