Farley Granger

Farley Granger, the actor best known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers Rope and Strangers on a Train, has died. He was 85.

Granger died Sunday of natural causes in his Manhattan home, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office told The Associated Press.

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A San Jose, Calif., native, Granger and his family moved to Los Angeles after the stock market crash in hopes of finding work for his father. Granger joined a theater group in his teens and in 1943 landed a role in The North Star after his handsome looks caught the eyes of Samuel Goldwyn talent scouts.

After starring in 1944's The Purple Heart, Granger enlisted in the Navy, where he says he was "chronically seasick." Following his Navy stint, Hitchcock recruited Granger for 1948's Rope and 1951's Strangers on a Train.

Unsatisfied with the roles Goldwyn was offering him, Granger bought out the rest of his contract in 1953 and headed to New York, where he studied with Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner.

Watch the Strangers on a Train trailer

He made his Broadway debut in 1960 in First Impressions, a musical version of Pride and Prejudice. He also starred in productions of The Seagull, The Crucible, The Glass Menagerie, Deathtrap, The King and I and Talley & Son, for which he won an Obie Award in 1986.

A steady soap player, Granger appeared on As the World Turns, Edge of Night and was Emmy-nominated for his turn as Will Vernon on One Life to Live.

Granger, who romanced such starlets as Ava Gardner and two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters, was in a long-term relationship in his later years with Robert Calhoun, who died in 2008.