Farley Granger


Actor
Farley Granger

About

Also Known As
Farley Earl Granger Iii
Birth Place
San Jose, California, USA
Born
July 01, 1925
Died
March 27, 2011
Cause of Death
Natural Causes

Biography

A handsome, polished leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Farley Granger’s most enduring roles were polar opposite characters in films for director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1950’s "Rope," he was one-half of a scheming, self-satisfied duo who attempted to get away with the perfect crime, while in "Strangers on a Train" (1951), he was drawn into a murder plot by a deranged Robert Walker. The pi...

Photos & Videos

They Live by Night - Lobby Card Set
Strangers on a Train - Lobby Cards
Side Street - Lobby Card Set

Family & Companions

Arthur Laurents
Companion
Screenwriter, playwright, director. Had relationship during filming of "Rope".
Janice Rule
Companion
Actor. Lived together briefly.

Biography

A handsome, polished leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Farley Granger’s most enduring roles were polar opposite characters in films for director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1950’s "Rope," he was one-half of a scheming, self-satisfied duo who attempted to get away with the perfect crime, while in "Strangers on a Train" (1951), he was drawn into a murder plot by a deranged Robert Walker. The pictures were unfortunately the apex of his career, and he spent most of the following decades in television and on stage, as well as numerous international productions. The appeal of the Hitchcock pictures, as well as his steady presence in lesser efforts, preserved his star appeal for several decades until his death in 2011.

Born Farley Earle Granger on July 1, 1925 in San Jose, CA, he was raised in wealth: his father owned an automobile dealership, and the family spent their vacations at a summer home in Capitola, CA. However, the stock market crash of 1929 wiped out the Granger’s fortunes, and they were forced to settle into an apartment in Hollywood. There, his father became acquainted with former silent screen comedian Harry Langdon, who had fallen on equally hard times and drew unemployment benefits from the North Hollywood office where the senior Granger worked. Langdon advised him to take his son to a local theater and audition him for one of their productions. The younger Granger impressed the director with his natural talent and knack for accents, and was cast in a play. Among its opening night audience was talent agent Phil Gersh, who brought Granger in to discuss him replacing Montgomery Clift in "The North Star" (1943), a wartime drama with Walter Huston and Dana Andrews, with a script by Lillian Hellman. Granger was soon signed to a contract with producer Samuel Goldwyn, and earned his screen debut as a Russian teenager in the film.

Though the film was a critical disaster, and earned the ire of publisher William Randolph Hearst, who lambasted it as Soviet propaganda, its failure had no impact on Granger’s burgeoning career. He soon found himself cast as forthright young men in Lewis Milestone’s "The Purple Heart" (1942) and as a falsely accused prisoner on the run in Nicholas Ray’s classic thriller "They Live By Night" (1949). Offscreen, his polished good looks earned him layouts in the movie magazines, which paired him in a manufactured romance with actress June Haver. In reality, Granger was a bisexual who enjoyed relationships with both male and female paramours.

Granger’s career was put briefly on hold for service in the United States Navy during World War II. However, chronic seasickness earned him duty onshore at an enlisted men’s club in Hawaii, and later with an entertainment detail led by Maurice Evans. Upon his return to the States, he received the first of two roles that would largely define his career: that of a callow student who, with the help of a friend, commit a thrill killing to prove that they can get away with it. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the real-life Leopold and Loeb murder case, "Rope" was a technical tour de force, shot entirely in unbroken 20 minute takes, though the choice caused frequent production delays. Though only a modest success following its release, "Rope" went on to become one of Hitchcock’s most audacious experiments.

Granger ran into trouble with Samuel Goldwyn after refusing to let the producer lend him to Universal for an Arabian Nights-style adventure. He was placed on suspension, which was extended after he refused to promote his last two pictures, the thriller "Edge of Doom" (1950) and the drama "Our Very Own" (1951). Frustrated with the direction of his career, he departed for Europe with his partner, "Rope" screenwriter Arthur Laurents, but was contacted by Hitchcock’s representatives about the suspense master’s next film.

"Strangers on a Train" (1951) cast Granger as a tennis player and aspiring politician who becomes embroiled in a double murder case after a chance encounter with blithe psychopath Robert Walker. A major hit with audiences, it proved to be Granger’s favorite film experience. Sadly, it would be his last positive project for many years; efforts like "I Want You" (1951), "O. Henry’s Full House" (1952) and "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952) were underwhelming projects that benefited neither their producers nor Granger’s career. He attempted to bolster his acting studies by enrolling at the Actors’ Studio, but Granger felt at odds with the study of Method acting. He eventually bought his contract from Goldwyn and accepted a chance to appear in Luchino Visconti’s lush melodrama, "Senso" (1954), which co-starred Alida Valli as a countess who falls in love with a dashing young officer (Granger). During this tumultuous period, Granger was also involved in numerous torrid affairs with such screen stars as Ava Gardner, Jean Marais and Janice Rule.

Granger returned to the United States in 1955, where he studied under Sanford Meisner at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse. He then attempted to launch a career as a stage actor with the Broadway production of "The Carefree Tree," but the show closed after only 24 performances. Subsequent stage productions, including "First Impressions," a musical adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," were also met with mixed reviews, and Granger soon turned to television for steady work. There, he became a regular performer in episodic television, as well as the occasional TV feature.

Despite his initial struggle, Granger soon became a fixture of national theater productions, and enjoyed success with turns on Broadway in "The Seagull" and "The Glass Menagerie." Like many actors whose careers had taken a downward turn, he found frequent work in Europe, where he was cast in a wide variety of genre pictures – from the slapstick spaghetti Western hit "They Call Me Trinity" (1970) to violent thrillers like "The Red Headed Corpse" (1971) and "Amuck" (1972), which took advantage of Granger’s Hollywood pedigree to boost their ticket sales. In 1977, he won a Daytime Emmy for his performance as philandering psychotherapist Will Vernon on the soap opera "One Life to Life" (ABC, 1968- ). He returned to Broadway in 1980 for Ira Levin’s "Deathtrap," and earned an Obie Award in 1986 for Lanford Wilson’s "Talley and Son."

Granger continued to work steadily in features and television in the new millennium, but also participated in numerous documentaries about his experiences with Hitchcock and the Golden Era of Hollywood. In 1995, he was interviewed for the documentary "The Celluloid Closet," in which he discussed the industry’s depiction of homosexuality on film, as well as his own life during the 1940s and 1950s. In 2007, Granger published his autobiography, Me Inside Out, with longtime partner Robert Calhoun, whom he had met while performing with the National Repertory Theatre in the early 1960s. Granger was frank about his relationships in the book, as well as his rollercoaster career after leaving Goldwyn’s stable. Calhoun passed away from lung cancer in 2008, three years before Granger’s own death from natural causes at the age of 85 on March 27, 2011.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Next Big Thing (2002)
Arthur Pomposello
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Himself
The Whoopee Boys (1986)
The Imagemaker (1986)
Ambassador
Very Close Quarters (1983)
Pavel
Deathmask (1983)
Doug Andrews
Widow (1976)
The Lives of Jenny Dolan (1975)
David Ames
La Polizia Chiede Aiuto (1975)
Arnold (1974)
Evan Lyons
Le Serpent (1973)
The Man Called Noon (1973)
Judge Niland
Lo Chiamarano Trinita (1971)
Major Harriman
Senso (1968)
Lieut. Franz Mahler
The Naked Street (1955)
Nicky Bradna
The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955)
Harry Kendall Thaw
Small Town Girl (1953)
Rick Belrow Livingston
The Story of Three Loves (1953)
Thomas Clayton Campbell, Jr.
Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
Niels
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Jim Young
I Want You (1951)
Jack Greer
Behave Yourself! (1951)
William "Bill" Calhoun Denny By arrangement with Samuel Goldwyn
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Guy Haines Mr. Granger appears by arrangement with Samuel Goldwyn
Side Street (1950)
Joe Norson
Our Very Own (1950)
Chuck
Edge of Doom (1950)
Martin Lynn
Enchantment (1949)
Pilot Officer Pax Masterson
Roseanna McCoy (1949)
Johnse Hatfield
They Live by Night (1949)
Bowie [Bowers, also known as "The Kid"]
Rope (1948)
Phillip
The Purple Heart (1944)
Sgt. Howard Clinton
The North Star (1943)
Damian

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Other

Cast (Special)

Goldwyn (2001)
Shelley Winters: Full Disclosure (2001)
Interviewee
The Heiress (1961)
Morris Townsend
Inn of the Flying Dragon (1960)
Richard Beckett
Caesar and Cleopatra (1956)
Apollodorus

Life Events

1943

Made screen debut in "The North Star"

1944

Served in the armed forces

1948

Returned to the screen for Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope"

1951

Starred in the Hitchcock classic "Strangers on a Train"

1953

Made musical debut in "Small Town Girl"

1955

Began appearing on TV in "Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars"

1970

Made TV-movie debut in "The Challengers"

1985

Starred Off-Broadway in "Tally & Son"

1995

Was one of the interviewees for the documentary "The Celluloid Closet"

2001

Appeared in the first London production of Noel Coward's play "Semi-Monde", about a group of sophisticates who mingle at the cocktail bar of the Ritz Hotel

Photo Collections

They Live by Night - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of lobby cards from Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night (1949), starring Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Strangers on a Train - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Strangers on a Train (1951). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Side Street - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's Side Street (1950), starring Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Behave Yourself! - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from RKO's Behave Yourself! (1951), starring Shelley Winters and Farley Granger. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Small Town Girl - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Small Town Girl (1953). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Small Town Girl - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Small Town Girl (1953). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

They Live By Night (1949) - They're Thieves, Just Like Us Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell) fetches Bowie (Farley Granger), injured and left behind after the jailbreak, to his fellow thieves, her uncle Chickamaw (Howard da Silva) and T-Dub (Jay C. Flippen), and her own crook father (Will Wright), the first meeting of the principals, in Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night, 1949.
O. Henry's Full House (1952) - The Gift Of The Magi The first scene for the stars of the last story, Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger as impecunious New Yorkers Della and Jim Young, directed by Henry King in probably the author’s most famous work, The Gift Of The Magi, from O. Henry’s Full House, 1952.
Rope (1948) - Open, It's The Darkness The opening with the sole un-disguised edit in the picture, Alfred Hitchcock with his first Technicolor feature, the movie-with-no-cuts gimmick, stars John Dall and Farley Granger as New Yorkers Brandon and Philip finishing off their victim (Dick Hogan), in Rope, 1948, co-starring James Stewart.
Rope (1948) - Do You Deserve Justice? From another of director Alfred Hitchcock’s disguised edits, Constance Collier with pianist David (Farley Granger) who with roommate Brandon (John Dall) has hidden murder victim David in the trunk, James Stewart as their old prep school teacher finally arriving, meeting Cedric Hardwicke, Joan Chandler, Douglas Dick and Edith Evanson as the maid, in Rope, 1948.
Rope (1948) - I Don't Think You Appreciate Me Having murdered a friend for fun, New Yorker Brandon (John Dall) springs an idea on less confident David (Farley Granger), regarding the trunk that holds the body, with director Alfred Hitchcock’s first disguised edit in his movie made to look like a single take, the loosely Loeb & Leopold-based, Edith Evanson their maid, in Rope, 1948.
They Live By Night (1949) - Just A Black Sheep Bowie (Farley Granger) and Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell), now fugitives and separated from his gang, make some quick decisions when their Greyhound stops at a diner, in Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night, 1949.
They Live By Night (1949) - Who's Your Fella? Nervous escaped convict Bowie (Farley Granger), injured again in another misadventure with the gang led by her fugitive uncle, is nursed again by innocent Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell), remembering he bought a gift for her, in Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night, 1949.
They Live by Night (1949) - Opening, This Boy And This Girl The unorthodox and violent opening from the first feature directed by one of Hollywood's least conventional directors, Cathy O'Donnell with Farley Granger, then Howard da Silva and Jay C. Flippen, in Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night, 1949.
They Live By Night (1949) - You Like Your Old Man? Innocent Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell) gets friendlier with fugitive Bowie (Farley Granger) while the leader of his prison-break gang, her uncle Chickamaw (Howard da Silva), moves things along, in Nicholas Ray's directing debut, They Live By Night, 1949.
Strangers On A Train (1951) - He's Not French The famous tennis-crowd shot appears here as Bruno (Robert Walker) stalks Guy (Farley Granger), from whom he's expecting a reciprocal murder, and pesters Ann (Ruth Roman) and Barbara (Patricia Hitchcock), in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train, 1951.
Strangers On A Train (1951) - We Swap Murders Still in the opening scenes, obsequious Bruno (Robert Walker) introduces his diabolical idea to Guy (Farley Granger), in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train, 1951, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith.
Strangers On A Train (1951) - No Man Runs Out On Me! Tennis-pro Guy (Farley Granger), having just been offered a murder-swap on the train, drops by the music store in his home-town to see his philandering wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) about their divorce, early in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train, 1951.

Trailer

Companions

Arthur Laurents
Companion
Screenwriter, playwright, director. Had relationship during filming of "Rope".
Janice Rule
Companion
Actor. Lived together briefly.

Bibliography