Elspeth March (1938–48) (divorced) two children Jean Simmons (1950–60) (divorced) one child Caroline LeCerf (1964–69) (divorced) one child
Stewart Granger (6 May 1913 – 16 August 1993) was a English-American film actor, mainly associated with heroic and romantic leading roles. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s, rising to fame through his appearances in the Gainsborough melodramas.
He was born James Lablache Stewart in Old Brompton Road, west London, the only son of Major James Stewart, OBE and his wife Frederica Eliza (née Lablache). Granger was educated at Epsom College and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He was the great-great-grandson of the opera singer Luigi Lablache and the grandson of the actor Luigi Lablache. When he became an actor, he was advised to change his name in order to avoid being confused with the American actor James Stewart. (Granger was his Scottish grandmother's maiden name.) Offscreen friends and colleagues continued to call him Jimmy for the rest of his life, but to the general public he became Stewart Granger.
At the outbreak of World War II Granger enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders, then transferred to the Black Watch with the rank of second lieutenant. However he suffered from stomach ulcers and he was invalided out of the army in 1942.
His first starring film role was as the acid-tongued Rokeby in the Gainsborough Pictures period melodramaThe Man in Grey (1943), a film that helped to make him a huge star in Britain. He followed this with the even more popular Fanny By Gaslight (1944). The New York Times reported that Granger "is a young man worth watching. The customers... like his dark looks and his dash; he puts them in mind, they say of Cary Grant."
He was cast in some prestige films, Caesar and Cleopatra and Waterloo Road, then in Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) which the critic Leslie Halliwell called "novelettish balderdash killed stone dead by stilted production". All these films were successful at the box office (although Caesar and Cleopatra never recouped its large cost) and in 1945 the Times reported that "this six-foot black-visaged ex-soldier from the Black Watch is England's Number One pin up boy. Only Bing Crosby can match him for popularity."
Granger followed this with Caravan and then The Magic Bow in which he played Niccolò Paganini. In 1945 he was voted the second-most popular British film star, and the ninth-most popular overall. The following year he was voted the third-most popular British star, and the sixth-most popular overall.
In 1949 Granger was reported as earning around £30,000 a year.
That year Granger made Adam and Evelyne, starring with Jean Simmons. The story, about a much older man and a teenager who he gradually realises is no longer a child but a young woman with mature emotions and sexuality had obvious parallels to Granger's and Simmons' own lives. Granger had first met the very young Jean Simmons when they both worked on Gabriel Pascal's Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). Three years on, Simmons had transformed from a promising newcomer into a star - and a very attractive young woman. They married the following year in a bizarre wedding ceremony organised by Howard Hughes - one of his private aircraft flew the couple to Tucson, Arizona, where they were married, mainly among strangers, with Michael Wilding as Granger's best man.
After Granger's stage production of Leo Tolstoy's The Power of Darkness (a venture he had intended to provide a vehicle for him to star with Jean Simmons) had been very poorly received when it opened in London at the Lyric Theatre on 25 April 1949. (During the run two men attempted to cut some locks from Granger's hair.) The disappointment, added to dissatisfaction with the Rank Organisation, led his thoughts to turn to Hollywood.
In 1952 he and Jean Simmons sued Howard Hughes for $250,000 damages arising from an alleged breach of contract. The case was settled out of court.
Granger lost out on A Star Is Born, which went to James Mason. In Moonfleet (1955), Granger was cast as an adventurer, Jeremy Fox, in the Dorset of 1757, a man who rules a gang of cut-throat smugglers with an iron fist until he is softened by a 10-year-old boy who worships him and who believes only the best of him. The film was directed by Fritz Lang and produced by John Houseman, a former associate of Orson Welles. Footsteps in the Fog was the third and final film Granger and Jean Simmons made together - Simmons played a Cockney housemaid who finds that her adventurer employer (Granger) has poisoned his rich wife in order to inherit her wealth. Bhowani Junction (1956), was adapted from a John Masters novel about colonial India on the verge of obtaining independence. Ava Gardner played an Anglo-Indian (mixed race) woman caught between the two worlds of the British and the Indians, and Granger the British officer with whom (in a change from the novel) she ultimately fell in love. His films The Little Hut (1957), a coy sex comedy, and Gun Glory (1957), a Western story of redemption, both bombed.North to Alaska with John Wayne, 'a brawling comedy western', was the last Hollywood film Granger made. Granger had turned down the role of Messala in the 1959 film Ben-Hur, reportedly because he did not want to take second billing to Charlton Heston.
Granger had become a successful cattle rancher but he left Hollywood in the wake of the breakup of his second marriage to Simmons.
In Germany, Granger acted in the role of Old Surehand in three Western films adapted from novels by German author Karl May, with French actor Pierre Brice (playing the fictional Indian chief Winnetou), in Unter Geiern (Frontier Hellcat) (1964), Der Ölprinz (Rampage at Apache Wells) (1965) and Old Surehand (Flaming Frontier) (1965). He was united with Pierre Brice and Lex Barker, also a hero of Karl May films, in Gern hab' ich die Frauen gekillt (Killer's Carnival) (1966). In the German Edgar Wallace film series of the 1960s, he was seen in The Trygon Factor (1966). He later estimated that he made more than $1.5 million in the 1960s but lost all of it.
He appeared in The Wild Geese (1978) as an unscrupulous banker, who hires a unit of mercenary soldiers (Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and others) to stage a military coup in an African nation. His character then makes a deal with the existing government, and betrays the mercenaries.
In the 1970s Granger retired from acting and went to live in southern Spain, where he invested in real estate. He returned to acting in 1981 with the publication of his autobiography, claiming he was bored. Granger spent the last decade of his life appearing on television (including portraying Sherlock Holmes in an American TV movie version of The Hound of the Baskervilles with William Shatner also in the cast, and a guest role in the ABC series The Fall Guy starring Lee Majors) and on the stage. He even starred in a German soap-opera called Das Erbe der Guldenburgs (The Guldenburg Heritage) (1987).
Caroline LeCerf (1964–1969); one daughter, Samantha
Granger claimed in his autobiography that Deborah Kerr had approached him romantically in the back of his chauffeur-driven car at the time he was making Caesar and Cleopatra. Although at the time he was married to Elspeth March, he states that he and Kerr went on to have an affair. When asked about this revelation, Kerr's response was, "What a gallant man he is."
^In the 1985 Murder, She Wrote episode, "Paint Me a Murder", Granger wore a blazer with a metal-embroidered Black Watch breast pocket badge.
^Shiach, Don: Stewart Granger: Last of the Swashbucklers (chapter 1). Aurum Press, 2005
^ abLONDON'S MOVIE NEWS: Newsreels Prove Strongest Draw -- 'The Way Ahead' an Apt War Film By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 July 1944: X3.
^REVIVING THE PAST: London Film Producers Turn to Another Era for Stories--Studio Chit-Chat In the Long, Long Ago Coming Up Odds and Ends Familiar Early Morning Broadway Scene By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 29 Apr 1945: X3.
^JAMES MASON HEADS FILM POLL The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 28 Dec 1945: 3.
^APE OF THE LOCK: Crowd Waned a Bit of Mr. granger's Hair The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 29 Apr 1949: 10.
^STEWART GRANGER SIGNS WITH METRO: British Star to Play Opposite Deborah Kerr for Studio in 'King Solomon's Mines' By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Aug 1949: 27.
^Howard Hughes May Take Stand in Trial This Week: RKO Executive's Appearance Moved Up in Suit by Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 3 July 1952: 16.
^Actor Granger, RKO Studios Trade Shenanigan Charges: Rival Tax Claims Made in $250,000 Suit for Damages Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 18 June 1952: A1.
^HUGHES, FILM ACTORS SETTLE COURT BATTLE Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 18 July 1952: 10.
^Stewart Granger, 80, Star in Swashbuckler Roles By WILLIAM GRIMES. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 18 Aug 1993: D18.
^METRO CONSIDERS CAST FOR 'IVANHOE': JEAN SIMMONS MAY GET ROLE OF ROWENA--STEWART GRANGER WILL PLAY THE TITLE PART OF LOCAL ORIGIN By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Dec 1950: 39.
^'Bloomer Girl' to Play Instead of Jolson Opus, Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 23 Mar 1946: A5.
^NOTES FROM LONDON: Down, But Not Out By C. A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 Nov 1945: 47.
^NOTES FROM LONDON'S FILM STUDIOS: Thriller What, No Love Affair? By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 23 Dec 1945: X5.
^BUSY DAYS IN LONDON: Film Studios Move Into High Gear, With Full Schedule of Pictures Under Way Films Coming Up In Father's Footsteps Notes in Brief By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 25 Aug 1946: 51.
^RANDOM NOTES ABOUT FILMS: Hollywood and England Discover Columbus--New Theatre--Code Revised New Show House Ban Eased Professional Opinion But He Doesn't Sing By A.H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 22 Sep 1946: X3.
^Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 02 May 1947: 28.
^ abLooking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 11 September 1947: 32.
^STUDIO BRIEFS Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 1 October 1949: 11.
^Drama: Pirate Picture Shapes for Fairbanks; Wyman May Do Lawrence Story Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Jan 1950: 23.
^Wild Elephant Feature Will Star Breen; Gardner Roles Grow More Torrid Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 31 Oct 1949: A7.
^Looking at Hollywood: Stewart Granger Will Play Role of an Irish Pugilist Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923–1963) [Chicago, Ill] 30 Oct 1952: c4.
^'Young Bess' Gets Green Light for July Start; Veterans Set for Roles Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Apr 1952: 7.
^Granger Will Star in 'Highland Fling' Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 26 Jan 1957: B2.
^Comedy Slated to Star Simmons and Granger; Student Wins Top Part Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 February 1957: C9.
^At the Play: THE REPERTORY THEATRES--IV BIRMINGHAM Ervine, St John. The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 23 May 1937: 15.
^MALVERN FESTIVAL: "The. Millionairess" The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 27 July 1937: 13.
^The Week's Theatres: THE MALVERN FESTIVAL H H. The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 01 Aug 1937: 9.
^ANOTHER VICTORIA PLAY: Birmingham Production Our Correspondent. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 20 Sep 1937: 13.
^A QUEEN VICTORIA PLAY: Comprehending and Humane CAPACITY FOR POLITICS The Scotsman (1921-1950) [Edinburgh, Scotland] 20 Sep 1937: 14.
^The Week's Theatres: THE BUXTON FESTIVAL The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 03 Sep 1939: 7.
^BUXTON FESTIVAL: "The Good-Natured Man" J M. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 12 Sep 1939: 4.
^"A HOUSE IN THE SQUARE" A D. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 06 Apr 1940: 10.
^GLASGOW The Scotsman (1921-1950) [Edinburgh, Scotland] 04 Aug 1942: 6.
^ROLE IN MOVIE TO TAKE BRITISH STAR 42,600 MILES Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Oct 1949: D1.
^LONDON LETTER The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 02 Mar 1949: 5.
^Verdict On the Playboy Our Radio Correspondent. The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 12 Dec 1946: 6.