Welcome to East Village Afternoon... enjoy your pop.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Farley Granger 1925-2011

Just as the world was reeling from the loss of Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, came the news of the death of another movie star from the 1940's and 50's, Farley Granger. Granger worked for 58 years in movies and t.v., even achieving "teen idol" status with his good looks, but he was most famous for starring in two Alfred Hitchcock films, "Rope", 1948, and "Strangers on a Train", 1951.

What most people didn't know about the handsome star was that he was in a 43 year relationship with Emmy-winning soap director, Robert Calhoun, until Calhoun's death in 2008. In Granger's autobiography, "Include Me Out", he described himself as bisexual, relating his affairs with screen legends Ava Gardner and Shelley Winters.

Also in "Include Me Out", Granger tells the story of being a 21 year-old navy recruit in Honolulu, and going ashore to lose his virginity to a prostitute. As he was leaving the woman's abode, he ran into a handsome Navy officer, and Granger was soon in bed again. Granger also writes about his two night fling with Leonard Bernstein and his live-in romance with Arthur Laurents, writer of the stage and movie versions of "West Side Story" and "Gypsy".
(alfred hitchcock and granger)
Ironically, Granger's two most famous movies, "Rope" and "Strangers on a Train", dealt heavily with a gay subtext. In "Strangers", the gay vibe between Granger and Robert Walker is palpable, and this movie was made in 1951. Hitchcock must have realized something in his young star that no one else noticed, and America definitely wasn't ready for.

In the 1950's, Granger transitioned into television, appearing in many of the early t.v. "playhouse" series. Later, Granger worked on daytime soaps, even receiving a daytime Emmy nomination in 1977 for his role on "One Life to Live".

Despite his Hollywood star status and success in television, Granger said he was most happy on stage. His noted stage appearances include his 1960 Broadw
ay debut in "First Impressions, a musical version of "Pride and Prejudice", and in 1980, Granger starred in Ira Levin's "Deathtrap". .

(granger with long-time partner, robert calhoun)

No comments: