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Mel Ferrer

Mel FerrerAKA Melchior Gaston Ferrer

Born: 25-Aug-1917
Birthplace: Elberon, NJ
Died: 2-Jun-2008
Location of death: Santa Barbara, CA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Cremated (ashes buried at his ranch, Carpenteria, CA)

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: War and Peace

Born in New Jersey of Cuban extraction, Mel Ferrer started in show business as a chorus boy on stage, and eventually became a successful stage actor and director. He first came to Hollywood as a dialogue coach and later film director, but the handful of films he directed were all flops, and most of his success in film came as an actor. He was the assistant director of 1947's The Fugitive with Henry Fonda, and made his first on-screen appearance in a small, uncredited role as a priest. His first leading role came in the groundbreaking 1949 tearjerker Lost Boundaries, with Ferrer as a light-skinned black man passing as white in New Hampshire. Made six years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, Lost Boundaries remains a remarkably prescient and pertinent film, perhaps Ferrer's best.

Ferrer would be best remembered for his performance as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in the 1956 adaptation of War and Peace, with Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda. In Lili with Leslie Caron, he was the limping puppeteer, and he had a small role in the 1962 D-Day epic The Longest Day, starring everyone from John Wayne to Fabian. In 1965, he wrote, produced, and directed Cabriola, a bizarre Spanish musical comedy about a cross-dressing bullfighter on horseback. He was most memorable in numerous off-kilter or unintentionally screwball roles. In Sex and the Single Girl he played Natalie Wood's psychiatrist and performed a strange dance with his martini. In The World, the Flesh and the Devil he survived Armageddon, only to battle Harry Belafonte for the affections of the last woman on Earth, Inger Stevens.

Through the 1960s and '70s, after Ferrer's stardom had faded somewhat in America, he worked on numerous low-budget and European productions. Among his finest schlock, he played the prostitute's father in Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive with Neville Brand and Carolyn Jones, and the greedy American hotel-owner whose guests were eaten by reptiles in The Big Alligator River with Barbara Bach. In the 1980s, he achieved renewed fame in the original cast of Falcon Crest, where he played Jane Wyman's lawyer and eventual husband Phillip Erikson.

Ferrer's sister, M. IrenÚ Ferrer, was a famous cardiologist who helped pioneer open-heart surgery. Columbia University presents an annual award in her honor, The M. IrenÚ Ferrer Award for Original Gender-Specific Research. Mel Ferrer died in 2008 at his ranch near Santa Barbara, aged 90.

Father: (surgeon, b. Cuba)
Mother: (socialite)
Brother: Jose Ferrer (physician, taught at Columbia University)
Sister: Marie Irené Ferrer (physician, prof. at Columbia University, b. 1915, d. 12-Nov-2004)
Wife: Frances Gunby Pilchard (b. 1917, m. 23-Oct-1937, div. 1939, m. 1944, div., two children, d. 1985)
Wife: Barbara C. Tripp (m. 1940, div.)
Daughter: Pepa Phillippa Ferrer (b. 19-Aug-1941 with Pilchard, social worker)
Daughter: Mela Ferrer (b. 22-Jan-1943 with Tripp, artist)
Son: Christopher Ferrer (b. 4-Feb-1944 with Tripp)
Son: Mark Young Ferrer (b. 19-Jun-1944 with Pilchard, Professor of English, Santa Barbara College)
Wife: Audrey Hepburn (actress, m. 25-Sep-1954, div. 5-Dec-1968, one son)
Son: Sean Ferrer (b. 17-Jul-1960, with Hepburn, executive)
Wife: Elizabeth Soukutine (b. 6-Jul-1936, m. 19-Feb-1971)

    University: Princeton University (dropped out)

    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6268 Hollywood Blvd.
    Risk Factors: Polio

    FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
    Green Mansions (19-Mar-1959)
    Vendetta (25-Dec-1950)
    The Secret Fury (21-Feb-1950)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Catherine the Great (1995)
    Peter the Great (2-Feb-1986)
    Lili Marleen (14-Jan-1981)
    Eaten Alive (20-Mar-1980)
    City of the Walking Dead (1980)
    Alligator (3-Nov-1979)
    Guyana: Cult of the Damned (20-Sep-1979)
    The Visitor (22-Mar-1979)
    Island of Mutations (18-Jan-1979)
    The Fifth Floor (15-Nov-1978)
    The Norseman (5-Oct-1978) · King Eurich
    The Return of Captain Nemo (8-Mar-1978)
    Eaten Alive (May-1977) · Harvey Wood
    Brannigan (26-Mar-1975) · Fields
    The Antichrist (22-Nov-1974)
    A Time for Loving (1971)
    El Greco (15-Aug-1966)
    Sex and the Single Girl (25-Dec-1964) · Rudy
    The Fall of the Roman Empire (26-Mar-1964)
    The Devil and the Ten Commandments (14-Sep-1962)
    The Longest Day (Sep-1962) · Maj. Gen. Robert Haines
    The Hands of Orlac (Dec-1960)
    Blood and Roses (14-Sep-1960) · Leopoldo de Karnstein
    The World, the Flesh and the Devil (20-May-1959) · Benson Thacker
    Frńulein (8-Jun-1958) · Maj. Foster MacLain
    The Sun Also Rises (23-Aug-1957) · Robert Cohn
    The Vintage (8-May-1957) · Giancarlo Barandero
    Elena and Her Men (12-Sep-1956) · Le comte Henri de Chevincourt
    War and Peace (21-Aug-1956) · Andrei
    Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955)
    Knights of the Round Table (22-Dec-1953) · Arthur
    Saadia (Dec-1953)
    Lili (10-Mar-1953) · Paul Berthalet
    Scaramouche (8-May-1952) · Noel, Marquis de Maynes
    Rancho Notorious (1-Mar-1952)
    The Brave Bulls (18-Apr-1951)
    Born to be Bad (27-Aug-1950) · Gobby
    Lost Boundaries (30-Jun-1949) · Scott Carter


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