Farley Granger, the actor who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s classics Rope and Strangers On A Train, has died yesterday at his home in New York City of natural causes. He was 85.
In Hitchcock’s Rope (1948), Granger plays a pianist who commits a murder with a school friend whom they believe is “inferior” to them. Hiding the body in their apartment and thinking that they can’t be caught, they invite their former teacher Jimmy Stewart and victim’s father and fiance over for a dinner party. In Strangers (1951), Granger played a young tennis pro who finds that an innocent conversation with Robert Walker has ensnared him in a double murder pack.
Spotted by a casting agent for Samuel Goldwyn while performing in a play, Granger was signed to a seven year contract while still in high school. His first film role was a small part playing a Russian in The North Star, a 1943 propganda film telling the story of the Soviet Union’s resistance to the Nazi invasion. he followed that with another war film, The Purple Heart (1944), before temporarily leaving acting for a stint in the Navy.
Upon his return to civilian life, Hitchcock cast Farley in Rope. He then worked with director Nicholas Ray in the thriller They Live By Night (1949). Granger also appeared in such films as Side Street, On Our Own (both 1950), I Want You (1951) and Hans Christian Anderson (1952).
In 1952, Granger bought out the remainder of his contract with Goldwyn and headed to Europe where he starred in director Luchino Visconti’s Senso (1954).Although he would return to Hollywood to make a few more films in the 1950s, Granger would eventually settle in New York City where his career would concentrate on stage and television projects. He would appear on Broadway in productions of Warm Peninsula, First Impressions, a musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and a 1980 revival of Deathtrap.
Granger returned to Europe in the 1970s for a brief period to appear in such films as They Call Me Trinity (1970), The Man Called Noon and The Serpent (both 1973). His last film appearance was in 2001 the art world satire The Next Big Thing.