Ferrer in 1960
Melchor Gastón Ferrer
August 25, 1917
Elberon, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||June 2, 2008 90) (aged|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer|
(m. 1937; div. 1939)
Barbara C. Tripp
(m. 1940; div. 1944)
(m. 1944; div. 1954)
(m. 1954; div. 1968)
Elizabeth Soukhotine (m. 1971)
|Relatives||Emma Ferrer (granddaughter)|
|Awards||Walk of Fame|
6240 Hollywood Blvd
Ferrer was born in the Elberon section of Long Branch, New Jersey, of Cuban and Irish descent. His father, Dr. José María Ferrer (1857–1920), was born in Cuba, of Spanish ancestry, and was an authority on pneumonia and served as chief of staff of St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. He was around 59-60 years old at the time of Mel's birth. His American mother, Mary Matilda Irene (née O'Donohue; 1878–1967), was a daughter of coffee broker Joseph J. O'Donohue, New York's City Commissioner of Parks, a founder of the Coffee Exchange, and a founder of the Brooklyn-New York Ferry. An ardent opponent of Prohibition, Irene Ferrer was named, in 1934, the New York State chairman of the Citizens Committee for Sane Liquor Laws.
Ferrer had three siblings. His elder sister was Dr. M. Irené Ferrer, a cardiologist and educator, who helped refine the cardiac catheter and electrocardiogram. She died in 2004 in Manhattan, New York at age 89 of pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
His brother, Dr. Jose M. Ferrer, born 1912, was a surgeon; he died in 1982 at age 70 after an abdominal surgery complication. His other sister, Teresa (Terry) Ferrer, was the religion editor of The New York Herald Tribune and education editor of Newsweek. The family is not related to actors José and Miguel Ferrer.
His mother's family, the O'Donohues, were prominent Roman Catholics. Mel Ferrer's aunt, Marie Louise O'Donohue (Mrs. Joseph J. O'Donohue, Jr.) was named a papal countess, and his mother's sister, Teresa Riley O'Donohue, a leading figure in American Catholic charities and welfare organizations, was granted permission by Pope Pius XI to install a private chapel in her New York City apartment.
Ferrer was privately educated at the Bovée School in New York (one of his classmates was the future author Louis Auchincloss) and Canterbury Prep School in Connecticut before attending Princeton University until his sophomore year, at which time he dropped out to devote more time to acting. He also worked as an editor of a small Vermont newspaper and wrote a children's book, Tito's Hats (Garden City Publishing, 1940).
Early theatre work
Ferrer began acting in summer stock as a teenager and in 1937 won the Theatre Intime award for best new play by a Princeton undergraduate; the play was called Awhile to Work and co-starred another college student, Frances Pilchard, who would become Ferrer's first wife that same year.
At age twenty-one, he was appearing on the Broadway stage as a chorus dancer, making his debut there as an actor two years later. He appeared as a chorus dancer in two unsuccessful musicals, Cole Porter's You Never Know and Everywhere I Roam.
His first acting roles were in a revival of Kind Lady (1940) and Cue for Passion (1940), directed by Otto Preminger.
Among the films he worked on were Louisiana Hayride (1944), They Live in Fear (1944), Sergeant Mike (1944), Together Again (1944), Meet Miss Bobby Socks (1944), Let's Go Steady (1944), Ten Cents a Dance (1945), and A Thousand and One Nights (1945). Some of these were Bs but others – such as Thousand and One Nights – were more prestigious.
Ferrer then directed José Ferrer in the 1946 stage production of Cyrano de Bergerac.
He worked as an assistant on The Fugitive (1947), directed by John Ford in Mexico. Along with Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Joseph Cotten, he founded the La Jolla Playhouse in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla.
Howard Hughes' RKO Studios
Ferrer had a supporting role in Born to Be Bad (1950) at RKO, directed by Nicholas Ray. At that studio, he directed Claudette Colbert in The Secret Fury (1950) and did some directing on Vendetta (1950), The Racket (1951) and Macao (1952). Ferrer then starred as a bullfighter in The Brave Bulls (1951) for Robert Rossen at Columbia. Ferrer fought with Arthur Kennedy over Marlene Dietrich in Rancho Notorious (1952) directed by Fritz Lang at RKO.
MGM kept him on for Lili (1953), playing the puppeteer loved by Leslie Caron's title character. It was another big success; Ferrer and Caron also got a hit single out of it, "Hi-Lili-Hi-Lo". Saadia (1953), which Ferrer made with Cornel Wilde, was a flop, but Knights of the Round Table (1954), in which Ferrer played King Arthur, was another big hit.
Ferrer met Audrey Hepburn at a party; she wanted to do a play together. They appeared in Ondine (1954) on Broadway and later got married.
Ferrer went to Italy to make Proibito (1954) and to England for Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955), directed by Powell and Pressburger. Neither film was widely seen, but War and Peace (1956) was a big success; Ferrer played Prince Andrei, co-starring with then-wife Audrey Hepburn. In France, he co-starred with Ingrid Bergman in Elena and Her Men (1956), directed by Jean Renoir.
Ferrer and Hepburn made Mayerling (1957) for American television; it was released theatrically in some countries.
Ferrer returned to MGM to make The Vintage (1957) with Pier Angeli, which was a big flop. He made two films for 20th Century Fox: an all-star adaptation of The Sun Also Rises (1957) and Fräulein (1958), a war story with Dana Wynter. At MGM, he played one of the last three people on Earth in The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959), another flop.
Ferrer went to Italy to star in Roger Vadim's vampire movie Blood and Roses (1960). After an English horror film, The Hands of Orlac (1960), he starred in the Italian adventure film Charge of the Black Lancers (1962).
Ferrer was one of several stars in The Devil and the Ten Commandments (1962) and The Longest Day (1962). He had a cameo in his wife's Paris When It Sizzles (1964) and was Marcus Aurelius Cleander in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964).
Ferrer had a supporting role in Sex and the Single Girl (1964).
Ferrer was mostly a jobbing actor in the 1970s, working much in Italy. Among his credits were A Time for Loving (1972); The Antichrist (1974) in Italy; Brannigan (1974), a crime drama set in London that starred John Wayne; Silent Action (1975) and The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975), both for Sergio Martino; The Net (1975), shot in Germany; The Black Corsair (1976), an Italian swashbuckler; Gangbuster (1977) in Italy; The Pyjama Girl Case (1977); Seagulls Fly Low (1977).
From 1981 to 1984, he had a role opposite Jane Wyman as Angela Channing's attorney and briefly her husband Phillip Erikson in the soap opera Falcon Crest, as well as directing a few of the episodes. He also appeared in the miniseries Peter the Great (1986) and Dream West (1986). Later credits include Eye of the Widow (1991) and Catherine the Great (1995).
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Mel Ferrer has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6268 Hollywood Blvd.
Ferrer was married five times, to four women, with whom he had six children. His wives were:
- Frances Gunby Pilchard, his first and third wife, an actress who became a sculptor. They married in 1937, and divorced in 1939 after having one child together.
- Barbara C. Tripp, they married in 1940 and later divorced. They had two children: daughter Mela Ferrer (born 1943) and son Christopher Ferrer (born 1944).
- Frances Gunby Pilchard, for the 2nd time; they remarried in 1944, and divorced in 1953, after having two more children together: Pepa Philippa Ferrer and Mark Young Ferrer (born 1944).
- Audrey Hepburn, to whom he was married from 1954 until 1968. They had one son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (born 1960).
- Elizabeth Soukhotine, from Belgium, to whom he was married from 1971 to his death in 2008.
Before his marriage to Elizabeth Soukhotine in 1971, Ferrer also had a relationship with 29-year-old interior designer Tessa Kennedy.
|1947||The Fugitive||Father Serra||Uncredited|
|1949||Lost Boundaries||Scott Mason Carter|
|1950||Born to Be Bad||Gobby|
|1951||The Brave Bulls||Luis Bello|
|1952||Rancho Notorious||Frenchy Fairmont|
|1952||Scaramouche||Noel, Marquis de Maynes|
|1953||Knights of the Round Table||King Arthur|
|1954||Proibito||Don Paolo Salinas|
|1955||Oh... Rosalinda!!||Capt. Alfred Westerman|
|1956||War and Peace||Prince Andrei Bolkonsky|
|1956||Elena and Her Men||Le comte Henri de Chevincourt||a.k.a. Paris Does Strange Things|
|1957||The Vintage||Giancarlo Barandero|
|1957||The Sun Also Rises||Robert Cohn|
|1958||Fräulein||Maj. Foster MacLain|
|1959||The World, the Flesh and the Devil||Benson Thacker|
|1960||Blood and Roses||Leopoldo De Karnstein|
|1960||Ladies Man||Georges Gauthier|
|1960||The Hands of Orlac||Stephen Orlac|
|1961||Love, Freedom and Treachery||Mirko|
|1962||Charge of the Black Lancers||Andrea Di Tula|
|1962||The Devil and the Ten Commandments||Philip Allan||(segment "Luxurieux point ne seras")|
|1962||The Longest Day||Maj. General Robert Haines||He was originally signed to play the role of General James M. Gavin, but withdrew from the role due to a scheduling conflict.|
|1962||Marco Polo||Unfinished film|
|1963||Charade||Man Smoking Cigarette in Nightclub||Uncredited|
|1964||Paris When It Sizzles||Costume Party Jekyll & Hyde||Uncredited|
|1964||The Fall of the Roman Empire||Cleander|
|1964||Sex and the Single Girl||Rudy|
|1964||Who Are My Own||Juan Bautista de La Salle||a.k.a. El señor de La Salle|
|1966||El Greco||El Greco (Domenico Teotocopulo)|
|1967||Wait Until Dark||French-Canadian Radio Speaker (voice)||Uncredited|
|1972||A Time for Loving||Dr. Harrison|
|1973||The Girl from the Red Cabaret||Dalton Harvey|
|1974||The Antichrist||Massimo Oderisi|
|1975||Silent Action||District Attorney Mannino|
|1975||The Suspicious Death of a Minor||Police superintendent|
|1975||The Net||Aurelio Morelli|
|1976||Eaten Alive||Harvey Wood|
|1976||The Black Corsair||Van Gould|
|1977||Gangbuster||Peseti, the Boss|
|1978||Seagulls Fly Low||Roberto Micheli|
|1978||The Pyjama Girl Case||Professor Henry Douglas|
|1978||The Norseman||King Eurich|
|1978||Yesterday's Tomorrow||Colonel Stone||a.k.a. Zwischengleis|
|1978||The Fifth Floor||Dr. Sidney Coleman|
|1979||Screamers||Radcliffe (US version)||a.k.a. Island of the Fishmen|
|1979||The Visitor||Dr. Walker|
|1979||Guyana: Crime of the Century||Uncredited|
|1979||The Great Alligator River||Joshua|
|1980||Eaten Alive!||Professor Carter||a.k.a. Doomed to Die|
|1980||Nightmare City||General Murchison|
|1981||Lili Marleen||David Mendelsson|
|1981||Vultures on the City||Sheriff|
|1982||Mille milliards de dollars||Cornelius A. Woeagen|
|1982||Deadly Game||Stephan Mathiesen||a.k.a. Die Jäger|
|1984||A Soft Sunset||Franz Bollenstein|
|1991||Eye of the Widow||Frankenheimer the CIA chief|
|1953–1954||Omnibus||Chairman of the Board / Jeff Talbot||2 episodes|
|1957||Producers' Showcase||Crown Prince Rudolph||Episode: "Mayerling"|
|1957||ITV Play of the Week||Episode: "Lost Boundaries"|
|1959||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre||Marshal Monty Elstrode||Episode: "The Ghost"|
|1959||Rendezvous||Episode: "London in the Spring"|
|1963||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Peter Carrington||Episode: "The Fifth Passenger"|
|1973||Columbo||Jerry Parks||Episode: "Requiem for a Falling Star"|
|1973||Carola||Gen. Franz von Clodius||Television film|
|1973||Tenafly||Charlie Rush||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1973||Search||John Rickman||Episode: "Suffer My Child"|
|1974||Police Story||Dr. Ross||Episode: "Wyatt Earp Syndrome"|
|1974||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Carlo||Episode: "Designs"|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Brandon Childs||Episode: "The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger"|
|1976||Origins of the Mafia||Armando Della Morra||Episode: "La legge"|
|1977||Hawaii Five-O||Emil Radick / Father Neill||2 episodes|
|1977||Baretta||Alex Kramer||Episode: "Everybody Pays the Fare"|
|1977||The Fantastic Journey||Appolonius||Episode: "Funhouse"|
|1977||Lanigan's Rabbi||Mike Rushmore||Episode: "In Hot Weather, the Crime Rate Soars"|
|1977||Wonder Woman||Fritz Gerlich||Episode: "Anschluss '77"|
|1977||Logan's Run||Analog||Episode: "Man Out of Time"|
|1977||Sharon: Portrait of a Mistress||David||Television film|
|1978||Black Beauty||Nicholas Skinner||Television miniseries|
|1978||How the West Was Won||Hale Burton||3 episodes|
|1978||The Return of Captain Nemo||Dr. Robert Cook||Television film|
|1979||Return of the Saint||Dr. Paolo Brogli||Episode: "Vicious Circle"|
|1979||Eischied||Episode: "Who Is the Missing Woman?"|
|1979–1980||Dallas||Harrison Page||2 episodes|
|1980||Top of the Hill||Andreas Heggener||Television film|
|1980||Hagen||Poole||Episode: "The Straw Man"|
|1980||The Memory of Eva Ryker||Dr. Sanford||Television film|
|1980||Fugitive Family||Anthony Durano||Television film|
|1981||Behind the Screen||Evan Hammer||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1981–1984||Falcon Crest||Phillip Erikson||54 episodes|
|1982||Fantasy Island||Moriarity / Lord Collingwood||Episode: "The Case Against Mr. Roarke/Save Sherlock Holmes"|
|1982||One Shoe Makes It Murder||Carl Charnock||Television film|
|1984||Finder of Lost Loves||George Matthews||Episode: "Forgotten Melodies"|
|1985||Seduced||Arthur Orloff||Television film|
|1985||Hotel||Garrett Hardy / Anthony Palandrini||2 episodes|
|1985||The Love Boat||Jack Powers||2 episodes|
|1985–1989||Murder, She Wrote||Miles Austin / Eric Brahm||2 episodes|
|1986||Peter the Great||Frederick||Television miniseries|
|1986||Outrage!||Judge Michael Lengel||Television film|
|1986||Dream West||Judge Elkins||Television miniseries|
|1989||Wild Jack||Television miniseries|
|1989–1990||Christine Cromwell||Doctor||4 episodes|
|1995||Catherine the Great||Patriarch||Television film|
|1998||Stories from My Childhood||Geppetto (voice)||Episode: "Pinocchio and the Golden Key"|
|1945||The Girl of the Limberlost|
|1947||The Fugitive||Directorial assistant|
|1950||The Secret Fury|
|1952||Family Theater||Hound of Heaven|
- Some sources spell his first name as MELCHIOR but this is incorrect based on Ferrer's records at Princeton University. Also he was named for his paternal grandfather, Melchor Ferrer. And the name MELCHOR G. FERRER was used on the cover of Tito's Hats, a children's book that Ferrer wrote in 1940.
- "Dr. Jose M. Ferrer", Obituaries, The New York Times, February 24, 1920
- "Weddings: Ferrer-O'Donohue", The New York Times, October 19, 1910
- "Mrs. J.M. Ferrer, Civic Leader, 89", The New York Times, February 21, 1967.
- Changing the Face of Medicine – Dr. M. Irené Ferrer
- "Terry Ferrer, 82, Education Editor", The New York Times, April 1, 2002
- "Joseph O'Donohue, Real Estate Man, Dead", The New York Times, October 31, 1937
- "Teresa O'Donohue, Charities Worker", The New York Times, August 18, 1937
- The book's illustrations were by Jean Charlot.
- "M.G. Ferrer Wins Prize Play Award", The New York Times, March 3, 1937, p. 27
- "Kind Lady". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on April 16, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Cue for Passion". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on July 8, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Tom Weaver (April 29, 2008). "Katz-mania". Films of the Golden Age.
- Thomas, Bob (June 3, 2008). "Mel Ferrer, actor-director, husband of Audrey Hepburn, dies". Yahoo! News.
- Margaret Lilliard (July 25, 1989). "Landmark '49 Film About Family Passing for White Recalled". Los Angeles Times.
- "Catharsis", Time, February 10, 1941
- Bergan, Ronald (June 5, 2008). "Obituary: Mel Ferrer". The Guardian. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
- Paris, Barry. Audrey Hepburn. pp. 247–248. ISBN 0-425-18212-6.
- Cawthorne, Nigel. Sex Lives of the Hollywood Goddesses Part 2. p. 271. ISBN 1-85375-514-1.
- Notre jour le plus long La Presse de la Manche 2012
- Kirby, Walter (April 20, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved May 9, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (November 29, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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