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15 Hughenden Rd, Bristol BS8 2TT, Regno Unito
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Cary Grant (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986) (born Archibald Alexander Leach) was an English stage and Hollywood film actor who became an American citizen in 1942. Randolph Scott was an American film actor whose career spanned from 1928 to 1962. They met in 1932 when they were cast together in Hot Saturday. They lived together for many years in Los Angeles. Their home was featured in an issue of Architectural Digest that showed legendary Hollywood stars at home. After that, the house was dabbed “Bachelor Hall” (recently sold in 2006 for more or less 4 million dollars.) They both married but remained close ever afterward. Toward the end of their lives, Scott and Grant were often seen together, on one occasion holding hands late at night in the Polo Lounge, alone except for the waiters. Scott died little more than 3 months after Grant.
Grant was born Archibald Alec Leach[a] on January 18, 1904 at 15 Hughenden Road in the northern Bristol suburb of Horfield. He was the second child of Elias James Leach (1873–1935) and Elsie Maria Leach (née Kingdon; 1877–1973). Elias worked as a tailor's presser at a clothes factory while Elsie worked as a seamstress. Grant's elder brother, John William Elias Leach (1899–1900), died of tuberculous meningitis. Grant considered himself to have been partly Jewish.[b] He had an unhappy upbringing; his father was an alcoholic, and his mother suffered from clinical depression.
Wanting the best for her son, Elsie taught Grant song and dance when he was four, and was keen on him having piano lessons. Grant entered education when he was four-and-a-half and was sent to the Bishop Road Primary School, Bristol.
In 1915, Grant won a scholarship to attend Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol, although his father could barely afford to pay for the uniform. With his good looks and acrobatic talents Grant became a popular figure among both girls and boys. Able at most academic subjects,[d] he excelled at sports, particularly fives; he developed a reputation for mischief, and frequently refused to do his homework. A former classmate referred to him as a "scruffy little boy", while an old teacher remembered "the naughty little boy who was always making a noise in the back row and would never do his homework". His evenings were spent working backstage in Bristol theatres, and in 1917, at the age of 13, he was responsible for the lighting for the magician David Devant at the Bristol Empire. Grant began hanging around backstage at the theatre at every opportunity. In the summer he volunteered for work as a messenger boy and guide at the military docks in Southampton, to escape the unhappiness of his home life. The time spent at Southampton strengthened his desire to travel; he was eager to leave Bristol and tried to sign on as a ship's cabin boy, but learned he was too young.
Hughenden Road, Bristol
Bishop Road Primary School, Bristol
Warwick Hotel, NYC, NY
The Savoy, London
On March 13, 1918, Grant was expelled from Fairfield. Several explanations were given, including being discovered in the girls' lavatory, and assisting two other classmates with theft in the nearby town of Almondsbury. Wansell claims that Grant had set out intentionally to get himself expelled from school to pursue a career in entertainment with the troupe.
Grant rejoined Pender's troupe three days after being expelled from Fairfield. Elias now had a better paying job in Southampton; Grant's expulsion from the school brought local authorities to his door with questions about why his son was living in Bristol and not with his father in Southampton. Upon learning that his son was once again with the Pender troupe, Elias co-signed a three-year contract between his son and Pender. The contract stipulated Grant's weekly salary along with room and board, as well as dancing lessons and other training for his profession until the age of 18. There was also a provision in the contract for salary rises based on job performance.
By 1921 Orry-Kelly was working as a tailor's assistant in the garment district, selling hand painted neckties as a sideline. It was about this time that he met a 17 years old vaudeville acrobat by the name of Archie Leach (later Cary Grant). Within a few months they were sharing a Greenwich Village loft, just behind the present site of the Cherry Lane Theater. Their third roommate was Charlie Phelps, who, as Charlie Spangles, played in drag at the Metropole Club. Archie Leach and Orry-Kelly lived together, on and off, for the next nine years, until Archie left for Hollywood in January 1932. Orry would tell friends that they were lovers for some of that time. Orry's press of the 1930s and 1940s rarely mentions his friendship with Grant, and never revealed that they'd lived together in New York City. Only in the 1960s did Orry allow himself to admit the connection. At a showing of his paintings in New York, Orry included in his artist biography the fact that young Archie Leach once helped him paint "lecherous frogs" on murals in Greenwich Village speakeasies.
One of the wealthiest stars in Hollywood, Grant owned houses in Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Palm Springs. He was immaculate in his personal grooming, and Edith Head, the renowned Hollywood costume designer, appreciated his "meticulous" attention to detail and considered him to have had the greatest fashion sense of any actor she had worked with. McCann attributed his "almost obsessive maintenance" with tanning, which deepened the older he got, to Douglas Fairbanks, who also had a major influence on his refined sense of dress. McCann notes that because Grant came from a working-class background and was not well educated, he made a particular effort over the course of his career to mix with high society and absorb their knowledge, manners and etiquette to compensate and cover it up. His image was meticulously crafted from the early days in Hollywood, where he would frequently sunbathe and avoid being photographed smoking, despite smoking two packs a day at the time. Grant quit smoking in the early 1950s through hypnotherapy. He remained health conscious, staying very trim and athletic even into his late career, though Grant admitted he "never crook[ed] a finger to keep fit". He claimed that he did "everything in moderation. Except making love."
Grant's daughter Jennifer stated that her father made hundreds of friends from all walks of life, and that their house was frequently visited by the likes of Frank and Barbara Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Gregory Peck and his wife Veronique, Johnny Carson and his wife, Kirk Kerkorian and Merv Griffin. She said that Grant and Sinatra were the closest of friends and that both men were remarkably similar in that they both shared a similar radiance and "indefinable incandescence of charm", and were eternally "high on life". While raising Jennifer, Grant archived artifacts of her childhood and adolescence in a bank-quality, room-sized vault he had installed in the house. Jennifer attributed this meticulous collection to the fact that artifacts of his own childhood had been destroyed during the Luftwaffe's bombing of Bristol in the Second World War (an event that also claimed the lives of his uncle, aunt, cousin, and the cousin's husband and grandson), and he may have wanted to prevent her from experiencing a similar loss.
Grant lived with actor Randolph Scott off and on for 12 years, which some claimed was a gay relationship. The two met early on in Grant's career in 1932 at the Paramount studio when Scott was filming Sky Bride while Grant was shooting Sinners in the Sun, and moved in together soon afterwards. Scott's biographer Robert Nott states that there is no evidence that Grant and Scott were homosexual, and blames rumors on material written about them in other books. Grant's daughter, Jennifer, also denied the claims. When Chevy Chase joked on television in 1980 that Grant was a "homo. What a gal!", Grant sued him for slander, and Chase was forced to retract his words.
Grant was married five times. In 1934, just as the Hays Code was put solidly into place and the campaign against pansies both on- and off-screen had reached its peak, Grant left the home he shared with Randolph Scott and married actress Virginia Cherrill. From the start, their marriage was a disaster: the once-carefree Grant, as light and bubbly aas his on-screen portrayals, attempted suicide after only a few months. She divorced him on March 26, 1935, following charges that Grant had hit her. The two were involved in a bitter divorce case which was widely reported in the press, with Cherrill demanding $1000 a week from her husband in benefits from his Paramount earnings. Freed by his divorce, Grant'd go back to living with Scott.
The gay scene was documented in the 1930s by Jerome Zerbe, who spent "three gay months" (his words) in the movie colony. Fascinating are his many photos of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, attesting to their involvement in the gay scene: Scott arriving at a party at Zerbe's apartment, several lovely poses of Grant in a bathing suit. Zerbe often stayed with Grant and Scott, finding them both warm, charming, and happy. He'd later confide to several friends that he had affairs with both of them. Zerbe's photographs of the Countess Dorothy di Frasso's party in the summer of 1935, however, remain the most intriguing. The writer Brendan Gill would recount a tale as told to him by Zerbe, in which the countess, known for her malicious sense of humor, secured recording devices to the undersides of all her garden benches. On the day of her party, the wily countess nailed some pretty incriminating tales from her unsuspecting guests. Zerbe's photographs documented the party, and reveal the guests to have all been part of the "sophisticated" clique. Although Cary Grant arrived with perennial date Betty Furness, he posed jauntily with William Haines, George Cukor, and Clifton Webb; Claudette Colbert mugged playfully next to Marlene Dietrich, refuting for posterity charges that they barely knew each other. In one shot, Zerbe captured Colbert taking home movie of Dietrich. A few weeks later, the countess invited the same group back for another party. Gill reported: "She played back for them the indiscreet conversations they had carried on in the supposed privacy of the garden. The prank was not well received." Indeed Photoplay's pseudonymous "Cal York" (perhaps at this point the gay writer Jerry Asher) reported that di Frasso received five urgent (York's emphasis) pleadings from unnamed persons to not play the recordings at her next party, or ever again.
Mr. Blackwell, still as Dick Ellis, spent a few months living with Grant and Scott, considering them "deeply, madly in love, their devotion complete... Behind closed doors they were warm, kind, loving and caring, and unembarrassed about showing it."
The Grant-Scott cohabitation would finally be severed permanently by new marriages for both of them, although they remained friends for the rest of their lives. Grant's biographer, Roy Moseley, interviewed the maitre d' at the Beverly Hillcrest Hotel who recalled seeing the two of them in the 1970s, now old and white-haired, sitting in the back of the restaurants, late at night, after all the other diners had left. They were holding hands.
Filmed in the summer and fall of 1935, Sylvia Scarlett, by a novel of Compton Mackenzie, was the story of a girl (Katharine Hepburn) disguised as a boy who teams up with a con man (Cary Grant) and falls in love for an artist. It was Hepburn's idea. She brought the story to George Cukor; he liked its naughty challenge to traditional male-female relationships. For screenwriter, they engaged John Collier, a British novelist recently brought to Hollywood. It was a sympatico collaboration, despite the fact that Collier was straight. "He was fascinated, just fascinated, by the queer world," said Don Bachardy, who, with his lover Christopher Isherwood, often hosted Collier at their Santa Monica home. "He wasn't the least bit gay, but he'd pump Chris for information about parties or dates he'd gone on."
After the demise of his first marriage, Grant dated actress Phyllis Brooks from 1937. They had considered marriage, and vacationed together in Europe in mid-1939, visiting the Roman villa of Dorothy di Frasso in Italy, before the relationship ended later that year.
In 1938 Rupert Barneby and Dwight Ripley rented a house at 330 North Bristol, an imposing Spanish-style residence in the Brentwood setion of Los Angeles. From their house at #330, Barneby discovered they could look down with binoculars on neighbour Cary Grant. Noël Coward’s staying with our Cary, a ce qu’il parait, so that’s one question settled, he announced.
Grant became a naturalized United States citizen on June 26, 1942, at which time he also legally changed his name to "Cary Grant". At the time of his naturalization, he listed his middle name as "Alexander" rather than "Alec".
That year he married Barbara Hutton, one of the wealthiest women in the world following a $50 million inheritance from her grandfather, Frank Winfield Woolworth. The couple was derisively nicknamed "Cash and Cary", although in an extensive prenuptial agreement Grant refused any financial settlement in the event of a divorce, to avoid the accusation that he married for money.[z] Towards the end of their marriage they lived in a white mansion at 10615 Bellagio Road in Bel Air.
While filming Arsenic and Old Lace in 1944, the only film of Cary Grant's for which Orry did the costumes, costar Priscilla Lane observed the two as decidedly unfriendly. George James Hopkins, who new Orry well, recalled in his memoirs a possible reason for that unfriendliness. "Although Orry hadn't seen Grant in years," Hopkins wrote, "he still considered him his friend." But that first day on the set, a radio game show had brought one of its winners for a tour. On the show's limousine was painted the title: Queen for a day. Spotting it, Grant turned to Orry and quipped: "Your limousine is waiting outside." Orry, who could apparently dish out better than he could take it, was infuriated. Hopkins wrote, "He resented the insinuation from a man many considered a deadbeat."
After divorcing Barbara Hutton in 1945, they remained the "fondest of friends". After dating Betty Hensel for a period, on December 25, 1949, Grant married Betsy Drake, the co-star of two of his films. This would prove to be his longest marriage, ending on August 14, 1962.
Leonard Spigelgass wrote I Was a Male War Bride (1949) for Fox, light, crisp, and more than a little campy. Cary Grant in drag, trying to accompany WAC wife Ann Sheridan back to the US, is a hoot.
Grant married Dyan Cannon on July 22, 1965, at friend Howard Hughes' Desert Inn in Las Vegas. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born on February 26, 1966. Jennifer is Grant's only child. He frequently called Jennifer his "best production". He said of fatherhood: "My life changed the day Jennifer was born. I've come to think that the reason we're put on this earth is to procreate. To leave something behind. Not films, because you know that I don't think my films will last very long once I'm gone. But another human being. That's what's important." Grant and Cannon divorced in March 1968. On March 12 that month he was involved in a car accident on Long Island when a truck struck the side of his limousine. Grant was hospitalized for 17 days with three broken ribs and bruising.
Grant had a brief affair with self-proclaimed actress Cynthia Bouron in the late 1960s. Grant, who had been at odds with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1958, was named as the recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 1970. Grant announced that he would attend the awards ceremony to accept his award, thus ending his twelve-year boycott of the ceremony. Two days after this announcement, Bouron filed a paternity suit against Grant and publicly stated he was the father of her seven-week-old daughter.[aa] Bouron named Grant as the father on the child's birth certificate. Grant challenged her to a blood test and Bouron failed to provide one, and the court ordered her to remove his name from the certificate.[ab] Between 1973 and 1977 he dated British photojournalist Maureen Donaldson, followed by the much younger Victoria Morgan.
On April 11, 1981, Grant married Barbara Harris, a British hotel public relations agent who was 47 years his junior. The two had met at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London five years earlier where Harris was working at the time and Grant attending a Fabergé conference. The two became friends, but it was not until 1979 that she moved to live with him in California. Friends of Grant considered her to have had an extremely positive impact on him, and Prince Rainier of Monaco remarked that Grant had "never been happier" than he was in his last years with her.
Grant was at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, on the afternoon of November 29, 1986, preparing for his performance in A Conversation with Cary Grant when he was taken ill. Though his close friend Roderick Mann recalled that he had met up with Grant at the Hollywood Park Racetrack earlier that month and he had been in a jovial state and in good health, Grant had been feeling unwell as he arrived at the theatre. Basil Williams, who photographed him there, thought that though Grant still looked his usual suave self, he noticed that he seemed very tired and that he stumbled once in the auditorium. Williams recalls that Grant rehearsed for half an hour before "something seemed wrong" all of a sudden, and he disappeared backstage. Grant was taken back to the Blackhawk Hotel where he and his wife Barbara had checked in, and a doctor was called and discovered that Grant was having a massive stroke, with a blood pressure reading of 210 over 130. Grant refused to be taken to hospital. The doctor recalled that "The stroke was getting worse. In only fifteen minutes he deteriorated rapidly. It was terrible watching him die and not being able to help. But he wouldn't let us." By 8:45 p.m. Grant had slipped into a coma and was taken to St. Luke's Hospital. He spent 45 minutes in emergency before being transferred to intensive care, where he was pronounced dead at 11:22 p.m. He was 82.
An editorial in The New York Times stated: "Cary Grant was not supposed to die. ... Cary Grant was supposed to stick around, our perpetual touchstone of charm and elegance and romance and youth." Grant's body was taken back to California, where it was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. As per Grant's request, no funeral was conducted for him, which Roderick Mann remarked was appropriate for "the private man who didn't want the nonsense of a funeral". The bulk of his estate, worth in the region of 60 to 80 million dollars, went to Barbara Harris and Jennifer.
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