Cary Grant lost the love of multiple women due to a self-destructive trait born of abandonment issues from his childhood, or so he thought. He finally found love in his fifth wife and daughter.
Grant was born Archibald Leach, the son of an English tailor's presser. His mother left when he was only 9, and for years he carried this pain with him until he was thirty, and he learned the truth.
His mother had been committed to an asylum by his dad. But by the time he got to know the truth, his trust in women had hit an all-time low, something that would impact his future relationships extensively.
A younger Cary Grant. Inset: Grant holding his daughter Jeniffer | Source: Getty Images
HIS MARRIAGES WERE DOOMED FROM THE START
He developed a habit of falling fast and obsessively in love. Still, his self-absorption, need to control his love interests and possessive behavior saw his best relationship nose-dive within no time.
Grant met and married Virginia Cherill, an actress, in 1934, then his second wife Barbara Hutton, Woolworths' heiress, in 1943, and yet the marriages always took the same path. They were doomed to fail even before they began.
British-American actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) in a scene from the film 'Indiscreet', directed by Stanley Donen, 1958. | Source: Getty Images
The pattern would repeat itself in his third marriage to Betsy Drake. But by the time he was marrying his fourth wife, actress Dyan Cannon, he had begun working on himself, even seeking LSD therapy for his unhealthy traits. Barbara, his fifth wife, told Closer:
“He thought it was extremely helpful. It brought up a lot of parts of his life that he had buried, either consciously or not."
HIS FOURTH WIFE - DYAN CANNON
Cannon and Grant's marriage was short - it only lasted three years - but it was without a doubt the most tumultuous. She was only 28. He was 61. But despite the red flags even before they tied the knot, she ignored them and married him.
English-born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), circa 1950. | Source: Getty Images
He would take her shopping and insist on her wearing this and that dress, praising her for how elegant she looked, and yet when Cannon looked in the mirror, she wondered who the woman was looking back at her.
As soon as they were man and wife, she says he started criticizing her looks, and despite hating LSD, Grant insisted that if she wanted to make their marriage work, she would have to keep taking the drugs.
And it got even worse when she got pregnant. He withdrew physically, probably still traumatized by his childhood experience, and became cold towards Cannon. Soon after, she gave birth to their daughter, Jennifer.
Actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), circa 1955. | Source: Getty Images
Grant met his fifth wife Barbara in London, and despite the 47-year difference between them, they connected instantly.
When she questioned if he would love her without the drugs, Grant kept silent, and Cannon's heart sunk. They split soon after, and Cannon was wrecked. She fell into depression and got admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
THE BIRTH OF HIS DAUGHTER, JENNIFER, CHANGED HIM
Grant may have been 'cruel' to his wives, imposing his insecurities on them, but when his daughter was born, he was completely taken with her. He quit his acting career to be a father to his little girl.
Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon and their three and a half month old daughter Jeniffer | Source: Getty Images
And his devotion to her was like something out of a movie. He adored his little girl and documented her life with numerous home movies and photographs.
He was always present whenever she needed her, and she would always be at her father's house whenever her mother was away making films, sometimes for three months at a time.
Actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) circa 1978. | Source: Getty Images
Jennifer remembers a doting father but also says he could be strict and always insisted on good manners and proper English. Barbara recalls Grant bragging of his daughter:
“Jennifer is my greatest production. She’s the most winsome, captivating girl I’ve ever known, and I’ve known quite a few. We have an honest relationship. We level with each other.”
GRANT'S FIFTH AND FINAL BRIDE
Grant met his fifth wife, Barbara, in London, and despite the 47-year difference between them, they connected instantly. She recalls him being funny and charming and having a twinkle in his eye.
Cary Grant and wife Barbara In Paris, France On September 15, 1982 | Source: Getty Images
Theirs was a very loving marriage, and when his old habits tried rearing their ugly heads again, all Barbara had to do was show him that she was with him for the right reasons.
She says that Jennifer was Grant's greatest love, and her birth may have just saved him from himself. She also adds that the final years of his life had been the happiest and most peaceful.
The "North By Northwest" actor passed on in 1986 from a sudden stroke. He left his fortune, estimated to be anything between $40 and $60 million between the two women who truly made a difference in his life - Barbara and Jennifer.
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