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Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 19:37 GMT
Bristol celebrates Hollywood 'son'
Statue is unloaded
Cary Grant has become part of Bristol's landscape
A bronze statue of Hollywood legend Cary Grant has been unveiled by his widow in his home city of Bristol.

Barbara Jaynes performed the ceremony at the start of a week-long festival in honour of her late husband - born Archibald Leach in 1904.

Events include screenings of his greatest films.

Previously unseen pictures of the star are on view in two photographic exhibitions, Archie Goes to Hollywood and Cary Come Home, in the Bristol centre's display areas.

The wraps came off the statue on Friday afternoon against a backdrop of images of his most famous movies.

Cary Grant
Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach in Bristol
Carols were sung by children from Bishop Road Primary School, where the actor was a pupil.

One of his films, To Catch a Thief, was shown immediately afterwards in the nearby Imax cinema in the Bristol arts and science centre.

The statue has been positioned in the city's Millennium Square, close to the Bristol Hippodrome theatre where the young Archie Leach first felt the lure of greasepaint.

He worked backstage as a teenager, later running away to become a child acrobat.

His troupe transferred to Broadway and he stayed on.

The statue was commissioned to commemorate the 70th anniversary of his arrival in Hollywood.

The Cary Grant festival - including screenings of North by Northwest, Charade, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story - is part of the city's bid to become European City of Culture in 2008.

'Funny comedian'

Supporters on both sides of the Atlantic raised 60,000 to commission the statue from Yorkshire sculptor Graham Ibbeson, from Barnsley.

He has previously sculpted comedian Eric Morecambe.

statue wrapped up
No chances were taken during delivery
The tribute was masterminded by David Long, who moved to Bristol and was amazed the city did little to commemorate the star of such classics as An Affair To Remember.

Grant was recently voted the second greatest film actor of all time by the American Film Institute.

Sir John Mills, a contemporary of Grant, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Cary was absolutely right to go to Hollywood.

"At that time they were grooming actors like Cary for stardom and all the big studios had young actors like Cary on contracts.

"He was absolutely cut out for it. He was good-looking and was a very funny light comedian."

Grant became a regular visitor to Bristol after discovering that his mother was not dead, as he was told during childhood, but had been living in an institution.

He bought her a house in the suburb of Westbury Park.

He continued to visit the city until his death in 1986.

The BBC's David Sillito
"Cary Grant regularly visited Bristol"

Click here to go to Bristol
See also:

23 Oct 01 | England
Fight to save Cary Grant's school
15 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Home-town honour for Cary Grant
31 May 99 | Tom Brook
Hollywood's controversial list
23 Jun 98 | Entertainment
List of top 100 films a "scandal"
14 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Cross-dressing classics top movie poll
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