Hitchcock star Farley Granger dies at 85


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Farley Granger, the 1950s screen idol who starred in the Alfred Hitchcock classics “Rope” and “Strangers on a Train,” has died. He was 85.

Granger died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Manhattan, according to Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner’s office.


Granger was a 16-year-old student at North Hollywood High School when he got the notion that he wanted to act and joined a little theater group.

Photos: The films of Farley Granger

Talent scouts for movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn saw the handsome youngster and signed him to a contract. His first movie was “The North Star” in 1943.

Granger was born on July 1, 1925, in San Jose, where his father was a car dealer. The business went bust during the Depression, and in 1933 the family moved to Los Angeles, where he was subsequently spotted.

His career halted for U.S. Navy service during World War II.

He made “Rope” in 1948 and “Strangers on a Train” in 1951. In the latter, he plays a tennis star who meets a man on a train. The other man, played by Robert Walker, turns out to be a psychotic who proposes that each of them murder the other’s troublesome relative. He tells Granger’s character, “Some people are better off dead -- like your wife and my father, for instance.”

Walker’s character proceeds to carry out his part of the bargain, killing the tennis star’s estranged wife and trapping the Granger character in an ever-tightening circle of suspicion.

Granger also appeared in “They Live by Night,” “Roseanna McCoy,” “Side Street,” “The Story of Three Loves,” “Edge of Doom” and “Hans Christian Andersen.”

He made his Broadway debut in 1960 in “First Impressions,” a musical version of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” He later did two years with Eva Le Gallienne’s repertory troupe and a considerable stint as the lead in the long-running thriller “Deathtrap.”

Granger continued to make films over the years: “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing,” “The Serpent,” “The Man Called Noon,” “The Imagemaker” and “The Whoopee Boys.” He made several movies in Italy, including Luchino Visconti’s “Senso.”

He also appeared in several daytime soaps, including “As the World Turns,” “Edge of Night” and “One Life to Live,” for which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination.

Above is a look at “Strangers on a Train.” Our news obituary by Times staff writer Dennis McLellan can be found here.

Tell us your favorite Granger role.


Photos: The films of Farley Granger

Hollywood Star Walk: Farley Granger

-- Associated Press