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Remembering Jose Ferrer

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Remembering Jose Ferrer

Jose Vicente Ferrer Y Cintron became a movie star by a nose. An accomplished pianist when accepted to Princeton at age 14, he might have been a musician. Or an architect, a calling for which he studied until campus productions with the likes of Jimmy Stewart pulled him in. He trod the boards as Iago to Paul Robeson’s Othello; he sang opera; he produced, wrote, and directed. Yet Ferrer, who died last week at 80 in Miami, will forever best be remembered as Cyrano. The role won the actor a 1947 Tony on Broadway and a 1950 Oscar in Hollywood, though his long career was filled with performances of equally exquisite craft. Some of the best Ferrer on video:

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
Rostand’s tragic hero, a towering figure of cerebral passion. A

Moulin Rouge (1952)
As painter Toulouse-Lautrec in John Huston’s vibrant canvas. Joked pal Beatrice Lillie, ”You’re too good an actor to stoop that low.” B+

The Caine Mutiny (1954)
A saavy prosecutor, he drove Bogart’s Captain Queeg over the edge on the witness stand. B+

Lawrence of Arabia
(1962)
Ferrer’s role is tiny but crucial: a sadistic Turkish commander who abuses Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence. A+

Ship of Fools (1965)
Ferrer is unforgettable as a sneering anti-semite in Stanley Kramer’s shipboard allegory. C+

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