The quintessential English gentleman, actor Cary Grant (1904-1986) was born Archibald Alexander Leach on this day in Bristol, England, the grandson of an actor. With handsome face and cleft chin, Grant celebrated the essence of charm and sophistication.
"I improve on misquotation," admitted the charming Grant, a fiercely private man who rarely gave interviews because he believed the press often misinterpreted his remarks. "Comedy holds the greatest risk for an actor, and laughter is the reward."
The 6'1" screen legend hit the big time in 1933 when Mae West recruited him for She Done Him Wrong and uttered the classic invitation to him, "Why doncha come up 'n see me sometime?"
"I changed my name at the behest of the studio," explained Grant. "They said Archie Leach had to go." He appeared in over 70 films, including the wonderful Bringing Up Baby (1938, Katharine Hepburn), An Affair to Remember (1957), and To Catch a Thief (1955, Alfred Hitchcock).
"I've always felt queasily uncertain whether or not Hitchcock was pleased to see me survive each days work," Grant recalled. "I can only hope it was as great a relief to him as disappointment."
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Grantís arrival in Hollywood, on December 7, 2001, his hometown unveiled a statue of the actor created by Graham Ibbeson. "I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me," Grant said.
Actor Jimmy Stewart said of Grant: "Behind all the polished ability was his extra-special quality of completely open, wonderful humor... not only in acting but also in the way he looked at things. That's what set him apart."
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