Although Cary Grant was not a soldier in World War II, he did receive the Kings Medal for Services in the Cause of Freedom. There are rumors that he earned it by spying on both his colleagues and his wife at the time, Barbara Woolworth Hutton.
The Woolworths were one of the wealthiest families around and were suspected of sending aid to the fascists. The actor also gave away all of his earnings from two films to support the British and American war efforts.
First Time on Screen
Grant’s first movie was a comedy from 1932 titled 'This is the Night'. The film did well and was the first of many hits for the actor. He soon made a name for himself as a good looking and sophisticated leading man in such films as 'Merrily Go to Hell', 'Hot Saturday', and 'Madame Butterfly'.
In 1933, he starred alongside Mae West in the films 'She Done Him Wrong' and 'I’m No Angel'. The starlet took credit for discovering Grant, despite his appearance in several Hollywood movies previously. Unfortunately, Grant went on to face a string of box office flops which put his entire career in jeopardy.
“Most Spectacular Run Ever”
But Grant would not quit, he kept working and eventually, his career took off again, beginning with the comedy 'The Awful Truth', which was released in 1937. The films that followed were all massive hits that ended up being, according to Benjamin Schwartz, a critic for The Atlantic, “the most spectacular run ever for an actor in American pictures.”
Grant went on to star in what are considered two of the greatest comedies of all times, 'Bringing Up Baby' and 'The Philadelphia Story'. He also received critical acclaim and was nominated twice for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, once in 1941 for 'Penny Serenade', and once in 1944 for 'None but the Lonely Heart'.
Mr. Nice Guy
In all his years on screen, Cary Grant never once portrayed a villain. This was an intentional move by the studio to keep audiences from feeling anything remotely negative about the actor. The only somewhat controversial role that Grant ever took was in Alfred Hitchcock’s film 'Suspicion', from 1941.
In the film, he plays a husband whose wife believes that he is going to murder her but, in the end, he is revealed as innocent. Hitchcock claims that the ending was changed at the direction of the studio in order to maintain Grant’s “heroic” image.
Hitchcock Was a Fan
The actor caught the attention of and soon became one of Alfred Hitchcock’s favorites. The legendary director chose Grant to star in some of his most iconic films including 'North by Northwest', 'Notorius' and 'To Catch a Thief' with Grace Kelly. Although, similarly to Hitchcock, Grant never took home an Oscar for any of his movies.
He also never won a Golden Globe even though he was nominated in the Best Actor category five times in six years. Some people claim that Cary Grant was not the kind of actor that wins an Academy Award due to his effortless style of acting.