Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your Classic Movie guys, back again and trying today to resolve one of our consequential trivia questions.
A few weeks ago when we noted that Rita Moreno was the second Hispanic American to win an Oscar, we challenged you, our loyal readers, to name the first.
For those of you who check the comments on our blogs, you might remember that one of our alert correspondents, Patricia Nolan-Hall, identified the first Hispanic American to walk off with an Academy Award as some guy by the name of “Joe.”
Frank was clueless about all this, but Morella gently countered with this question: Joe who?
Joe (Morella, that is) also generously provided an additional clue.
Seems that our mystery “Joe” had once been married to Rosemary Clooney.
Patricia cleverly countered the counter with….”Let’s just call him Miguel’s Dad. My daughter will understand that.” Touche, Patricia.
Well yes, he is Miguel’s father, Rosie’s husband and therefore by marriage George Clooney’s uncle. That clears it all up, doesn’t it?
OK, enough of this dithering about. The first Hispanic-American to win an Oscar was Jose Ferrer, one of the finest stage and film actors of the 1940’s and 50’s, who later had a great career as a character actor. Ferrer was also a celebrated stage director.
Ferrer was born in Puerto Rico in 1912, with this imposing monicker — Jose Vincente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron. Wow!
“Joe” as he was known to his friends received his first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor Category in 1948 when he recreated his stage role of the Dauphin in “Joan of Arc,” which starred Ingrid Bergman.
Two years later he won as Best Actor for “Cyrano de Bergerac.” That film, directed by Stanley Kramer, received only ONE nomination. The one for Ferrer’s performance. (Yup, that’s Jose Ferrer above in costume as that nosy Cyrano.)
He was nominated for another Oscar for his brilliant performance as Toulouse-Latrec in “Moulin Rouge.” Another memorable role was as the defense attorney in “The Caine Mutiny.”
As for the Ferrer that your daughter knows, Patricia, he was born in 1955, the oldest of five children hatched by “Joe” Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney. Miguel Ferrer is George Clooney’s cousin.
Miguel has appeared in several notable movies but is best known for his costarring role in the “Crossing Jordan,” the tv series that ran from 2001 through 2007. (Scroll down and take a look at him, the spittin’ image of his father.)
As for our “Joe,” we hope he’s remembered for being more than just “Miguel’s Dad.”