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Jose Ferrer was born Jose Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron in Puerto Rico in 1912. He went to Princeton, and after graduation became an actor, starring in the oft-made cross-dressing hit, Charley's Aunt on Broadway in 1940. In 1943 he played Iago to Paul Robeson's Othello, and that proved to be the longest-running production of a Shakespeare play ever in the U.S. (and little wonder, with two of the finest actors who ever lived, in one of the greatest plays). Ferrer starred as Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway in 1946, and he was perfect as Rostand's tragic hero with the huge nose, and he repeated the role in the 1949 TV version of the play, and again in the 1950 movie version (for which he won the Best Actor Oscar), and he directed himself in another Broadway version in 1953, and appeared in yet another TV version in 1953! He even provided the voice for a 1974 animated version. Little wonder he is so closely connected to this character in almost everyone's mind. He has two other extremely memorable film roles. One was as Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge (nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for this film, as the famous diminutive artist Toulouse-Lautrec; Ferrer played the entire movie on his knees, with his legs strapped to the back of his thighs), and as the lawyer who interrogates Humphrey Bogart's Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny. Personally I love watching Ferrer in anything he did, whether as Alfred Dreyfus in I Accuse or as Abe Fortas in Gideon's Trumpet. His speaking voice is unequaled, and is instantly recognizable. When Richard Kiley, who originated the role of Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha left that part on Broadway, Ferrer took over for him, and I wish someone had filmed that performance, for while I saw Kiley on Broadway, I missed seeing Ferrer, and I am certain I missed a great performance! Ferrar was married four times, and had one child with noted dramatic teacher Uta Hagen, and had five children with actress Rosemary Clooney. One of those children Miguel Ferrer is also an actor, appearing quite often on TV, and in a few movies, and he bears a striking resemblance to his father. Jose passed away in 1992 at the age of 80.
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