On Saturday, I wrote about the last major movie stars of the last century who were still alive. It turns out that one of them, Farley Granger, was within 24 hours of death—Granger passed away on Sunday in his New York home at the age of 85.
I've always had a thing for Granger. Seeing him in the impossibly brutal (for the time) Rope and especially in the best movie he was ever in, Strangers on a Train, I thought he was magnetically emo even before the word "emo" had been invented. He always read as gay to me, which was a big deal for an actor from his era as it is today; he considered himself bisexual in real life, speaking of his love affairs with women (Patricia Neal, Ava Gardner) in his youth but confirming a decades-long relationship with partner Robert Calhoun that lasted until the latter's death three years ago.
Several years ago, upon the publication of that memoir, Granger made some public appearances. To this day, I do not know how I missed hearing about his book signing, but I found out about it after the fact and was so annoyed to have missed what even then I suspected was my last shot to meet the man.
This year, I wrote him a note after winning some photographs of him at auction (we shared a publisher), but had been warned a response was most unlikely—he'd lost his younger partner in the meantime and hadn't been communicative as of late.
I recommend you give Include Me Out a shot—it's not the most compelling Hollywood tell-all ever, but it's a heartfelt autobiography and Granger's prickly perfectionism and desire to be an artist more so than a movie star shine through. Also, his approach to his sexuality was decades ahead of his Hollywood and non-Hollywood peers.
It's a shame that his Associated Press obituary fails to mention his late partner of over 30 years, Robert Calhoun, and fails to even allude to Granger as a gay or bisexual man.
It's possible the AP obit was written a decade or more ago; when I was at Reuters, I remember confirming the story that obits were written in advance and stored forever and a day. Still, his greatest love was not Shelley Winters, it was Robert Calhoun (pictured with fur babies).