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José Ferrer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (35) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 8 January 1912Santurce, Puerto Rico
Date of Death 26 January 1992Coral Gables, Florida, USA  (colon cancer)
Birth NameJosé Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón
Nickname Joe
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

José Ferrer was born on January 8, 1912 in Santurce, Puerto Rico as José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón. He was an actor and director, known for Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dune (1984) and The Caine Mutiny (1954). He was married to Stella Daphne Magee, Rosemary Clooney, Phyllis Hill and Uta Hagen. He died on January 26, 1992 in Coral Gables, Florida, USA.

Spouse (4)

Stella Daphne Magee (1977 - 26 January 1992) (his death)
Rosemary Clooney (13 July 1953 - 12 September 1967) (divorced) (5 children)
Phyllis Hill (19 June 1948 - 7 July 1953) (divorced)
Uta Hagen (8 December 1938 - 14 June 1948) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

The role of "Cyrano de Bergerac"
Distinctive, articulate enunciation
Rich smooth voice

Trivia (35)

Uncle of George Clooney
His most famous performance was as "Cyrano de Bergerac". He played the role on the stage in 1946 and 1953, on film in 1950 (Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), winning the Oscar for that performance, and on live television in 1949 and 1955. He played Cyrano again in the French film Cyrano et d'Artagnan (1964). He won the Tony for his stage portrayal of the role in 1947, and is one of only nine actors to win the Tony and the Oscar for their performance the same role on Broadway and on film. To many people he is the greatest Cyrano within memory, and he eclipsed all other American actors who played the role, even Walter Hampden, who made it his specialty between 1923 and 1936, and Richard Chamberlain, who played the role in 1973.
Graduated from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.
1985: The first actor to receive the [U.S.] National Medal of Arts.
Father-in-law of singer Debby Boone.
Had five children with Rosemary Clooney. Their first son, Miguel Ferrer, was born in 1955. He was followed by Maria, 1956; Gabriel Ferrer, 1957; Monsita Ferrer, 1958; Rafael Ferrer, 1960.
Former brother-in-law of Nick Clooney.
Spoke both English and Spanish fluently; also had a good knowledge of French.
Had played Cyrano de Bergerac on television a fourth and final time in the animated ABC Afterschool Special "Cyrano" (1974), for which he supplied Cyrano's voice only.
Attended Princeton University. There he performed with the Princeton University Triangle Club, whose alumni also include James Stewart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Brooke Shields and David E. Kelley.
Won three Tony Awards, two for Best Actor (Dramatic): in 1947 for "Cyrano de Bergerac", a role he recreated in several following productions, including his Oscar-winning performance in the film version of Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). He won again in 1952 for the original Broadway production of "The Shrike". Also in 1952, he won the Best Director Award for three plays: "The Shrike", "The Fourposter" and "Stalag 17". Later, he both recreated his role in and directed the film version of The Shrike (1955). He also was nominated in 1958 for co-authoring the book of the nominated Best Musical, "Oh, Captain!". In 1947, Fredric March shared the Tony nomination with him. March was nominated for the play "Years Ago".
One of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and the Oscar for the same role on stage and film. The others are Yul Brynner (The King and I (1956)), Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady (1964)), Lila Kedrova (Zorba the Greek (1964), Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker (1962)), Joel Grey (Cabaret (1972)), Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons (1966)), Shirley Booth (Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)) and Jack Albertson (The Subject Was Roses (1968)).
The only actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony nomination for playing the same character. He won the 1950 Oscar and the 1946 Tony for his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac, and was nominated for an Emmy for playing the role on television in 1955.
Shares the distinction with actors Fredric March, Helen Hayes Ingrid Bergman, David Wayne and Patricia Neal of being the first winners of acting Tony Awards when the annual event was established in 1947.
Was writer-director Billy Wilder's first choice to play the lead in The Lost Weekend (1945). The studio wanted Cary Grant or a comparable matinée idol in the lead. When it became apparent Paramount would not greenlight the film with Ferrer in the part, Wilder gave in and looked for a star, but the role was considered too unsympathetic and was rejected by most of the male stars of the day. Wilder finally cast Ray Milland in the part. A reluctant Milland, who was ambivalent about taking the part lest it hurt his career, won an Oscar. An actor's actor, Ferrer got his revenge five years later by copping his own Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950).
Had played Iago opposite the Othello of Paul Robeson in the 1943 Broadway production of "Othello", the longest-running Shakespearean production in the history of Broadway. The record remains unbroken to this day.
Cousin of professional Puerto Rican tennis player Beatriz "Gigi" Fernández.
He did not enter films until eight years after he had become an established Broadway star.
In the early 1950s, while he was being seen in some of his best-remembered films, he was also starring in and/or directing four Broadway productions at almost the same time - the original stage productions of "Stalag 17", "The Fourposter" and "The Shrike", and the 1951 revival of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's "Twentieth Century".
The producers of the television series Batman (1966) originally wanted him to play The Joker. His nephew, George Clooney, went on to play Batman himself decades later.
Former father-in-law of actress Leilani Sarelle.
Was considered for the part of Addison DeWitt in All About Eve (1950), but George Sanders, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance, was cast instead.
His family has been involved in three popular science fiction series. Jose played Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in Dune (1984). His son, Miguel Ferrer appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). His younger son, Rafael Ferrer did voice-over work for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (2004).
Had played the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), and Athos in The Fifth Musketeer (1979). Both films were later remade with Gérard Depardieu, who succeeded Ferrer as Cyrano and played Porthos in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998).
For a special benefit performance of "Cyrano de Bergerac", he appeared only in the first four acts. For the final scene, in which Cyrano has aged 15 years, Walter Hampden played the part. Hampden had played the part for several years, so this collaboration represented a passing of the torch to Ferrer, who became the next great Cyrano and would go on to star in the first English-language film version of the play.
Like Kenneth Branagh and Christopher Plummer, he has played both Iago in Othello and Cyrano de Bergerac.
Worked with three other Cyranos in the course of playing the role himself - first with Walter Hampden for a special benefit performance. He later performed the role on live television opposite Christopher Plummer's portrayal of Christian. Plummer not only later played Cyrano, but hired Anthony Burgess to pen what is now regarded as one of the best translations of the play. In Cyrano et d'Artagnan (1964), d'Artagnan is played by Jean-Pierre Cassel, who played Cyrano in The Return of the Musketeers (1989).
A talented pianist in his childhood, he maintained a lifelong passion for music, in later years performing as an opera singer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Beverly Hills Opera.
He and Gérard Depardieu were both nominated for Best Actor for playing Cyrano. Other pairs include Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro for playing Don Vito Corleone, and John Wayne and Jeff Bridges for playing Rooster Cogburn.
His Best Actor award for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) made him the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award.
Has one child with Uta Hagen, Leticia Thyra Ferrer, born on October 15, 1940 in New York. In Uta Hagen's autobiography "Sources: A Memoir", their daughter's first name "Leticia" stood for happiness, and her second name "Thyra" is from the name of Uta's mother.
Shares a role with both Gérard Depardieu and his son, Guillaume Depardieu. With Gerard, he shares the role of "Cyrano de Bergerac". With Guillaume, he shares the role of the Musketeer, "Athos". Ferrer played the part in The Fifth Musketeer (1979), while Depardieu played the part in Milady (2004).
Even though Jose was Hispanic, many of his film characters were French: The Dauphin, Charles, in Joan of Arc (1948), the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge (1952), Alfred Dreyfus in I Accuse! (1958) and Athos in The Fifth Musketeer (1979).
Pictured on a nondenominated ('forever') USA postage stamp in the Distinguished Americans series, issued 26 April 2012. Price on the day of issue was 45¢.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6541 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Personal Quotes (3)

I am more important than my problems.
The truth is I made a few good movies in the '50s, then went into freefall.
[on George C. Scott] It's a concentrated fury, a sense of inner rage, a kind of controlled madness.

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