The timing seems a little ironic, since I just wrote a piece about the Leopold and Loeb murder. (You can read it at the Chicago History Journal here and here.) If you're a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, you probably know that Farley Granger got his big break in Rope, which was Hitchcock's version of the story. Granger played the Leopold role, although the movie was so heavily fictionalized that his character's name was changed to "Phillip Morgan," and the plot only vaguely resembles the true story. He went on to star in Strangers on a Train, which is one of Hitchcock's most famous pictures and one of my personal favorites.
As any of my close friends can tell you, I have a special place in my heart for the stars of the forties and fifties. That's especially true for the ones I've been met in person, and I'm glad to say Granger was one of them.
To be honest, I've crossed paths with a lot of people who were more famous or glamorous or whatever you like. After all, I live in Toluca Lake, which is sandwiched between the studio lots of Universal, Warner Brothers, Disney, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Not to mention the fact that I graduated from USC, where people like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas show up on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to name-drop-- on the contrary, I think star sightings are a dime a dozen, and I'm frankly not impressed with any of that stuff.
Even so, I have especially fond memories of Granger, to the point where I'd call him one of the most charming people I've met.
The part I remember the most was when he told the same story twice, in almost the exact same words, and nobody had the heart to tell him he was repeating himself. The story was classic Hitchcock, because at some point Granger had made the mistake of asking for his character's motivation. Hitchcock was notorious for not giving his actors much direction, to the point where he supposedly said "actors are cattle." The way Granger told the story, Hitchcock basically blew him off; he just shook his head and said "it's only a movie." Which is pretty rich, coming from one of the most respected filmmakers of all time.