Actor-Filmmaker Mel Ferrer Dies at 90
He directed and produced films for Audrey Hepburn, to whom he was once married
Ferrer died Monday, June 2 at his ranch near Santa Barbara, says family spokesperson Mike Mena.
During his decades in show business, Ferrer directed nine films, produced nine more and appeared in more than 100 films, TV movies and TV series. Among his notable roles were Prince Andrei opposite his then wife Hepburn in "War and Peace," a disabled carnival puppeteer in "Lili" and Robert Cohn in "The Sun Also Rises" with Ava Gardner, Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn.
Melchior Gaston Ferrer was born Aug. 25, 1917 in Elberon, New Jersey. After studying at Princeton, Ferrer spent time on the stage as a chorus dancer and actor on Broadway, was a DJ on the radio in Texas and Arkansas, worked as a radio producer-director for NBC and even wrote an acclaimed book of children's stories, "Tito's Hats."
He made his big-screen debut in "Lost Boundaries" and later went on to add "Born to Be Bad," "Saadia," "Knights of the Roundtable," The Brave Bulls," "Scaramouche," "The World, the Flesh and the Devil," "Sex and the Single Girl," "Paris Does Strange Things," "The Longest Day," "Rancho Notorious" and "Knights of the Round Table" to his extensive resume.
He also directed a number of projects, including Claudette Colbert in "The Secret Fury" and Hepburn in "Green Mansions." He produced Hepburn's acclaimed film "Wait Until Dark," in addition to "El Greco."
Ferrer had numerous roles in TV movies and a guest star in series such as "Fantasy Island" and "Murder, She Wrote," but is probably best known for playing opposite Jane Wyman as Angela Channing's attorney and briefly, her husband, Phillip Erikson, on "Falcon Crest."
During his extensive film and TV career, he kept his Broadway and stage career active, including starring in Jose Ferrer's staging of "Strange Fruit," directing the Broadway version of "Cyrano de Bergerac," staging plays in Mexico with Eddie Albert and even co-founding the La Jolla Playhouse in 1947 with Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Joseph Cotton.
Hepburn, to whom he was married for more than 10 years and with whom he had a son, Sean, was Ferrer's fourth marriage. He was previously married and divorced from Frances Gulby Pilchard twice and Barbara C. Tripp once. After splitting with Hepburn, he wed Elizabeth Soukhoutine.