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"And a word, please, for when you die?"

If you have to be interviewed for your own obituary, as happened to 50s screen legend Farley Granger, then you just hope that you too will come up with a quote as memorable as "The war was on, and men were in short supply."

Granger's death on Sunday, at age 85, was reported in the New York Times obits section in a sensitive, wide-ranging skim over the bisexual actor's life and career. His immortal words about war and the lack of men were recorded back in 2007, reports the Times, in the equally memorable phrase "Mr Granger recalled in an interview for this obituary". (Really, would you have the nerve, as a reporter, to ask an elderly person to be quizzed for a piece to come out only after they died?)

Granger was recalling his Hollywood fame with typical humility, of course, as his own military service was delayed until the end of the war. The star of Hitchcock's Rope, and Strangers on a Train later turned to the stage, and his career never achieved the heights it deserved.

His love life was worth a movie in its own right: he had a long and tempestuous relationship with Shelley Winters and a dalliance with Ava Gardner. But the self-described bisexual also had relationships with Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents, and when asked about his sexuality by the Times in that same interview, said: "I've lived the greater part of my life with a man [Robert Calhoun, who died in 2008], so obviously that's the most satisfying to me."

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