In A Nutshell
Cary Grant is just about the suavest man to ever come out of Hollywood. Handsome, debonair, and charming, he was the archetypal leading man . . . complete with crippling drug addiction. During his time in psychotherapy, Cary Grant became addicted to LSD, taking it over 100 times and claiming that it completely transformed his life.
The Whole Bushel
Even if you never watch old movies and think “black-and-white” is code for “unimaginably boring,” you’ve probably heard of Cary Grant. The star of North by Northwest, Charade and Bringing up Baby was just about the smoothest man who ever existed—a byword for Hollywood sophistication in the heyday of cinema. However, he did have one aspect of his character that was distinctly less savory: Grant was a committed LSD fanatic who enjoyed nothing more than riding the acid river.
See, in those days, LSD wasn’t particularly well-known. At best, it was thought to be a useful psychiatric drug—and Grant was a guy in need of psychotherapy. When he was just a boy, his mother had vanished, turning up 30 years later in an insane asylum, possibly placed there by his adulterous father. He once claimed to have spent his whole life in a fog and that even he didn’t know who he was. So when the chance came to try a new drug meant to do wonders for your psyche, Grant was practically first in line. And boy did it work.
From the moment of his first trip, Grant became convinced that LSD was the answer to all life’s problems. And he wasn’t shy about it either: In an interview with Time magazine he waxed lyrical about his drug experiences, leading Good Housekeeping to write a glowing article about LSD as the key to “second youth.” He became a sort of acid evangelical in the days before Ken Kesey and John Lennon, getting as many of his troubled Hollywood friends to try it as he possibly could, and booking himself in for over 100 sessions. He kept right on singing the wonder drug’s praises until the FDA finally banned the stuff—at which point he simply enjoyed it without the fanfare. He later claimed it changed his life and that taking LSD was the best thing he’d ever done. Cary Grant could probably have given Frank Zappa a run for his money in the spaced-out hippy stakes.