Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 09:14 UK

Hollywood actor Mel Ferrer dies

Mel Ferrer with his wife Audrey Hepburn at London airport, 19 January 1965
Ferrer was married five times, including to actress Audrey Hepburn

US actor and film-maker Mel Ferrer, who was once married to actress Audrey Hepburn, has died at the age of 90.

He died at his ranch in California surrounded by family and friends, a spokesman said.

Ferrer starred in scores of films including War and Peace, The Sun Also Rises and Lili.

He married Hepburn - his fourth of five wives - in 1954 after they appeared together in the play Ondine in New York. They divorced in 1968.

Ferrer had been in failing health for the past six months, his son Mark Ferrer told news agency Associated Press.

Born on 25 August 1917 in Elberon, New Jersey, Ferrer was the son of a Cuban doctor and a socialite mother.

He wrote a children's book and became a New York book editor before beginning his acting career.

Directing lifts him. He's so relaxed at it that I just know it is the job he loves
Audrey Hepburn

Ferrer's most impressive film role came in 1953's Lili in which he played a disabled carnival puppeteer who fell in with a French orphan.

He won critical acclaim as Luis Bello in Robert Rossen's 1951 depiction of the public and private life of a bullfighter in The Brave Bulls.

He also starred opposite Hepburn in 1956's War and Peace.

In later years, Ferrer increasingly turned to directing and producing films for television.

"Acting, at times, depresses Mel," Hepburn once said.

"Directing lifts him. He's so relaxed at it that I just know it is the job he loves."

He also produced the actress in the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark.

In all, he appeared in more than 100 films and made-for-television movies, directed nine films and produced nine more.

He married his fifth wife, Elizabeth Soukhotine, in 1969.

She survives him along with his four sons and two daughters.

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