Cary Grant remains one of Hollywood’s most desirable leading men, inspiring a generation of debonair performers.

Born into a troubled household in the northern suburbs of Bristol, UK, Archibald Leach found passion and relief with a theatre troupe at a young age. Eventually touring America, Leach abandoned his companions in New York City, and began his acutely personal journey of becoming the mercurial Cary Grant. He became the golden boy of Hollywood fairly quickly, after stints on Broadway and early flirtations with cinema. A delightful ignorance of his natural good looks combined with hilarious comedic timing adhered him to both critics and the public. Grant simply exuded a prince charming persona that became the epitome of elegance and humour — a model for actors throughout the golden age of cinema. This on-screen presence sifted into each of his works, from screwball comedy to Hitchcock thrillers.

Yet, this persona was perhaps only ever that: a persona. Grant was an extremely private man, very rarely giving interviews. Shouldering a raft of failed relationships, childhood trauma, and a struggle to define both Archie Leach and Cary Grant, he turned to LSD therapy sessions as a means of self cleansing — to ‘wipe the slate clean’. A foolish drug, he later admitted. He passed away in 1986, prompting a simple scattering of his ashes in the Pacific Ocean — befitting the privacy of the man.

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