Boy Drummer

 
Miguel, Gabriel and Maria Ferrer with mom Rosemary Clooney (Circa 1959)

Rosemary Clooney did not have an easy life. There was a contentious marriage to actor José Ferrer and a bitter divorce in 1961, remarriage in 1964 and re-divorce in 1967. A year later she was with Bobby Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night he was assassinated. She spiraled into drug addiction and mental illness quickly afterward.

Her career, which she described in her autobiography as just being “the girl singer,” was effectively over. That is, until she got a phone call from an old friend. In 1976 Bing Crosby planned a 50th anniversary in show business tour and he wanted Rosemary at his side. She was going to need support. Her oldest son was an accomplished drummer. Could he play in the band? Absolutely.

And so, Miguel Ferrer, aged 21, found himself playing jazz from Pasadena to the Paladium. After his mother’s death in 2002 he told The Cincinnati Enquirer:

I played with her from about the time I was 18, and I conducted for her many times, too. There was not a night I didn’t want to pinch myself and say, “Look what I’m doing!’ Some nights she’d come off the stage and I’d say, ‘You really sang great tonight.’ And she would compliment me. We were great friends and colleagues. It was amazing.

When Bing died in 1977 he decided to switch careers. His father suggested acting and he threw himself into it with all his might. It led to movie roles in Robocop, and network series gigs like Twin Peaks, Crossing Jordan, and most recently, NCIS: Los Angeles. Miguel Ferrer passed away today at age 61 losing a long battle with throat cancer.

When his mother died, Ferrer was in his second season of Jordan. They wrote a scene in which his character, Dr. Garret Macy was sitting alone in his office at the end of a particularly difficult week listening to an old jazz LP. Unbeknownst to him, in post production they replaced the song he was listening to with a track Rosemary recorded in 1964, Black Coffee.

I’m moonin’ all the mornin’

Moanin’ all the night

And in between it’s nicotine

And not much heart to fight

Black coffee

Feelin’ low as the ground

It’s drivin’ me crazy

This thinkin’ ’bout my baby

Might maybe come around

Come around

Baby’s come around tonight… and mama’s little boy has gone home.

There are 20 comments.

  1. Percival Thatcher

    I was more familiar with his acting than his music.

    Prayers for his family.

    • #1
    • January 19, 2017, at 4:39 PM PDT
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  2. Jules PA Member

    Didn’t know who this was until you referred to Garrett Macy.

    RIP.

    • #2
    • January 19, 2017, at 4:50 PM PDT
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  3. Jason Rudert Member

    Thank you for posting this. I liked him in every movie I ever saw him in. Just a solid actor. RIP.

    • #3
    • January 19, 2017, at 5:10 PM PDT
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  4. Judge Mental Member

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):
    Thank you for posting this. I liked him in every movie I ever saw him in. Just a solid actor. RIP.

    Yeah, and he looked more and more like his father every year that passed.

    • #4
    • January 19, 2017, at 5:14 PM PDT
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  5. Larry Koler Inactive

    Great story. Thanks.

    • #5
    • January 19, 2017, at 5:17 PM PDT
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  6. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Many thanks, EJ! Eternal Rest and Perpetual Light for Miguel, Rosie – and Bing!

    • #6
    • January 19, 2017, at 5:23 PM PDT
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  7. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    I forgot he was in Twin Peaks.

    • #7
    • January 19, 2017, at 7:16 PM PDT
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  8. Profile Photo Member

    His best role was in Hot Shots Part Deux.

    • #8
    • January 19, 2017, at 7:22 PM PDT
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  9. MarciN Member

    I’ve just come to know him and appreciate him in NCIS Los Angeles. He is a fantastic actor. I’m so sorry that he is gone. Too young.

    Coincidentally, my husband and I happened to see the most recent episode broadcast this Sunday night in which Ferrer was stabbed in the back. I wonder how long ago that scene was shot. He has not looked well at all this season. My husband and I were wondering if he had had a stroke.

    I watched Cheers all the way through over the summer and fall, and it was sad and interesting when Coach died in the middle of a season. They just wrote around it. It was really bizarre.

    Thank you for this post. I didn’t know much about him except that I really liked him as actor. I read somewhere that he wasn’t cast as a permanent member of the NCIS, but the other actors and the audience really liked him so they wrote him into the show to keep him. :)

    • #9
    • January 19, 2017, at 7:27 PM PDT
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  10. John Russell Thatcher

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Yeah, and he looked more and more like his father every year that passed.

    I just started watching Crossing Jordan recently. I noticed right away that the actor who played Dr. Garret Macy was a dead ringer for José Ferrer. Sure enough, a search on IMDB revealed that Miguel Ferrer was José’s son. Look at stills from The Caine Mutiny or Lawrence of Arabia: Miguel might as well be a clone.

    • #10
    • January 19, 2017, at 8:22 PM PDT
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  11. Arahant Member

    Hmmn, he’s not the only one who looked a lot like his father. I was looking at pictures of George and Miguel and this one came up of Nick and José. That is impressive.

    • #11
    • January 19, 2017, at 8:42 PM PDT
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  12. Douglas Inactive

    10 cents (View Comment):
    His best role was in Hot Shots Part Deux.

    His best role was as Lloyd, the Devil’s right-hand man in the miniseries adaption of The Stand. That was Ferrer’s good Stephen King. But he was also the reporter in the gosh-awful adaption of The Night Flier. That was Ferrer’s bad Stephen King.

    • #12
    • January 19, 2017, at 11:31 PM PDT
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  13. Judge Mental Member

    Douglas (View Comment):

    10 cents (View Comment):
    His best role was in Hot Shots Part Deux.

    His best role was as Lloyd, the Devil’s right-hand man in the miniseries adaption of The Stand. That was Ferrer’s good Stephen King. But he was also the reporter in the gosh-awful adaption of The Night Flier. That was Ferrer’s bad Stephen King.

    The Night Flier! That’s the one I was trying to remember.

    • #13
    • January 19, 2017, at 11:33 PM PDT
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  14. The Question Inactive

    I just realized today that I was sort of kind of related to him. I’m not quite sure how, but my dad’s cousin was married to a man who is relative of the Clooneys. I forgot that he was Rosemary Clooney’s son.

    RIP

    • #14
    • January 20, 2017, at 12:19 AM PDT
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  15. Patrick McClure Member

    Nice obituary. He always seemed comfortable with his life.

    • #15
    • January 20, 2017, at 4:46 AM PDT
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  16. Manny Member

    Thanks. Nice write up. He died young. May the Lord rest his soul.

    • #16
    • January 20, 2017, at 5:59 AM PDT
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  17. Pugshot Member

    I always enjoyed his acting and knew he was Jose Ferrer’s son, but either didn’t realize or forgot that he was Rosemary Clooney’s son. Sorry to learn that he passed away. Thanks for the tribute, EJ.

    • #17
    • January 20, 2017, at 7:41 AM PDT
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  18. Leslie Watkins Member

    What a great story, EJ! I really liked Miguel Ferrer. Following the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, I thought of him as being sexy ugly. Not to mention an excellent actor.

    • #18
    • January 20, 2017, at 9:07 AM PDT
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  19. I. M. Fine Lincoln

    Wonderful tribute. Thank you you for the meaningful details and backstories; they are what make up a life well lived.

    • #19
    • January 20, 2017, at 7:58 PM PDT
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  20. Chris O. Member

    Thank you. I grew up watching Miguel’s uncle on the local news. His mother was always a local treasure. And so, many of us followed both Miguel’s career as well as his cousin George. Always enjoyed his work…he played several intense characters. Godspeed.

    • #20
    • January 27, 2017, at 3:44 PM PDT
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