Inside the life of Hollywood legend Cary Grant and his five marriages

Archie BritBox Original trailer

Cary Grant’s turbulent life has been turned into an ITV series starring Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs, and the first episode will land on screens tonight (Thursday, November 23).

Cary was born Archibald Alexander Leach in 1904 to parents Elsie and Elias in Bristol, England.

The ITV series Archie narrates the story of the young actor’s troubled childhood in extreme poverty before becoming the most dashing actor in Hollywood history.

As the ITV programme gets underway, it explores Cary’s father’s adultery and the loss of his older brother John.

John’s death ripped his family apart and caused his mother to sink into a deep depression.

READ MORE New Cary Grant drama Archie explores the “demons’ that plagued the actor

The show then follows his stellar career, with a synopsis for the programme stating: “At 14 he auditioned for the music hall act, the Bob Pender Troupe, a band of acrobats, stilt walkers, clowns and comedians after seeing them perform at the Bristol Hippodrome.

“Lean and athletic, he learned the art of stilt walking, and when the troupe went on tour to the US, teenage Archie was intoxicated by the land of opportunity.”

He believed he wasn’t wanted by his family and made the decision to remain in America.

A chance meeting with comedian George Burns helped him secure a contract with a movie studio who felt he should change his name to Cary Grant.

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He married Virginia Cherrill in 1934, but their romance lasted just a year. Cary later married Barbara Hutton in 1942, but their marriage ended three years later.

Cary began an affair with Sophia Loren while filming The Pride and the Passion in 1957, and he was 30 years older than her.

The Italian actress was at the point of marrying film producer Carlo Ponti and ended up sticking with him instead of Cary.

Cary was also married at the time of his romance with Sophia to Betsy Drake.

He reached the height of his success in the 1960s and lived in Los Angeles – but his private life was far from a record-breaking success story.

He began to charm actress Dyan Cannon after a series of failed marriages and she was 30 years his junior.

While she did not seem interested at first, the intelligent and handsome Cary eventually won her over and they got married in 1965 in Las Vegas. She gave him his only child, Jennifer.

However, they divorced in 1968 and it was not until 1981 that Cary tied the knot for the fifth and final time to Barbara Harris. They remained together until he died in 1986 aged 82 following a stroke. Barbara, a Broadway star, died in 2018.

Archie is available to stream on ITV and ITVX from 9pm tonight.

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