‘Fade to Gray’ Reveals Unseen Side of Hurd Hatfield

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The Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

In person, Hurd Hatfield was charming, witty, a generous host and a loyal friend. But on screen he was complex, lonely and tortured — unable to escape his typecast as “the bad guy,” from stage to screen. His most acclaimed starring role was Albert Lewin’s 1945 “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” where he portrays an English aristocrat who trades his soul with the devil.

Inspired by Hatfield and his costar, Angela Lansbury, artist Peter Murray has created a series of drawing and watercolors, “Fade to Gray: Hurd Hatfield and The Picture of Dorian Gray,” on view starting Saturday in Sabina Streeter’s gallery space, located at 25 Madison Street in Sag Harbor.

The following day, Murray will give an illustrated lecture, “Hurd Hatfield: The Picture of Dorian Gray,” at 2 p.m. at the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum, exploring the actor’s friendship with Lansbury and his connection to the village, which he first visited in the 1940s.

Here, he purchased and restored several 19th-century houses, notably the 1790 Nathaniel Prime house, at the corner of Madison and Sage Streets, as well as two homes in North Haven and one in Stony Brook.

“Along with his acting career, Hatfield was passionate about historic houses, and collected paintings and antiques to furnish the houses he bought and restored,” according to a press release. “Both in Sag Harbor and in Ireland, he brought his own inimitable style to the houses he lived in, combining memorabilia relating to his own career, with furniture and paintings that added character and depth to his life.”

For more information, call (631) 725-0770 or visit sagharborwhalingmuseum.org.

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