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José Ferrer
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José Ferrer

With his performance in Lawrence of Arabia, Jose Ferrer adds one more to his long list of masterpieces of.the tour de force in acting.

Ferrer's role as the bey, Turkish governor of Deraa, dominates one of the turning-point sequences of the film drama, that of the capture and torture of Lawrence. In actual history, some commentators believe this dreadful episode was a turning point for T.E. Lawrence himself, changing the entire course of his life. On film, under David Lean's direction, Ferrer makes of the episode an unforgettable vignette of malevolence.

In scanning the record of the versatile Ferrer, it is difficult if not impossible to find anything in the nature of an ordinary performance. High among his masterpieces is his footlights portrayal of the stealthy Iago to Paul Robeson's Othello. High among them is also his portrayal of the crippled Toulouse Lautrec in Moulin Rouge, for which Ferrer won an awards nomination of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all is his history-making performance in the title role of Edmond Rostand's classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. Ferrer was star and producer of the footlights version of Cyrano, and he won not only the Academy nomination but the Academy Award itself in Stanley Kramer's motion picture adaptation of the play.

In recent years Ferrer has turned more and more to direction, but he will always be an actor. When Sam Spiegel cabled him and asked him to read the script of Lawrence of Arabia, Ferrer cabled back accepting the Turkish bey role. With Sam Spiegel and David Lean in charge, Ferrer felt no need to see the script in advance.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

José Ferrer Facts

Birth NameJosé Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron
BirthdayJanuary 8, 1909
BirthplaceSanturce, Puerto Rico
Date of deathJanuary 26, 1992 (age 83)
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is José Ferrer compared to you?
Awards1951 Academy Awards: Best Actor (for Cyrano de Bergerac)
1951 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (for Cyrano de Bergerac)

Selected Filmography

Not available.