Movie Stars: Grant, Cary–Accent; Screen Test; Screen Name


Cary Grant likely made further changes to his accent after he chose to remain in the United States–an effort intended to make himself more employable.

The slight Cockney accent that Grant had picked up during his time with the Pender troupe in Bristol and London, blended with his efforts to sound American, resulted in his unique manner of speaking.

The play’s success prompted a screen test for Cary Grant and Jeanette MacDonald by Paramount Publix Pictures at Astoria Studios in New York, which resulted in MacDonald being cast opposite Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1929).

Grant, however, was rejected. He was informed that his neck was “too thick” and that his legs were “too bowed.”

The productions included Irene, Music in May, Nina Rosa, Rio Rita, and The Three Musketeers. Grant was later so embarrassed by the scene and he requested that it be omitted from his 1970 Academy Award footage.

Grant would later work with Gering in Devil and the Deep and Madame Butterfly (both 1932)

Grant agreed that “Archie just doesn’t sound right in America. It doesn’t sound particularly right in Britain either.” While having dinner with actress Fay Wray, who was then more famous than him, she suggested that he choose “Cary Lockwood”, the name of his character in Nikki.

Studio honcho Schulberg agreed the name “Cary” was acceptable, but he was less satisfied with “Lockwood” as it was too similar to another actor’s surname.

Schulberg proceeded by giving Grant a list of surnames compiled by Paramount’s publicity department, out of which he chose “Grant”.