Rope star passes away at 85
Source: Associated Press
It was in New York that Granger made his name - at least the soundstage replica of the city on which he played murderer Phillip Morgan in Rope. The 1948 Hitchcock thriller dramatised the story of Leopold and Loeb, with Granger giving a much applauded performance as a brilliant but insecure aesthete who conspires to kill a former classmate.
His role in Strangers On A Train found him back in similarly murky territory three years later. Hitchcock, intrigued by the seductive qualities projected by the actor, cast him as playboy tennis star Guy Haines. Having initially picked William Holden for the role, he was rewarded by another gilded turn opposite Robert Walker's sociopath.
Despite these critical successes, Granger was unhappy with many of the scripts pushed his way and was never comfortable in the glare of Hollywood's bright lights. His contract with Samuel Goldwyn, a relationship that began when the producer talent spotted him as a North Hollywood high-schooler, ended in 1953. The actor bought his contract out with two years to run and headed to New York. "It took every penny I had," he later explained. "It helped that I didn't live a big fancy life, that I'd saved my money for a rainy day. Because that was a rainy day."
Granger took his craft seriously and felt that he had much to learn. In New York he studied under Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner. "I was a star, but I knew nothing of the techniques of acting," he remembered. "I figured I'd better learn or I'd be in trouble when the star aspects of my career wore off."
Sadly, that day came sooner than his many fans hoped. But while he became best known for his work in live television and on Broadway, Granger continued to make movies. He appeared in Richard Fleischer's The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, Western The Man called Noon and several films in Italy, including Luchino Visconti's Senso.
Unmarried, Granger told an interviewer in 1981 that Shelley Winters was the most serious relationship of his life. "We came close to getting married," he reminisced. "Good thing we didn't because we would have killed each other. Instead we've become lasting friends."