A New Book Explores Hollywood Legend Cary Grant’s LSD Therapy

Edward J. Delaney, an American author who’s written fictional books such as “Follow the Sun” and “Warp and Weft,” recently published a new novel based on the life of Cary Grant. The novel in question, “The Acrobat,” focuses on Grant’s use of LSD as part of his psychotherapy at a time when the psychedelic was still legal in America.

Cary Grant was an English-American actor, born Archibald Alexander Leach in January 1904, England. He was the second child of Elias and Elsie Maria Leach, who worked as a tailor’s presser and seamstress, respectively.

Archibald’s mother taught him dance and song when he was young and occasionally went with him to the cinema. When he was nine years old, his alcoholic father institutionalized his mother in Glenside Hospital for severe depression but told young Archibald that she had died on a long holiday. The actor only came to learn the truth decades later.

Archibald loved the theater as a young teen and soon befriended a team of British acrobatic dancers known as the Bob Pender Stage Troupe. When he was 16, he joined the team on a tour to the United States, where he began doing screen and stage work.

Years later, having created a new persona, Archibald acquired his now well-known name, Cary Grant. At the height of his career in the late ‘50s, the weight of his childhood trauma and an existential crisis began to affect Grant.

Betsy Drake, the actor’s third wife, urged him to begin using LSD under the supervision of Dr. Mortimer Hartman of Beverly Hills. The actor went on to take acid a hundred times under psychiatric supervision, during which he explored his life and who he was. In a 1959 interview with Look magazine, Grant stated that using LSD had brought him close to happiness. He added that he had rid himself of all his hypocrisies, which meant that he didn’t have to spend years in analysis.

The famous actor also talked about his LSD therapy in an interview with Good Housekeeping Magazine. During the interview, Grant revealed that the psychedelic therapy helped reconcile his unhappy childhood and eased his fears and anxieties. The magazine praised the actor for allowing himself to be the subject of a psychiatric experiment with a drug that could eventually become an important psychotherapy tool.

It was until 1968 that LSD was federally outlawed in the United States. Soon after this, it was classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Clinical trials conducted in recent times by entities such as Atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) are also documenting the potential of psychedelics to deliver a positive transformation in patients. Commercial sales of these medicines may therefore not be far off.

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