Movies - TV
One Line From His Girl Friday Revealed Cary Grant's True Identity
By LEIGH GIANGRECO
It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the lightning-paced dialogue of Howard Hawks' screwball comedy “His Girl Friday.” Some one-liner gems packed a punch in the 1940, but none more than one Cary Grant delivered about himself: “Listen, the last man that said that to me was Archie Leach just a week before he cut his throat.”
Like so many Hollywood actors, Grant's onscreen persona was more myth and celluloid than flesh and blood. The real man who filled Grant's debonair suits was Archie Leach, born into a blue-collar, garment district family in Bristol, England, who entered the acting world through Vaudeville.
After arriving in Los Angeles and signing with Paramount, the studio heads demanded that he change his name. Inspired by a character he played, the name “Cary” stuck, while the surname “Grant” was on a list a studio secretary put together for him.
Unlike some of his peers, Grant was not ashamed of his past or his real name. It's the way he insisted on bringing up his past, whether through comedy or self-deprecation, that made him such a likable actor.