Hitchcock star Farley Granger dies at 85

image captionThey Live By Night saw Granger (L) appear alongside Cathy O'Donnell

US actor Farley Granger, best known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock thrillers Rope and Strangers on a Train, has died in New York at the age of 85.

He died on Sunday of natural causes at his Manhattan home, the New York City medical examiner's office said.

Born in 1925 in San Jose, California, the actor played a reluctant killer in Rope and a tennis player embroiled in a murder plot in Strangers on a Train.

Yet at the peak of his stardom he left Hollywood to study acting in New York.

"I left Hollywood because I didn't know my craft," he would later reveal. "I was a star but I knew nothing of the techniques of acting.

"I figured I'd better learn or I'd be in trouble when the star aspects of my career wore off."

Apart from the two Hitchcocks, Granger's best-known film was 1949's They Live By Night, in which he played a small-time crook who embarks on an ill-fated relationship while on the run.

He went on to make several movies in Italy, including Luchino Visconti's Senso, and appear in such daytime soap operas as As the World Turns and One Life to Live.

In 2001 he made his West End stage debut at the age of 75 in a revival of Noel Coward's play Semi-Monde.

Six years later he published Include Me Out, a memoir co-written with his long-term partner Robert Calhoun.