Millions of TV viewers have been watching the sensational rollercoaster life of Hollywood icon Cary Grant in a blockbusting TV mini series.

The English-born actor's dashing good looks made him the ultimate matinee idol and he was noted for his dramatic roles as well as screwball comedy.

Away from the silver screen the movie superstar was a regular traveller on the Southampton-based luxury liners, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary.

This picture of Cary posing on the deck of Queen Elizabeth was taken in the fifties by Southampton-born photographer the late Frank Eaton when the actor was enjoying huge box office success.

Daily Echo: Frank Eaton picture of Cary Grant on Queen Mary.

He had starred opposite Grace Kelly in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed romantic thriller and Academy Award winner To Catch A Thief.

His acting also lit up the big screen with An Affair to Remember, co-starring Deborah Kerr.

The American Film Institute honoured Grant as one of the greatest American screen legends, second only to Humphrey Bogart.

A lover of British humour, one of his Grant's comedy heroes was Southampton-born mirth maker Benny Hill who had a huge following on both sides of the Atlantic.

Daily Echo: Cary Grant, film actor in Southampton. Aug 6, 1947.

The ITV X biopic Archie documents Grant's life from the poverty-stricken streets of Bristol, where he was known as plain Archie Leach, to Tinseltown stardom. And it has revived a huge wave of interest in the acting legend. TV's This Morning devoted its fashion catwalk segment to the Cary Grant look.

With his suave and debonair looks he was also a style icon and in the fifties every man wanted to be like him.

In his teens Cary joined a local vaudeville troupe, which later toured America, after seeing them at the Bristol Hippodrome. He worked his way up from acrobat to leading man.

He made his breakthrough on stage but had to ditch his West Country accent for his famed clipped mid-Atlantic tones. His movie career began in the thirties when he signed to Paramount and was forced to give himself a more Hollywood-ringing name.

Daily Echo: Benny Hill opens Houses in Townhill Park Estate. September 30,  1959.

Away from the film set there was apparently a sinster side to the Hollywood heart-throb who was married five times. His craving for drugs was revealed by his fourth wife, the Oscar nominated actress and film maker Dyan Cannon.

She claimed that he constanly yearned for LSD and made several attempts to get his wife hooked on the mind-blowing drug.

In her candid memoirs, which forms the basis of Archie, the actress told how the actor force fed her LSD and nearly killed her.

She first met her husband- to- be after he saw her in an episode of a TV show, Malibu Run, the Baywatch of its day. Soon they became Hollywood's golden couple, travelling in some of the most star-studded of circles, meeting the likes of Noel Coward, James Stewart, Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn.

Daily Echo: Alfred Hitchcock on a liner in Southampton with actresses Margaret O'Brien (left) and Jean Simmons.

As well as calling it a romance of a lifetime, Dyan described their relationship as like Pygmalion and she said: β€œHe changed my hair, clothes, everything and my thoughts.”

To please Grant she did whatever he said, including going on LSD trips. The actor's obsession with the drug dogged their marriage.

Dyan was 28 when she married the Hollywood screen idol, who was 61, in Las Vegas. They had a daughter called Jennifer who Grant described as his best production.

Daily Echo: Cary Grant starring in Alfred Hitchcock's movie North by North West.

Jennifer was only seven months old when the couple made a private visit to the UK in 1966 arriving in Southampton on the P & O Orient lines, SS Canberra.

Fast forward nearly 60 years and Jennifer has corroborated on the biopic which tells the gripping real-life drama of her movie superstar dad idolised by millions of fans. He died in 1986 aged 82 but the Cary Grant brand lives on.