Cary Grant was one of classic Hollywood’s most famous actors, starring in Alfred Hitchcock movies such as ‘Suspicion’ and ‘North by Northwest.’ With Grant’s transatlantic acting career beginning and then flourishing on the backdrop of both World Wars, this leads to the question: Was the Hollywood actor ever in the military?
Cary Grant quickly became a hugely successful Hollywood actor, which is why he was never in the military. But while he didn’t physically support Britain in the war, he did however financially support British war efforts via the donation of considerable sums of money.
Read more about how and why Cary Grant never fought in the military himself, and how he still involved himself in the British war efforts during World War II.
A British Actor
Cary Grant was born on under the name Archibald Alec Leach on January 18th, 1904 in Bristol as the second child of Elias James Leach and Elsie Maria Leach.
Grant’s mother was clinically depressed, and his father was an alcoholic; this is why Grant quickly turned to theater as a young child and found escape in theater, dancing and acrobatics.
When he was a teenager, Grant got kicked out of his boarding school. He subsequently took the chance to join a troupe of acrobatic dancers known as ‘The Penders’, with whom he started travelling nationally and began performing comedy, juggling and acrobatic gigs.
Not being interested in the war and in the politics of his time, and wanting to break into show business, Grant eventually moved to New York by himself. This is where he started to focus his career on acting and performing in broadway shows such as ‘Singapore Sue.’
In the 1930s, Grant moved to Los Angeles, where he signed with Paramount Pictures and began starring in Hollywood movies alongside Hollywood actresses such as Marlene Dietrich.
In 1940, he starred in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ alongside Audrey Hepburn, and in 1941 he starred in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller ‘Suspicion.’ Later On in his career, he starred in the 1955 movie ‘To Catch a Thief’ alongside Grace Kelly, and then in 1958, he played in the movie ‘Houseboat’ alongside Sophia Loren.
These roles gained Grant widely-acclaimed fame and success as a witty and polished Hollywood actor.
With Grant establishing himself as one of the most famous actors in classic Hollywood movies, he decided to remain in America instead of returning to England to help British war efforts.
This is why it can be said that Cary Grant’s Hollywood career is why he was never in the British military.
Supporting the British military
Grant enjoyed a hugely successful acting career, which for example saw him receive two best actor Oscar nominations, five Golden Globe best actor nominations, and nearly two dozen other major nominations and awards.
To honor his acting achievements and lifelong contributions to Hollywood, Grant received a special Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1970.
His monumental Hollywood career meant that the British-American actor was never in the military himself.
Still, he showed great interest and support in the British war efforts from afar: Grant donated his salaries from two of his movies to the British military.
For this he was even recognized by the British crown, when he received the Kings Medal for Services in the Cause of Freedom for meritorious service during World War II in 1947.
This shows that despite the fact that the actor’s Hollywood career made it impossible for him to physically support Britain in the war, he still lent his support to the British military by helping them financially.
And so, while Cary Grant’s place in film history is secure, his considerable financial efforts to help Britain in the war mean that so is his image of civility and grace.