2017 is not starting on a positive note for Hollywood. Miguel Ferrer, known most recently for his role as NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, died January 19, 2017 at 61 of throat cancer. Actor Kyle MacLachlan, who worked with Ferrer on the original Twin Peaks and will be reuniting with him in the Showtime revival of the series, took to Twitter to reflect on the loss.
Ferrer came from Hollywood royalty; he was the son of actor José Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney. Interestingly, Ferrer apparently wasn't sure that he wanted to be an actor in the first place; the late Carrie Fisher, in her novel The Princess Diarist, says that she had met with Ferrer, a family friend, to run lines for a little movie they were both reading for - Star Wars. As it turns out, Ferrer was reading for the part of Han Solo. Fisher said:
"We were friends, and I called him up and asked him to read this script with me. He arrived at my mother’s newer, much smaller house—since her dramatically reduced financial circumstances due to a second failed marriage—and we went to my bedroom on the second floor.
Like every young man wanting to be an actor in Hollywood then, he had also read for the film, so both of us were dimly aware what we were in store for."
Ferrer was also cousins with George Clooney, and the two seemed close. Clooney led the tributes to his cousin.
“Miguel made the world brighter and funnier, and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison," Clooney wrote. "We love you Miguel. We always will.”
His Finest Moments
While there are many movie and television lovers who may see Ferrer's face and think he looks familiar, he should. While Ferrer never stood out as a leading man, he won recognition the world over from audiences for roles like Agent Albert Rosenfield in Twin Peaks and Dr. Garret Macy in Crossing Jordan as a character actor. He stepped into the roles of so many juicy parts that it seemed Ferrer had become those individuals for whatever time they were on screen, and inevitably, he frequently became the character people loved to hate. Here's some of his best work:
1. Bob Morton, RoboCop, 1986
As the man behind the unstoppable cop, Bob Morton became the stereotype of the overly ambitious career man who'd let nothing stand between him and his dreams of success. Sleazy, stylish, and one of the most backstabbing men seen in cinema in the 1980s, Ferrer as Morton gleefully relishes his new RoboCop creation and soon finds himself in the Vice President's seat at OCP, the division behind RoboCop. He sees nothing wrong with having jeopardized so many police officers in order to have the "raw materials" required to ensure the RoboCop program is a success, but the consequences of his ambition soon catch up with him. (Language warning!)
2. Agent Albert Rosenfield, Twin Peaks, 1990-1991
Introduced in Twin Peaks as a forensics specialist sent to the rural town of Twin Peaks, Albert Rosenfield seems as though he's completely disgusted by the quiet town. Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle MacLachlan, described his fellow agent as lacking in some of the social niceties. Rosenfield is actually a man of deep moral convictions who decided that an autopsy on the late Laura Palmer needed to be conducted. Gifted with some of the driest lines in the series, Rosenfield was both serious straight man and observer. He also functioned as assistant investigator to Agent Cooper.
According to his character's biography, Rosenfield is still an active FBI agent as of 2016, though that future might be in doubt, depending on what the agent's story trajectory brings in the television revival of Twin Peaks.
3. Shan Yu, Mulan, 1998
Ferrer was not one to just take on live action films; as the voice of Shan Yu, general of the Huns, in Mulan, Ferrer was imposing, intimidating, and sparked just enough tension to make him seem believable as one of the most sinister agents of the Huns. He's also the only Hun to have black sclera and orange irises, which only served to make him seem more evil. Bent on conquering China, Shan Yu is determined to oust the Emperor by any means necessary - until, that is, he encounters the young woman Mulan, disguised as Chinese soldier Ping.
Ming Na Wen, who provided the voice of Mulan, also took to social media following news of Ferrer's passing:
4. Dr. Garret Macy, Crossing Jordan, 2001-2007
As the chief medical examiner in the hit series Crossing Jordan, Miguel Ferrer was an indifferent but struggling character as Macy. As father to a teen daughter, he experienced problems enough, but as a recovering alcoholic, Macy had his fair share of personal demons to battle while supervising a group of eclectic coroners in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan. Macy also had to contend with Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh's (Jill Hennessy) somewhat erratic behavior in addition to navigating his personal struggles. Hennessy took to Twitter to express her grief about Ferrer's passing.
5. NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger, NCIS: Los Angeles, 2008-2017
Introduced in NCIS: Los Angeles' third season, Granger is a longtime field agent with no qualms about joining the team in the field. He's also been a long time friend and occasional adversary of Hetty, the team's operational manager. Somewhat laconic and always efficient, Granger knows how to work a bureaucracy but also understands the necessities of what the special projects team requires in order to work well logistically.
Chris O'Donnell, who plays G Callen on the show, noted he was "proud" to call Ferrer a friend.
LL Cool J, who co-stars as Callen's partner Hanna, also mourned the loss of a "man's man":
A Character Actor To Remember
Miguel Ferrer will certainly be missed as the actor behind so many conflicted, struggling men ultimately trying to find their path to greatness. While fans of Twin Peaks will no doubt relish seeing his return in the revival of the show, slated to hit the small screen in May 2017, other fans of Ferrer's will have to content themselves with his broad slate of appearances in both live action and animated shows.