- Category : Entertainment-Radio-D.J.-Announcer
- Type : PE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sphinx 3
American actor, and director famed for "Johnny Guitar," 1954, "The Lusty Men," 1954, "Rebel Without a Cause," 1955 and "King of Kings," 1961. A dynamic visual storyteller, Ray made some of the more unusual films of the time period and channeled his own feelings of alienation and emotional upheaval onto the screen. His one Oscar nomination was for "Rebel Without a Cause."
Born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, he grew up dreaming of conducting orchestras, but by the time he began high school, his interests had changed to theatre and literature. He wrote a radio script and won a scholarship to the University of Chicago. Two years later he won another scholarship to attend Frank Lloyd Wright’s artists’ colony at Taliesin. There he studied philosophy, music, sculpture, theatre and architecture until 1932 when he moved to New York City. Entering the world of the theatre and billed as "Nik Ray," he performed the lead in "The Young Go First," 1935.
For the next few years, Ray traveled extensively throughout the American Southwest, collecting folk music and other lore for the Library of Congress, and after his return to New York, he produced a radio program called "Back Where I Come From." He regularly contributed to "The Daily Worker," the newspaper of the Communist Party. Ray did not move to Hollywood until 1945 and began his career there as assistant director on "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Although he enjoyed great success throughout the 1950s, his career suffered with the release of "55 Days at Peking," 1963, and he spent the next 16 years trying to re-establish himself professionally. He spent much of this time in Europe, but in 1969 he returned to the United States to discover that he was a cult hero. He became a popular attraction on the college lecture circuit and by 1971, was ensconced as a professor of cinema at a college in New York. His last film, "Lightning Over Water," 1980, done in collaboration with Wim Wenders, captured Ray’s recollections about his career; unfortunately he died before it was released.
Ray married five times. He was married to Jean Evans from 1930-40 and to Gloria Grahame from 6/01/1948 to 8/14/1952. He was married to Susan Rey until they divorced on 6/16/1979. His other two wives were Betty Utey and Susan Schwartz.
He was rejected by the draft board at the onset of World War II due to a heart problem so he turned his energies toward helping set up the "Voice of America" radio network. During the 1960s, while in Europe, he suffered from various illnesses, and late in his life he developed cancer. Ray died on 6/16/1979, New York City.