Charm, looks, wit, class. The Good Lord combined all these traits in one man and named him Cary Grant.

Born in Bristol England, in 1904, the young Archie Leach had a troubled early life. He eventually escaped (literally!) by joining the circus, becoming an expert tumbler.

Eventually he made it to Hollywood, and ended up signing with Paramount. In his early career, he was a sponge, absorbing the style and manners of more sophisticated types to create the star we know as Cary Grant.

He'd go on to become one of Tinseltown's most reliable — and durable — leading men. He was great looking from the get-go, but he only seemed to improve with age. Yeah, like wine!

If you need proof, check out the seldom-seen visuals below.

The future Cary Grant, already devastating at 5.  1909.

Cary and his first wife, Virginia Cherrill...  1934.

The perfect sunglasses for a polo game.  1934.

In his element with winners of Paramount's starlet contest.  1935.

Learning the art of self-defense with boxer Joe Lynch.  1935.

Making music on the set of "The Awful Truth" with co-star Skippy.  1937.

For once, Cary's the one behind the camera.  1938. 

Entering the modern age at the World's Fair.  1939.

The guest of honor (!) at the April Dance at the College of William and Mary.  1940.

Opening day at the Santa Anita race track, in appropriate cufflinks. c. 1940s.

No one could wear a pin-striped suit like Mr. Grant.  1940.

If only we knew what joke Rosalind Russell was telling...  1942.

Fixing a bike with wife #2, Barbara Hutton. ca. 1940s.

Looking fatigued with Hitch and Ingrid on the set of "Notorious."  1946.     

What impeccable loungewear.  c. mid-late 1940s.

Breaking character on the set of "To Catch a Thief" with Grace Kelly.  1955.

Grant holding an Oscar he accepted for Ingrid Bergman in 1957. He'd never win one in competition himself. Criminal!

Relaxing with Sophia Loren. He adored her, but she married Carlo Ponti instead. Go figure!  1957.

Clark Gable, Cary, Bob Hope and David Niven having a laugh during rehearsals for the 30th annual Academy Awards. What a group!  1958.

On the set of "North by Northwest" with James Mason and Eva Marie Saint.  1959.

A nature scene, with a nicely mellowing Cary Grant.  1965. 

More:  Hollywood Heartthrob Showdown:  Cary Grant vs. George Clooney