It is a common method for ageing actors whose glory days are long behind them to accept roles in low budget horror movies in order to remain in the public spotlight. The slasher genre saw such esteemed screen legends as Jack Palance, Glenn Ford and Donald Pleasence appearing in a variety of pictures during the cycle’s heyday. Farley Granger, perhaps most famous for his work with Alfred Hitchcock on the classics Rope and Strangers on a Train, followed major success both on screen and Broadway with the Italian thriller La polizia chiede aiuto (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?), before taking one of the lead roles in Joseph Zito’s 1981 slasher The Prowler.
Granger’s breakthrough role came in 1944 with the Second World War drama The Purple Heart, before taking a hiatus from the film industry to serve in the Navy. Following his memorable turn in Rope in 1948 as a remorseful accomplice to a murder, Granger collaborated with legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn on several pictures, resulting in the box office flop Enchantment and the controversial film noir Edge of Doom. Strangers on a Train elevated Granger’s career, where he would once again portray the reluctant partner in a murder plot.
Granger would achieve critical acclaim over the next decade with the likes of The Story of Three Loves, but during the 1960s his focus turned to the theatre. After a brief spell in Italy, which would result in the cult spaghetti western Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity), Granger was cast as Sheriff Fraser in Zito’s stylish slasher The Prowler, in which he would be subjected to Tom Savini’s trademark gore. His last movie role was in the 2001 romantic comedy The Next Big Thing.
The New York Times report that Granger died in Manhattan on March 27th from natural causes at the age of eighty-five.