To the public, the late Cary Grant was a handsome and successful actor. But behind closed doors, he struggled with a very tough loss. The late star’s childhood wasn’t easy, and that was because his father, Elias, had secretly committed his mother, Elsie, to an asylum when he was a young boy.
Cary once described the betrayal as “a void in my life, a sadness of spirit that affected each daily activity with which I occupied myself to overcome it.” That said, it wasn’t until later in life that he really found happiness.
“Most of the people who truly knew him commented on the fact that he was a much happier person in the later part of his life,” his fifth wife Barbara Jaynes, 68, told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. Cary especially found joy when he married British hotel PR agent in 1981. “Once he realized how much I loved him, I could not have ever wished for a more loving husband,” she said.
However, Cary was always battling inner demons, and at age 58, he wrote a series of articles about his life for Ladies Home Journal. “I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant; unsure of either, suspecting each,” he wrote at the time. “Only recently have I begun to unify them into one person: the man and boy in me, the mother and father… the hate and the love.”
But despite all his troubles, things first turned around for him after he was reunited with his mother years after their separation, and when his daughter, Jennifer, now 52, whom he welcomed with his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon, was born.
“My life changed the day Jennifer was born,” he once said. Soon after she came into his life, he retired from Hollywood as well. “He wanted to be with his daughter, Mark Kidel, director of the documentary Becoming Cary Grant, told Closer. “And he knew that you couldn’t be a good father and be on the set for all hours.”
Throughout his life, Cary always conveyed a sense of liveliness with those he encountered. “His mind always remained young,” Barbara shared Closer. “He had a twinkle to his eyes. He was amazing. And he would want to be remembered as a kind, thoughtful, loving man, which indeed he was.”
For more on Cary, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!