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After the Navy, Ray attended The University of California at Berkeley but college life was not for him and his attendance was brief. After he left Berkeley, he married his first wife, Shirley Green, and settled in Crockett, California where his daughter Claire was born. He was elected as 12th Township Constable of Crockett, a community just north of San Francisco.
Ray was working as the constable of Crockett, California in 1951 when he drove his brother Guido to an audition for the film Saturday’s Hero. The director of the movie, David Miller, was interested in Aldo over Guido because of his raspy voice, so he hired Ray for a small role as a cynical football/soccer player. Even though Ray had no experience, Columbia Pictures signed him to a contract and he appeared in some films under the name Aldo DaRe.
Ray’s husky frame, thick neck and raspy voice made him perfect for playing tough sexy roles. In 1952, Ray made the George Cukor movie, The Marrying Kind, opposite Judy Holliday (this was the first film in which he used that name Aldo Ray) and it is considered his breakthrough movie. Cukor did suggest, undetermined if it was tongue-in-cheek or not, that he take ballet lessons because he walked too much like a football player. A year later, Ray starred opposite Rita Haworth in Miss Sadie Thompson. In that year, 1953, Ray and his wife Shirley divorced but this started the most productive and lucrative time in Ray’s career; he also married his second wife, actress Jean Marie “Jeff” Donnell but it only lasted two years.
Cukor liked Ray’s acting as well as the man and chose him to play the none-too-bright boxer in his Pat and Mike which earned him more notice; he received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award as Best Newcomer along with Richard Burton and Robert Wagner. Burton won but the head of the studio, Harry Cohn, liked Ray so much that he wanted Ray for the role in From here to Eternity that Zimmerman insisted go to Montgomery Clift.
In 1955, Ray starred in Battle Cry, Three Stripes in the Sun and one of his most endearing films although not a big hit, We’re No Angels with Peter Ustinov and Humphrey Bogart. By this time, Ray was associated with the macho roles by which he came to be known.
In 1956, Ray tried radio work and appeared on the air as a personality and announcer in Syracuse, New York at WNDR. Whether there are any tapes of his airtime is unknown but he gave up radio by 1957 and returned to Hollywood where he made 11 films in 11 years, the busiest time of his career.
In 1958, Ray starred in Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre where he appeared with Robert Ryan--an actor with whom he appeared before in Men in War. He also appeared in an adaptation of the Norman Mailer novel, The Naked and the Dead.
Ray worked steadily for 40 years but his career started downhill in the 1970s, with him appearing in a string of low-budget films as a character actor. His last film was Shock ‘Em Dead in 1991. But before his decline, he appeared in 1968's The Green Berets with John Wayne and was lauded for his performance.
As the ‘60’s ended, Hollywood’s appetite for the strong male cgaracters that Ray played declined along with his acting opportunities and the quality of offered roles declines as well; he was basically typecast as gravelly and crude rednecks. He even appeared in a pornographic movie, Sweet Savage, but in a non-sexual role.
Ray was diagnosed with throat cancer and began to take whatever jobs were offered to him because his insurance payments were so high but he needed the medical coverage. In his last years, Ray returned to Crockett, California where his mother, family and friends still lived. He died at the age of 64 of throat cancer and was cremated and buried in Crockett.
Ray had two sons and a daughter with his third wife, Johanna Ray, one of whom is the actor Eric DaRe. But even without his son carrying on the name DaRe, his name is memorialized in Quentin Tarantinos’ film, Inglorious Basterds. In an interview, Tarantino revealed that Brad Pitt’s character’s name, Aldo Raines, is a nod to Aldo Ray. Aldo Ray also inspired the author Richard Matheson who wrote The Incredible Shrinking Man because of a scene in Ray’s Let’s Do It Again in which he puts on the wrong hat and it falls down around his ears; Matheson said it made him wonder what a man would do if that actually started happening to him, that everything was slowly becoming bigger, larger.
Aldo Ray is still considered Crockett’s favorite son and in their town’s museum, they have a display depicting their favorite son’s life and his films.
Actor's card In his breakthrough film "The Marrying Kind." Eric DaRe, Aldo Ray's son. Promo picture for "Battle Cry." "The Green Berets" Sources:
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=ald ... ORM=IDFRIR
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