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R.I.P. Farley Granger

Cropped screenshot of Farley Granger from the ...

Image via Wikipedia

Who will be three?

Everyone knows the adage “Bad things come in threes.” Well, poor Liz Taylor passed away just six days ago. Now Farley Granger has gone to that big movie lot in the sky. Just yesterday, Granger died at the age of 85 “from natural causes,” according to Wikipedia. Between Wikipedia and IMDB, one can put together a pretty good bio in five hundred words or less. He was born on the best coast, San José, California in 1925. Best remembered for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock: Rope (1948) and Strangers on a Train (1951).

Immediately after graduating from high school, Granger caught the eye of Sam Goldwyn. (I wonder how that worked.) He was cast in a few small roles, but then joined the Army and served his country in World War II. His longtime partner (since 1963), Robert Calhoun, collaborated with Farley on his 2007 memoir “Include Me Out: My Life from Goldwyn to Broadway“. Granger worked with many great actors and actresses during a long career that didn’t end until 2001. From David Niven to Anne Bancroft, Granger worked with a host of old timey, great performers. He also managed carve out a career in the Italian movie industry. While he never broke out into superstar status, his resumé is one that any parent would be proud of.

I don’t know if he ever weighed in on the gays in the military. The fact that I’ve never heard of Granger’s involvement in any kind of gay rights activism seems to say more about the era in which he was born and raised, rather than about him. Like Rock Hudson, he was a heart-throb whose career was dependent on something of a macho image. Unlike Hudson, Granger could act. He scored a brief career comeback with Ira Levin’s “Deathtrap,” in 1980. He is quoted as saying that he enjoyed watching movies, but didn’t like making them. That’s a sad statement. Maybe he would have been better off as a Catholic priest?

I have never felt the need to belong to any exclusive, self-defining or special group. I find it difficult to answer questions about ‘gay life’ in Hollywood when I was living and working there. There were, of course, gay cliques, but I had no close friends who belonged to any of them, and I had no desire to become involved with any of them … I was never ashamed, and I never felt the need to explain or apologize for my relationships to anyone. –Farley Granger

Arrivederci, Farley. It sounds as though you may have had a touch of self-loathing going on. I can’t say that I’m going to run to the nearest book store to buy your memoirs, but I’ve provided a link to Amazon, where you can buy a copy, if you are so inclined. I hope your passing was easy. Now we are all left with the question, “Who will be number three?” Because bad things always, always come in three’s.

Hitchcock directed Granger in two movies

Below: His star on Vine, on the east side across from the Hollywood Plaza Hotel.


About Russell Smith

I was born at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. I find inspiration in the lives of so many people from Joan of Arc to Oscar Wilde. While my primary avocation is photography, I also enjoy philosophy, theology and most of all, history. My beloved wife, Robin Anne Smith, who passed away in 2013 is also an inspiration to me. My beloved partner, Dana is also a great support and inspiration to me. I'd be remiss if I did not mention my cats: Natasha, Maxwell, Tigger and Nigel.

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