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Inside Cary Grant’s Heartbreaking Childhood


Actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) on the deck of a ship, circa 1955
Hollywood icon Cary Grant in 1955 | Archive Photos/Getty Images

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 John William Elias Leach died of tuberculous meningitis one day before his first birthday — 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 didn’t explain her absence 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 — and essentially left on his own by his father — 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

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alec Leach in Bristol, England, on January 18, 1904, to working-class parents Elias and Elsie. His dad was a tailor’s presser at a clothing factory and his mom was a seamstress, but Grant’s upbringing was far from happy. Here’s a look inside the Hollywood icon’s heartbreaking childhood.

Hollywood icon Cary Grant in 1955 | Archive Photos/Getty Images

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 John William Elias Leach died of tuberculous meningitis one day before his first birthday — 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 didn’t explain her absence 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 — and essentially left on his own by his father — 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 in his life 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, which helped him “confront and overcome the unconscious motivation that had undermined” his marriages, per People Magazine. The actor credited Dr. Hartman’s hallucinogenic treatment for helping him realize how his mother’s disappearance “triggered a self-sabotaging pattern of relationships.”

When he died in 1986 at the age of 82, Grant …read more

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

      

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