Character film actor in the '40s & '50s, contract negoiator

Dante J. Ferrante, former character actor who appeared in films during the late 1940s and early ’50s, died Jan. 2 of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Ferrante, whose professional name was Dan Foster, was born and reared in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. Shortly after graduating high school, he began his career on stage with a New York touring company. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and appeared in several Army training films lensed in Culver City where Ronald Reagan was stationed. Following the war, he relocated to Los Angeles, attended drama classes at UCLA and appeared in a handful of RKO and MGM films.

Film credits included “The Velvet Touch” (1948), “Strange Bargain” (1949), “Three Guys Named Mike” (1951) and “Singin’ in the Rain.” He also essayed a role in “Love Is Better Than Ever,” which was Elizabeth Taylor’s first adult role and Larry Parks’ last starring role before he was blacklisted.

He later opened a fashionable hobby shop in Beverly Hills called “Dan Foster’s Hobby Junction,” which remained opened until 1968. He switched careers that year, becoming a statewide contract negotiator. Ferrante later retired and settled in Apple Valley, Calif.

He is survived by wife Ann and a daughter.

Family suggests donations be made to the Happy Trails Children Foundation, 10755 Apple Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA.

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