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Cary Grant got hooked on LSD and was bisexual, says new book

After 40 years in movies and 73 movies in the can, Cary Grant’s greatest performance was the matchless specimen of masculine charm known as Cary Grant.

‘He’s a completely made up character and I’m playing a part. No way am I really Cary Grant. In my mind’s eye I’m just a vaudevillian named Archie Leach. 

‘But I think Cary Grant has done wonders for my life’, Grant is quoted in author Scott Eyman’s new book Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, published by Simon & Schuster and released on Tuesday.

The book touches on Grant’s struggle with his sexual identity for years, as he lived with actor Randolph Scott and was viewed as bisexual at best.

Grant, whose real name was Archibald ‘Archie’ Leach, had four marriages, fell madly in love with Sophia Loren, went through years of therapy dealing with his narcissism and temper.

He only saw some relief years later when actress Betsy Drake, Grant’s third wife, introduced him to psychotherapy and LSD. 

Screen icon Cary Grant confessed he felt he was ‘playing a part’, according to new book Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise by author Scott Eyman. He told the writer: ”He’s a completely made up character. No way am I really Cary Grant. In my mind’s eye I’m just a vaudevillian named Archie Leach’

Grant, whose real name was Archibald 'Archie' Leach, had four marriages, fell madly in love with Sophia Loren (pictured together) went through years of therapy dealing with his narcissism and temper.

Grant, whose real name was Archibald ‘Archie’ Leach, had four marriages, fell madly in love with Sophia Loren (pictured together) went through years of therapy dealing with his narcissism and temper.

The book touches on Grant's struggle with his sexual identity for years, as he lived with actor Randolph Scott (pictured together) and was viewed as bisexual at best

The book touches on Grant’s struggle with his sexual identity for years, as he lived with actor Randolph Scott (pictured together) and was viewed as bisexual at best

Grant was born Archibald ‘Archie’ Leach, from Bristol, England, who hung around the wharves seeking a job as a cabin boy on a boat and a one-way ticket out of the British trading port.

He joined a troupe of acrobats, learned stilt-walking and dreamed of travel.

Leach landed in New York with the performing vaudevillians in the mid-1920s seeking fame and fortune and decided not to return to England.

Before moving on to Hollywood when vaudeville died, Leach sold ties out of a suitcase on Broadway when he wasn’t stilt-walking.

In New York, he was in good company with vaudevillians George and Gracie Burns and Jack Benny and learned quickly that he had to change his name and invent an accent to hide his lack of class and education — but not without repercussions of feelings of duality that would haunt him for a lifetime.

Grant’s childhood was a black cloud hovering over him for years and plagued him with depression exacerbated by being around verbally brilliant friends — British actors who had legitimate theatre experience.

'But I think Cary Grant has done wonders for my life', Grant is quoted in author Scott Eyman's new book Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, published by Simon & Schuster and released on Tuesday

‘But I think Cary Grant has done wonders for my life’, Grant is quoted in author Scott Eyman’s new book Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, published by Simon & Schuster and released on Tuesday

He copied traits of people he most admired to divert attention from the fact that he had left school at age 14. 

With the help of Dr. Mortimer Hartman and over one hundred LSD sessions he viewed as ‘life-altering’, he defecated in his pants and viewed it as a ‘psychic explosion’.

For the first time, Grant stopped blaming his mother, father and everyone else for the duality he had created.

‘I learned that no one else was keeping me unhappy but me. I gained something else – myself.

‘And on that day I shat all over the rug in the doctor’s office and I shat all over the floor’.

‘I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from earth like a spaceship’, Grant confessed.

‘I had lots of problems over the years but they were Archie Leach’s problems, not Cary Grant’s’.

‘I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant, unsure of either, suspecting each and only recently have I begun to unify them into one person’.

Grant babbled on about the virtues of tripping on LSD to anyone who willingly listened.

‘LSD empties the subconscious and intensifies the emotions a hundred times’, according to Dr. Hartman, ‘and breaks down memory blocks so one can gain insights into one’s own self and relationships with others’.

Grant was born Archibald 'Archie' Leach, from Bristol, England, who hung around the wharves seeking a job as a cabin boy on a boat and a one-way ticket out of the British trading port

Grant was born Archibald ‘Archie’ Leach, from Bristol, England, who hung around the wharves seeking a job as a cabin boy on a boat and a one-way ticket out of the British trading port

Pictured: British born actor Grant  (pictured in 1932) left home to join an acrobatic troupe before emigrating to America to embark on a film career which lasted for over thirty years

Pictured: British born actor Grant  (pictured in 1932) left home to join an acrobatic troupe before emigrating to America to embark on a film career which lasted for over thirty years

Psychedelic dilettantes in LA included Henry Luce and Clare Booth Luce, Christopher Isherwood, Anais Nin, Aldous Huxley, Andre Previn, Esther Williams, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper.

‘It was something perilously close to gobbledygook’, writes Hyman.

LSD released Grant from his working class ancestry – or so he hoped – but he never really forgot.

His father, Elias, had pressed suits for a living and after the couple lost their first child, his mother, Elsie, tried to smother Archie with affection.

Grant remembered her as a ‘pathetic little figure’ who repeatedly told him she was the only one who cared about him – derailing his future relationships with women.

Grant viewed her as a ‘well meaning psychological assassin’ and preferred eating his dinner off a tray in front of the TV so he wouldn’t have to face her at the dinner table.

Archie moved to his grandmother’s house but she was a drunk so there was no comfort there.

‘I could smell hell on her breath’, Archie remembered.

In Archie’s absence, his father decided to remove Elsie from his very existence by having her committed to an asylum with the excuse that she was queer in the head and dangerous to herself.

Nobody came forward to attest to Elsie’s supposed insanity.

With her out of the way, Elias began a common law marriage and eventually told his son that his mother was dead.

Archie had become an acrobat with a troupe after visiting a Hippodrome – ‘a dazzling land of smiling, jostling people wearing all sorts of costumes and doing all sorts of clever things’.

‘What other life could there be but that of an actor. They happily traveled and toured. They were classless, cheerful and carefree. They gaily laughed, lived and loved,’ Grant remembered.

Tongues wagged when he moved into a rented house with the handsome actor Randolph Scott (pictured) and the couple didn't hesitate to pose for publicity shots lounging around the pool

 Tongues wagged when he moved into a rented house with the handsome actor Randolph Scott (pictured) and the couple didn’t hesitate to pose for publicity shots lounging around the pool

Grant was known to be a herculean freeloader. He saved half eaten sandwiches in the fridge, cut buttons off old shirts before throwing them away. He was worth millions but still has his first two pence

Grant was known to be a herculean freeloader. He saved half eaten sandwiches in the fridge, cut buttons off old shirts before throwing them away. He was worth millions but still has his first two pence

That was the life for him and he traveled to New York with the Pender troupe and was now immersed in the world of American show business.

It was vaudeville where he learned coordination and timing –the control of his body.

‘He had the face of a leading man, the physical skills and antic spirit of a great silent clown,’ writes the author.

It was in New York where he met actress Fay Wray, who found fame in the arms of King Kong in the 1933 film.

He was stuck on her for years and hoped to connect with her in Hollywood where everyone was headed when vaudeville was over.

The bawdy Mae West gave him his first big break in She Done Him Wrong and in return he gossiped that her flabby belly wiggled when she walked and she talked badly.

Paramount saw potential in Grant and put him in ten pictures his first year.

Tongues wagged when he moved into a rented house with the handsome actor Randolph Scott and the couple didn’t hesitate to pose for publicity shots lounging around the pool.

Grant struck up a relationship with actress Virginia Cherrill who became his first wife.

They moved into the house with Scott when Grant learned that his mother wasn’t dead but had been in an asylum for years.

He went on an epic bender and had to dry out in a sanitarium.

Cherrill woke up to find Grant standing over her with his hands around her throat.

Grant struck up a relationship with actress Virginia Cherrill (pictured together) who became his first wife. They moved into the house with Scott when Grant learned that his mother wasn't dead but had been in an asylum for years. He went on an epic bender and had to dry out in a sanitarium. Cherrill woke up to find Grant standing over her with his hands around her throat

Grant struck up a relationship with actress Virginia Cherrill (pictured together) who became his first wife. They moved into the house with Scott when Grant learned that his mother wasn’t dead but had been in an asylum for years. He went on an epic bender and had to dry out in a sanitarium. Cherrill woke up to find Grant standing over her with his hands around her throat

Cherrill sued for divorce after ten months. 'I was in love with Cary; Cary was in love with himself. I didn't stand a chance'

It was in New York where he met actress Fay Wray, who found fame in the arms of King Kong in the 1933 film. He was stuck on her for years and hoped to connect with her in Hollywood where everyone was headed when vaudeville was over

Cherrill (left) sued for divorce after ten months. ‘I was in love with Cary; Cary was in love with himself. I didn’t stand a chance’, Virginia said. He was still carrying a torch for Fay Wray (right)

She sued for divorce after ten months.

‘I was in love with Cary; Cary was in love with himself. I didn’t stand a chance’, Virginia said.

He was still carrying a torch for Fay Wray.

In 1945 Grant married Woolworth heiress, Barbara Hutton, who spent her days playing tennis and nights hosting dinner parties.

Hutton complained that Cary was different from his screen image and wasn’t ‘fun laughing and naughty all the time’.

She wanted Cary to inhabit her world. Cary’s cheapness soared and he started marking the crystal liquor bottles to see if the help was knocking off any booze.

‘He could be a terrible bastard’, Dudley Walker, his valet stated.

‘You were lucky if he gave you a five dollar bottle of men’s cologne once a year for Christmas. And he was a bad drinker.

‘He would get real nasty and cold. Become sadistic’.

Grant was known to be a herculean freeloader. He saved half eaten sandwiches in the fridge, cut buttons off old shirts before throwing them away.

He was worth millions but still has his first two pence.

Mel Brooks called him a ‘schnorrer’ after having lunch with him for four days at the studio commissary and then tired of paying for it every time. Schnorrer is a Yiddish term for a scrounger or a freeloader.  

Grant’s marriage to Hutton lasted only three years.

Wife number three was actress Betsy Drake who persuaded Grant to take LSD and it was his ravings that led Dr. Timothy Leary to give LSD a try.

But that marriage was doomed when Grant fell madly in love with Sophia Loren while filming in Spain. 

Grant fell madly in love with Sophia Loren (pictured) while filming in Spain. He proposed – even though he was married to Drake and Sophia stalled. She was madly in love with Italian producer, Carlo Ponti who made Sophia a star but he was married. Cary went wild. He had never been rejected before by either sex. 'She broke my heart,' he wailed

Grant fell madly in love with Sophia Loren (pictured) while filming in Spain. He proposed – even though he was married to Drake and Sophia stalled. She was madly in love with Italian producer, Carlo Ponti who made Sophia a star but he was married. Cary went wild. He had never been rejected before by either sex. ‘She broke my heart,’ he wailed

Grant proposed to actress Dyan Cannon after seeing her in a TV show. He encouraged her to take LSD and she did a dozen times but she wrote that it destroyed her life. 'For him it was the gateway to God that had saved him and he thought it would save our marriage but drugs can't do that'. They did have a daughter, Jennifer, who Cary worshipped (pictured all together)

Grant proposed to actress Dyan Cannon after seeing her in a TV show. He encouraged her to take LSD and she did a dozen times but she wrote that it destroyed her life. ‘For him it was the gateway to God that had saved him and he thought it would save our marriage but drugs can’t do that’. They did have a daughter, Jennifer, who Cary worshipped (pictured all together)

The actor regretted his film career and wished he had raised children. Grant died November 1986. Pictured: Grant with his daughter Jennifer during 12th Annual Academy of Arts Awards

The actor regretted his film career and wished he had raised children. Grant died November 1986. Pictured: Grant with his daughter Jennifer during 12th Annual Academy of Arts Awards

He proposed – even though he was married to Drake and Sophia stalled.

She was madly in love with Italian producer, Carlo Ponti who made Sophia a star but he was married.

Cary went wild. He had never been rejected before by either sex.

‘She broke my heart,’ he wailed.

Grant proposed to actress Dyan Cannon after seeing her in a TV show.

He encouraged her to take LSD and she did a dozen times but she wrote that it destroyed her life.

‘For him it was the gateway to God that had saved him and he thought it would save our marriage but drugs can’t do that’.

He was a domestic tyrant prone to fits of rage and he spanked her. But they did have a daughter, Jennifer, who Cary worshipped.

He married one more time, Barbara Harris, a public relations director.

He was forty-six years her senior and pursued her for two years.

Being a manager or director made her a diplomat and able to handle him.

‘Barbara gave me a real Act Three’, Grant stated.

Late in life he finally accepted Cary Grant.

‘I helped create this guy, but I didn’t believe him for one second. That’s why I pushed all my loved ones away from me. I was afraid they would try to hold me and discover that I was hollow, just a hollow man’.

The actor regretted his film career and wished he had raised children.

Grant died November 1986.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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