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Tony Grist

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Cary [Jul. 24th, 2012|10:35 am]
Tony Grist
Cary sounds like a girl's name. How on earth did it end up attached to one of the icons of Hollywood masculinity?

Is it a shortening of Oscar?

Or a surname- like Nelson or Shirley- reused as a forename?

Or simply the invention of a wool-gathering Hollywood publicist?

Was Archibald Leach the first Cary or are there earlier examples? Wikipedia doesn't know of any. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2012-07-24 10:35 am (UTC)
IMDB says "Paramount Studios named him Cary Grant while he began his film career, because the similarity of the name to Gary Cooper, their biggest male star, (C.G. being an inversion of G.C.) and possibly because Clark Gable had the same initials."

It hadn't sounded like a girl's name to me (until you said that, and now of course Cary / Carrie seems quite obvious). To the extent I'd thought of it at all, I suppose I'd thought of it as a surname, and therefore a boy's name. Searching, I don't find it as a surname (not with that spelling, anyway) but as a place name, which is the next step along the logic chain.

What an interesting question. And the follow-up is, if Cary Grant was the first Cary, was he followed by others? It doesn't seem to have caught on, does it?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-24 10:58 am (UTC)
Fascinating.

The only more recent Cary I can think of is the English actor Cary Elwes (b 1962)- whose given names are Ivan Simon Cary Elwes.
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[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2012-07-24 03:34 pm (UTC)
Carey. Surname used as first name, Protestant trad in England and N Ireland;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-24 07:30 pm (UTC)
Only Cary Grant was christened by the studio. Shewhomust (see above) has winkled out the story.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2012-07-24 05:13 pm (UTC)
Was Archibald Leach the first Cary or are there earlier examples? Wikipedia doesn't know of any.

I haven't read the rest of this biography, but it claims the name was taken from a character he had played. No idea where the character got it from. I'd guess a repurposed surname.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-24 07:37 pm (UTC)
That's sounds quite likely. Shewhomust (see above) tells a somewhat different story- though it's possible the two might be reconciled.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2012-07-24 05:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting question.... Personally I find nothing wrong with Archibald Leach.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-07-24 07:40 pm (UTC)
Grant himself once said, "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant- and so do I."
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