Cary Grant received the shock of a lifetime when he was 30 after learning that his mother was in fact not dead unlike what most in his life had convinced him at a young age. According to Grant, one day when he was nine he returned to his Bristol home where his mother had vanished into thin air. Grant’s father told Grant that the boy’s mother had just taken a vacation and soon started a new family without Grant’s mother.
Later in life, Grant would told that his mother had died without much further conversation about it. In the Showtime documentary Becoming Cary Grant the impact that Grant’s absence is shown in full force. Grant said, “A sadness of spirit that affected everything I did. I always felt that my mother rejected me.”
But at the age of 30, his father would finally reveal the truth about what happened to Grant’s mother. Grant’s mother, Elise, had not left her family voluntarily. Instead, Grant’s father had his then-wife admitted to Bristol Lunatic Asylum with the diagnosis of “mania” though the only testament to Elise’s mental condition came from Grant’s father’s personal testimony.
Elise had been institutionalized since 1915, but once discovered the truth, Grant rescued her and supported her for the rest of her life. But it’d been so long that when Grant finally came to help her, Elise didn’t recognize her own son. But soon as they spent more time together they learned to know one another up until her death in 1975 at the age of 95.
Grant took part in many therapy techniques in order to deal with the trauma left on him by his mother’s absence including 100 LSD therapy treatments. He began treatment with a radiologist by the name of Mortimer Hartman who was able to help Grant understand that his mother’s absence unintentionally triggered a pattern of self-sabotaging in his relationships.