By GIACK SELLONI
Today marks the eighth anniversary of a one-of-a-kind event that happened in our club. On this day in 2012, José Ferrer -- actor, director, Player (and former club president) as well as the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award (1950 for Cyrano de Bergerac) -- was honored with a US postage stamp. The ceremony was held at our clubhouse, making it the official first-day-of-issue stamping location.
In attendance that day, speaking of Ferrer, were theatre luminaries Hal Prince, Frances Sternhagen, Christopher Lloyd, and Theodore Chapin of the American Theatre Wing. Also attending were José's widow, Stella Ferrer; his son Raphael; John Martello, Executive Director of The Players; and Stephen Kearney, manager, Stamp Services, U.S. Postal Service. I was there too.
“Today, the Postal Service is pleased and proud to bestow upon José Ferrer — a groundbreaking Latino movie, theatre and television performer and the first Puerto Rican actor to succeed in Hollywood — a new commemorative Forever stamp,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president, Government Relations and Public Policy, for the U.S. Postal Service. “Throughout an acting career that spanned more than half a century, Ferrer played a wide range of roles on both Broadway and on the silver screen. His accomplishments extended to many other genres of entertainment. He acted on radio, performed as an opera singer, co-authored a libretto, and was a composer. And, as if all this weren’t enough, Ferrer wrote for theatre and television, and directed and produced numerous plays, both on and off Broadway.”
In 1947, José Ferrer won the very first Tony Award for Best Actor for Cyrano de Bergerac. And in 1985 he became the first actor to be awarded the National Medal of Arts, which was bestowed upon him by President Ronald Reagan. In his luminous career, he was no stranger to high honors -- but this one happened at his beloved club.
Video of the dedication ceremony can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYdo2oQ4p7s
Giack Selloni has been a Player since 2010 and member of the Board of Directors since 2013. He is an actor, playwright, and nice guy whenever he's allowed to be.