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Hi, I'm Christina Hartman for About.com, and today, we're profiling the life of one of Hollywood's all-time leading men, Cary Grant.

Cary Grant's Early Life

He was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904, in Bristol, England, and his early life was quite difficult. His mother was committed to a mental institution when he was nine, and his father abandoned him at age 10. Little wonder he was expelled from school, and joined a travelling stage troupe at the age of 16. The troupe traveled to the U.S. to perform, and Archie Leach as he was known then, decided to stay.

Cary Grant on Stage and Screen

Leach went on to perform on stage, and in 1931 performed in several plays in St. Louis at the Municipal Opera. Those performances led him to Hollywood, where in 1931, he changed his stage and screen name to Cary Grant. Grant was signed by Paramount Pictures, where he was cast as a leading male alongside Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus in 1932 and then with Mae West in the 1933 productions, She Done Him Wrong, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and I'm No Angel.

But Paramount then placed Grant in a number of unsuccessful films, and he made the jump to Columbia Pictures. Columbia cast him in a light comedy more suited to his personality. That comedy, The Awful Truth, proved pivotal in Grant's career. During the next four years, Grant had a series of successful films in the same light comedic type of roles:

Holiday (1938)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
His Girl Friday (1940)
My Favorite Wife (1940)
He was also cast in several adventure and suspense films including Gunga Din, Only Angels Have Wings, Penny Serenade and Suspicion. Grant became a favorite of the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, who cast him in several other roles: Notorious, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest.

In the mid-1950's Grant formed his own production company, called Granart Productions. He produced several films, distributed by Universal, including: Operation Petticoat, Indiscreet, That Touch of Mink, Father Goose, and Charade. For all his success, Grant was only nominated for two Academy Awards, and never won one competitively. He was awarded an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement, however, in 1970.

Grant's Personal Life and Death

Cary Grant was married five times. And while he continued to be active after his retirement from the big screen in 1966. Grant was preparing for a performance in Davenport, Iowa on November 29, 1986, when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He died that same night.

And that's a look at the acting career of a Hollywood legend, Cary Grant. For more information, be sure to check out About.com.
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