Legendary actor, Jos? Ferrer, was born Jos? Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintr?n on Jan 8, 1912 in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ferrer died at the age of 80 on Jan 26, 1992 in Coral Gables, FL and was laid to rest in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazziz Cemetery in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Early Life and Career

Jose Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron was born on January 8th, 1912 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was the son of Rafael Ferrer, who worked as an attorney and writer and the grandson of the famed Puerto Rican nationalist, Gabriel Ferrer Hernandez, who advocated for the countries independence from Spain. Jose spent much of his childhood abroad, studying at the prestigious boarding school Insitiut Le Rosey in Switzerland. After graduating he went on to study architecture at Princeton University. During this time he fostered his love of performance, playing piano in a band aptly named Jose Ferrer and His Pied Pipers. Ferrer also acted in Princeton's theater club The Triangle Club, where he soon found he enjoyed the magic of the footlights more than pull of music.

After graduating from Princeton, Ferrer moved to New York City where he began his career as an assistant stage manager. He then quickly made the transition to acting. In 1935 the actor made his Broadway debut with a small role in the comedy A Slight Case of Murder. For the next few years Ferrer continued to hone his craft on the Broadway stage, first appearing in mainly light-hearted comedies before branching out to dramas with the 1939 Guthrie McClintic play Mamba's Daughters. The next year he worked with McClintic again, this time in Maxwell Anderson penned drama Key Largo.

Stage Success

In 1940 Ferrer was cast in his first lead role as Lord Fancourt Babberley in the comedy Charley's Aunt. The show was a success and ran for over 220 performances. He starred in two more comedies, Let's Face It! and Vickie, Before taking on the role of Iago in the Margaret Webster staged version of William Shakespeare's Othello with his then wife, Uta Hagen, playing the role of Desdemona. The show ran for over 290 performances, making it the longest-running Shakespearean production in the United States, a feat that still holds today. Always looking for a new challenge, Ferrer took the role of director for the comedy Strange Fruit.

In 1946 Ferrer starred in his own production of Cyrano de Bergerac, playing the title character. The play would go on to become on the biggest Broadway success of the year, earning Ferrer his first Best Actor Tony Award for his performance as the unfortunately nosed poetic swordsman. The role would become Ferrer's most memorable, both on the stage and silver screen.

Film Career

By the mid-1940s, Ferrer began acting on the screen and made his filmic debut as The Daupin, in the 1948 telling of Joan of Arch. The next year he made his television debut in The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, playing his most famed of characters, Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1950 he once again played Cyrano, this time on the big screen in Michael Gordon's big screen adaption of the famous stage play. Although the film was unsuccessful at the box-office (losing $300,000) and received less-than stellar reviews, every critics and audience member agreed that Ferrer was the shining beacon of the film, breathing life to an otherwise lacking production. For his efforts, Ferrer received the Academy Award for Best Actor. He would be the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar.

In 1952 He starred in the John Huston biography, Moulin Rouge, as the famed French artist Henri de Toulouse. The film would go on to be nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and a Best Actor nomination for Ferrer. The next year he starred opposite Rita Hayworth in the musical comedy Miss Sadie Thomas. In 1954 Ferrer appeared on screen with Humphrey Bogart, Fred MacMurray and Van Johnson in the Edward Dmytryk war drama The Caine Mutiny.

Film, Stage, and Directing

Although Ferrer was concentrated on his film career during the 1950s, he still spent much time on Broadway both acting and directing his own stage productions. He both starred and produced the comedic stage plays Stalag 17 and The Fourposter before moving on to dramas with The Shrike. All three plays would bring him home the Tony Award for Best Director. His fifth and final Tony Award would be for Best Actor in The Shrike. He then released focused entirely on directing with the comedy My 3 Angels. In 1955 he made his feature film directorial debut, starring opposite June Allyson in The Shrike. He then continued to both act and direct in the films The Cockleshell Heroes, The Great Man, I Accuse!, and The High Cost of Living.

Although Ferrer would score a huge hit with the Broadway drama The Andersonville Trial, his directorial career would soon suffer. In 1959 he replaced Tony Richardson as the director of the stage musical Juno. The play was already rife with production troubles as Ferrer was already the third director to attached to the project. The play opened to mostly negative reviews and poor audience attendance, closing less than two weeks after it opened. The play's tremendous failure would severely stunt his directing career, only helming two more pictures: 1961's Return to Peyton Place and 1962 State Fair.

Later Career and Life

By the mid-1960s Ferrer's career began to decline. Although he occasionally appeared in quality pictures such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Greatest Story Ever Told, Ferrer found it hard to find quality roles thanks to his advancing age. Even on stage his pull was waning and in 1964 he starred in the flop The Girl Who Came to Supper. By the 1970's he found himself relegated to mostly made-for-TV movies and guest starring on television roles on shows such as Kojak, Columbo, and The Missing Are Deadly. He returned to the Broadway stage one last time, directing the musical Carmelina. It was a flop.

Ferrer remained mostly on the small screen for the rest of his career, much to his disappointment. He lamented his old age, and bemoaned the lack of opportunity older actors have to appear in quality work. Despite the sea of lackluster film and television series he appeared in to pay the bills, Ferrer still managed to catch the occasional good role, such as Leopold in Woody Allen's 1982 film A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy and in Mel Brooks To Be or Not to be.

Although clearly not happy with the quality of roles received, Ferrer continued acting for the rest of his life. His final role in the Hong Kong produced Lam Gong juen ji fan fei jo fung wan, released posthumously. Jose Ferrer died on January 26th, 1992 in Coral Gables, Florida. He was 80 years old.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Jos? Ferrer was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actor for Cyrano de Bergerac (as Cyrano de Bergerac) in 1950.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1948Best Supporting ActorJoan of Arc (1948)The Dauphin, Charles VIIINominated
1950Best ActorCyrano de Bergerac (1950)Cyrano de BergeracWon
1952Best ActorMoulin Rouge (1952)Toulouse-LautrecNominated

He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. In addition, Ferrer was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame .

BlogHub Articles:

Jos? Ferrer: o tesouro de Porto Rico / Jos? Ferrer: the treasure of Puerto Rico

By L? on Oct 14, 2017 From Critica Retro

Jos? Ferrer: o tesouro de Porto Rico / Jos? Ferrer: the treasure of Puerto Rico No primeiro epis?dio da s?rie da Netflix “Um Dia de Cada Vez”, o p?blico que assistia ? grava??o vai ? loucura quando Rita Moreno aparece pela primeira vez, de tr?s de uma cortina. Eles tinham raz?o pa... Read full article

Jos? Ferrer: o tesouro de Porto Rico / Jos? Ferrer: the treasure of Puerto Rico

By L? on Nov 30, -0001 From Critica Retro

Jos? Ferrer: o tesouro de Porto Rico / Jos? Ferrer: the treasure of Puerto Rico No primeiro epis?dio da s?rie da Netflix “Um Dia de Cada Vez”, o p?blico que assistia ? grava??o vai ? loucura quando Rita Moreno aparece pela primeira vez, de tr?s de uma cortina. Eles tinham raz?o pa... Read full article

See all articles


The Dauphin: A ruler must compromise and bargain with the lowest kind of people, even the enemy. Men are governed by corruption, they like it.
Joan of Arc: Men hate corruption, and God hates it!
The Dauphin: I don't know about God, but men take to it very naturally.

Le Bret: Look at me, twenty years a captain, while others, who know only how to deploy their forces at court, now dangle a marshal's baton.
Cyrano de Bergerac: [smiling] Hmm... , well, someday I will avenge you too.

Cyrano de Bergerac: Think of me./ Me whom the plainest woman would despise./ Me with this nose of mine that marches on/ Before me by a quarter of an hour./Whom should I love? Why of course it must be/ The woman in the world most beautiful.
Le Bret: Most beautiful?
Cyrano de Bergerac: In these eyes of mine, beyond compare.
Le Bret: Wait! Your cousin - Roxane!
Cyrano de Bergerac: Yes. Roxane.

read more quotes from Jos? Ferrer...

Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Also a Capricorn

See All Capricorns >>
Best Actor Oscar 1950

See more Best Actor awards>>
Jos? Ferrer on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

See All Walk of Fame Stars >>
Theater Hall of Fame

Also in the Theater Hall of Fame

See All Theater Hall of Fame Inductees >>