Cary Grant was born Archibald Alec Leach in Bristol, England, on January 18, 1904, to working-class parents Elias and Elsie. His dad de él was a tailor’s presser at a clothing factory and his mom de él was a seamstress, but Grant’s upbringing de él was far from happy. Here’s a look inside the Hollywood icon’s heartbreaking childhood of him.
Cary Grant’s mother left him when he was just 11 years old
Grant’s father was an alcoholic and his mother suffered from clinical depression, which made his childhood a difficult one. Before Grant was born, his older brother from him John William Elias Leach died of tuberculous meningitis one day before his first birthday from him — leaving a dark cloud over the family home.
Elsie left the home when Grant was just 11 years old without saying anything to her son. Known as “Archie” at the time, the young Grant was told by family members that she had gone to a seaside resort. But, they did not explain her absence from her or tell him when she would return.
It wasn’t until his dad started a new family with another woman that Grant realized his mom was never coming back.
Inside the Hollywood icon’s heartbreaking childhood
At one point after his mom abruptly left, Grant was told that she had died. Devastated by the loss of his mother de él—and essentially left on his own de él by his father de él—Grant ran away at the age of 13 to join a comedy troupe as a juggler. It wasn’t until he was 30 years old that Grant discovered that his mom was alive.
In the Showtime documentary Becoming Cary Grant, narrator Jonathan Pryce spoke Grant’s own words. He said the absence of his mother from him in his life from him left him with “a sadness of spirit that affected everything I did. I always felt my mother rejected me.”
The truth about Grant’s mother was that his father had institutionalized her at the Bristol Lunatic Asylum after she suffered “mania”—and she’d been there since she disappeared from Grant’s life when he was a young boy.
Cary Grant cared for his mother for the rest of her life
Grant was able to get his mother discharged from the facility, and then cared for the rest of her life. However, they were never able to rekindle their close relationship. By the 1950s, he was the biggest star in Hollywood but he still struggled in his personal life.
The actor sought professional help to deal with the trauma from his childhood and his many failed marriages (he was married five times in total). He tried things like hypnosis and yoga to help him cope.
Grant also experimented with LSD under the supervision of Dr. Mortimer Hartman, who helped him “confront and overcome the unconscious motivation that had undermined” his marriages, but People Magazine. The actor credited Dr. Hartman’s hallucinogenic treatment for helping him realize how his mother’s disappearance from him “triggered a self-sabotaging pattern of relationships.”
When he died in 1986 at the age of 82, Grant left $10,000 to the doctor for helping him conquer his inner demons.
Becoming Cary Grant is available on Amazon Prime Video and Pluto TV.
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