Question: do you think Stewart Granger, that dashing British-born Fifties leading man, would have made a good James Bond?
Our guess: No.
For one thing, he would have been too old for the part. The Bond series, with a 32-year-old Sean Connery aboard, began with Dr. No in 1962. By that time, Granger (who died in 1993 at age 80) was nearly 50. Connery — who is exactly the same height as Granger was (six-feet two inches) — is still with us, by the way, at age 87.
Granger may have been fleetingly considered for the 007 adventures but cooler heads seemed to have prevailed. He may have been the wrong British leading man who crashed Hollywood (in 1950) at the wrong time.
But crash it he did. After a stellar career in British films, he came to Hollywood to make a series of swashbucklers and adventure titles that easily earned him star billing. And despite Granger’s badmouthing of his own movies, some were pretty good.
His leading ladies included Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr and someone by the name of Grace Kelly. After his MGM days, Granger freelanced in Hollywood and all over Europe.
The actor also became an American citizen in 1956, and took to cattle ranching on his spreads in New Mexico and Arizona. A born complainer — or perhaps a modest truth teller — he said in 1970 that the pictures he was making at the time were “movies not even I will talk about.”
That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about them, Granger and his career in general. On to our Quiz answers. As usual, to review the questions just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: d) Jean Simmons. Granger fell in love with the young Simmons during his British screen period. She followed him to Hollywood in 1950, and became his second wife that same year. The marriage ended in divorce 10 years later. By the way, that’s Simmons as a young Queen Elizabeth I (in the above photo) being romanced by Granger in MGM’s 1953 costumer, Young Bess. Simmons went on to star in such big productions as 1960’s Elmer Gantry and the same year’s Spartacus. Thus, she became the bigger screen star.
2) Answer: c) 1948’s Saraband, a 1948 period costumer costarring Granger and Joan Greenwood. Notably the movie was made during Granger’s pre-Hollywood days of his British film period.
3) Answer: b) False. Granger really was a pretty physical guy, who took hours of grueling sword fencing practise before making such titles as 1952’s The Prisoner of Zenda and Scaramouche. He did his own stunts.
4) Answer: Granger and Taylor made movies together (1954’s Beau Brummell and 1956’s The Last Hunt) and shared a close relationship with (a) British actor, Michael Wilding. He and Granger were best friends, and Wilding was Taylor’s second of seven husbands.
5) Answer: b) False. See introductory remarks above.