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Farley Granger (1925-2011)

  1. Harold Russell, The Best Years Of Our Lives, 1946.
  2. Richard Greene, Lorna Doon, 1950.      Suspended for refusing to be loaned out. Producer Samuel Goldwyn's biggest disappointment was never being able to turn the bi-sexual Granger into the screen's biggest star. Two years later, Farley bought  himself out of his  Goldwyn contract and flourished in Europe, Broadway and US TV.
  3. Robert Taylor, Quo Vadis, 1951.    When Gregory Peck suffered a serious eye infection, other actors were seen for Marcus Vinicus.Some were even suitable.
  4. Rock Hudson, The Golden Blade, 1952.   More fun than expected, the Arabian Nights shtick went from Granger to Tony Curtis to Hudson – all prettier than heroine Piper Laurie.
  5. Edmund Purdom, The Student Prince, 1954.    Mario Lanza was "writing a new definition of the word temperament," wrote producer Joe Pasternak, fed up, like everyone at MGM, with the tenor's ego. Lanza would not be told how to sing by directors and female co-stars refused to work with him (always rubbing himself against them). He recorded the soundtrack then refused to show up for three start dates - in ’52 and ’53. Metro cancelled his contract, sued for $7m, banning him in public, on radio, or recording studios for the remaining 15 months of his contract. Granger was announced as a sub - with “a dubbed voice. But that was ultimately Purdom miming the best of Lanza - the voice that bred operatic dreams in youngsters called Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and the incomparable Luciano Pavarotti.
  6. Edmund Purdom, The Egyptian, 1953.    If it wasn’t good enough for  Brando (who split for his New York shrink’s couch), then it wasn’t good enough for Granger (who had previously taken over Senso from Brando in Italy). Nor for Dirk Bogarde in third place. Truth was court physician Sinuhe wasn’t good enough for anyone - John Cassevetes, Montgomery Clift (who quit after the first day of rehearsal),  Richard Conte, John Derek, Rock Hudson, John Lund, Guy Madison, Hugh O’Brian, Michael Pate - and Purdom wasn’t good enough for it. Fox sued Brando for $2m, settled when he agreed to make (the much worse) Désirée. Or Daisy-Rae as he called the one that got away from Napoleon.  
  7. Cameron Mitchell, Love Me Or Leave Me, 1954.   Tested for the Ruth Etting biopic as the Ziegfeld Follies star’s second husband, her pianist, Johnny (actually, Myrl) Alderman - nearly murdered by James Cagney as her first, gangster Moe “The Gimp” Snyder. Just like the actors first seen for her agent, Granger looked too young for the pianist carrying a torch for torch singer Ruth Etting. Enter: Mitchell, seven years older. Etting always said that Myrl, not Moe, was the love of her life. They were wed for 28 years  
  8. John Fosythe, The Ambassador’s Daughter, 1955.   .   The romantic couple in the slight, Americans-in-Paris comedy, changed from Granger and Shelley Winters to (a visibly ill-at-ease) Forsythe and Olivia De Havilland.
  9. Rod Taylor, The Birds, 1962.  It has often been reported that Alfred Hitchcock wanted Granger for the hero Universal Pictures production #6590. Even understyanding he’d want an experienceds hand to assist the his new find, Tippi Hedren, it is difficult to believe  Hitch would  think as far back to  his old star of Rope and Strangers on a Train -  in 1947 and 1950.  Granger was stuck in TV, far from any A List.  Of course, Hitch was  also interested in Sean for Mitch Brenner. And got him the following year  for Marnie. – also with Tippi Hedren


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