Born Aldo DaRe in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1926, movie heavy Aldo Ray was born into a large Italian family and grew up in northern California. He entered the Navy in 1944 at age 18 and served as a frogman during World War II. After his discharge, Ray briefly studied political science at the University of California. In 1950, Ray was working as a peace officer in Crockett, California, when he was discovered for films by a Columbia talent scout. By chance Ray landed a role in the Columbia drama Saturday's Hero (1951; with John Derek), and his performance was good enough for Columbia to sign him to a contract.

Aldo RayAldo RayAldo RayAldo RayAldo Ray and Jeff Donnell

LEFT and CENTER: Photos of Aldo Ray, circa 1950s. RIGHT: Ray with his second wife, actress Jeff Donnell, in 1954

His husky voice and tough demeanor made him a natural in such war films as Battle Cry (1955; with Tab Hunter and Dorothy Malone). He also gave good performances in several comedies, including Let's Do It Again (1953; with Jane Wyman and Ray Milland) and We're No Angels (1955; with Humphrey Bogart and Joan Bennett).

After a brief first marriage in 1947 that produced a daughter, Ray married actress and fellow Columbia contract player Jeff Donnell in 1954, but they parted ways two years later. Ray wed his third wife in 1960 and, after welcoming two sons, got divorced again in 1967. Emotionally and financially battered by three failed marriages and child support, Ray remained single for the rest of his life.

the films of aldo ray

Pat and Mike (1952)

Aldo Ray and Katharine Hepburn

With Katharine Hepburn in the MGM comedy Pat and Mike, one of the best films of Ray's career

The Marrying Kind (1952)

Judy Holliday and Aldo RayJudy Holliday and Aldo Ray

From Columbia's bittersweet comedy The Marrying Kind with Judy Holliday

Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)

Rita Hayworth and Aldo RayRita Hayworth and Aldo Ray

From Columbia's Miss Sadie Thompson with Rita Hayworth

Let's Do It Again (1953)

Jane Wyman and Aldo Ray

With Jane Wyman in the Columbia musical comedy Let's Do It Again

Battle Cry (1955)

Aldo Ray and Nancy Olson

Ray romances window Nancy Olson in the Warner Bros. World War II drama Battle Cry

Three Stripes in the Sun (1955)

Chuck Connors, Aldo Ray, and Dick York

With Chuck Connors and Dick York in the war-themed romance Three Stripes in the Sun

Nightfall (1957)

Anne Bancroft and Aldo Ray

Columbia released the film noir thriller Nightfall. Ray is pictured with Anne Bancroft

The Naked and the Dead (1958)

Aldo Ray and Cliff RobertsonBarbara Nichols and Aldo RayBarbara Nichols and Aldo Ray

From the World War II drama The Naked and the Dead. LEFT: With Cliff Robertson. CENTER and RIGHT: With Barbara Nichols

The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960)

Aldo Ray, Albert Sharpe, and Kieron MooreAldo RayKieron Moore and Aldo Ray

From MGM's late noir release The Day They Robbed the Bank of England. LEFT: With Albert Sharpe and Kieron Moore. RIGHT: Lobby card images

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)

James Coburn and Aldo Ray

Ray and James Coburn star in Columbia's crime caper Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)

Aldo Ray and James Coburn

From Blake Edwards' war comedy What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? with James Coburn

Riot on Sunset Strip (1967)

Aldo Ray and Laurie Mock

From American International's juvenile delinquent drama Riot on Sunset Strip with Laurie Mock

Kill a Dragon (1967)

Jack Palance and Aldo Ray

From the low-budget action picture Kill a Dragon with Jack Palance

And Hope to Die (1972)

Aldo Ray

From the French crime drama And Hope to Die

later years

Ray found good roles hard to come by in the 1970s and 1980s, but somehow he managed to keep working in exploitation and horror films; Ray even acted (but remained clothed) in a late 1970s porno titled Sweet Savage (1979; with Carol Connors). Never earning much money and struggling with alcohol, Ray was often financially strapped and had to make ends meet by appearing in low-budget films. Even during his seven-year contract with Columbia, Ray never earned more than $600 per week. By the 1980s, however, he began to turn his life and career around. Some of his films from the 1980s include Bog (1983; with Marshall Thompson), Vultures (1983; with Yvonne De Carlo), Evils of the Night (1985; with Tina Louise and Julie Newmar), and Terror Night (1987; with John Ireland and Cameron Mitchell). In late 1989, Ray was diagnosed with throat cancer and passed away on March 27, 1991, just two months after the release of his final film, Shock 'Em Dead (1991; with Troy Donahue and Traci Lords). He was 64 years old. Ray was survived by two sons, a daughter, and a grandchild.

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Shock 'Em Dead (1991) with Traci Lords and Troy Donahue
Crime of Crimes (1989) with David Carradine
Shooters (1989)
Blood Red (1989) with Eric Roberts, Dennis Hopper, Carlin Glynn, and Michael Madsen
Hollywood Cop (1988) with Jim Mitchum, Cameron Mitchell, and Troy Donahue
Hateman (1987) with Cameron Mitchell and Chuck Mitchell
Bloody Movie (1987) with Cameron Mitchell, Michelle Bauer, Dan Haggerty, Alan Hale Jr., and John Ireland
The Sicilian (1987) with Christopher Lambert, Terence Stamp, and John Turturro
Terror on Alcatraz (1986)
Evils of the Night (1985) with Neville Brand, Tina Louise, John Carradine, and Julie Newmar
Flesh and Bullets (1985) with Yvonne De Carlo, Cornel Wilde, and Cesar Romero
To Kill a Stranger (1985) with Dean Stockwell and Donald Pleasence
Biohazard (1984) with Angelique Pettyjohn, Carroll Borland, and Fred Olen Ray
The Executioner, Part II (1984) with Christopher Mitchum
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie (1984) with Donald Pleasence, Yvonne Furneaux, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and June Wilkinson
Star Slammer (1984) with Ross Hagen and Vivian Schilling
Vultures (1983) with Stuart Whitman, Yvonne De Carlo, Greg Mullavy, Meredith MacRae, and Jim Bailey
Bog (1983) with Gloria DeHaven and Marshall Thompson
Boxoffice (1982) with Eddie Constantine and Edie Adams
Dark Sanity (1982)
Mongrel (1982)
Sanctuary for Evil (1981) with Linnea Quigley
When I Am King (1981) with Stuart Whitman
Human Experiments (1980) with Jackie Coogan, Geoffrey Lewis, and Lurene Tuttle
The Haunted (1979) with Virginia Mayo
Sweet Savage (1979) with Carol Connors
Death Dimension (1978) with Jim Kelly, Harold Sakata, George Lazenby, and Terry Moore; directed by Al Adamson
The Glove: Lethal Terminator (1978) with John Saxon, Rosey Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Joan Blondell, Jack Carter, and Keenan Wynn
The Great Skycopter Rescue (1978) with Russell Johnson
The Lucifer Complex (1978) with Robert Vaughn and Keenan Wynn
Haunts (1977) with May Britt and Cameron Mitchell
The Father Kino Story (1977) with Richard Egan, Ricardo Montalban, John Ireland, Cesar Romero, Rory Calhoun, Keenan Wynn, John Russell, and Victor Jory
The Man Who Would Not Die (1976) with Dorothy Malone and Keenan Wynn
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
Gone with the West (1975) with James Caan, Stefanie Powers, Robert Walker Jr., and Sammy Davis Jr.
Psychic Killer (1975) with Paul Burke, Jim Hutton, Julie Adams, Neville Brand, Rod Cameron, Whit Bissell, and Greydon Clark; directed by Ray Danton
Inside Out (1975) with Telly Savalas, Robert Culp, and James Mason
Promise Him Anything (1975) with Eddie Albert, Frederic Forrest, Meg Foster, Tom Ewell, and Joyce Jameson
Seven Alone (1974) with Dewey Martin
The Centerfold Girls (1974) with Ray Danton, Jeremy Slate, Andrew Prine, Tiffany Bolling, and Francine York
The Bad Bunch (1973) with Jock Mahoney, Greydon Clark, and Jacqueline Cole; directed by Greydon Clark
The Dynamite Brothers (1973) with Carol Speed; directed by Al Adamson
And Hope to Die (1972) with Robert Ryan and Tisa Farrow
Angel Unchained (1970) with Don Stroud, Tyne Daly, and Bill McKinney
Deadlock (1969) with Roger Bowen, Ruby Dee, Dana Elcar, Max Julien, Leslie Nielsen, and Fred Williamson
Suicide Commandos (1968)
The Green Berets (1968) with John Wayne, David Janssen, Jim Hutton, Bruce Cabot, Jack Soo, Patrick Wayne, Jason Evers, and Mike Henry
The Power (1968) with George Hamilton, Suzanne Pleshette, Richard Carlson, Yvonne De Carlo, Earl Holliman, Gary Merrill, Barbara Nichols, and Michael Rennie
Kill a Dragon (1967) with Jack Palance and Fernando Lamas
The Violent Ones (1967) with Fernando Lamas, Tommy Sands, David Carradine, and Lisa Gaye
Welcome to Hard Times (1967) with Henry Fonda, Janice Rule, Keenan Wynn, Janis Paige, Warren Oates, Fay Spain, Edgar Buchanan, Denver Pyle, and Lon Chaney Jr.
Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) with Mimsy Farmer, Tim Rooney, and Hortense Petra
Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966) with James Coburn and Todd Armstrong
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966) with James Coburn, Dick Shawn, Harry Morgan, and Carroll O'Connor
Nightmare in the Sun (1965) with Ursula Andress, John Derek, Sammy Davis Jr., Robert Duvall, Chick Chandler, George Tobias, Lurene Tuttle, and Keenan Wynn
Sylvia (1965) with Carroll Baker, George Maharis, Joanne Dru, Peter Lawford, Viveca Lindfors, Edmond O'Brien, Ann Sothern, Lloyd Bochner, and Nancy Kovack
Musketeers of the Sea (1962) with Pier Angeli and Robert Alda
Johnny Nobody (1961) with William Bendix, Cyril Cusack, and Nigel Patrick
The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960) with Peter O'Toole and Kieron Moore
Four Desperate Men (1959) with Neil McCallum and Heather Sears
God's Little Acre (1958) with Robert Ryan, Buddy Hackett, Jack Lord, Fay Spain, Tina Louise, Vic Morrow, Lance Fuller, and Michael Landon
The Naked and the Dead (1958) with Cliff Robertson, Raymond Massey, Lili St. Cyr, Barbara Nichols, William Campbell, James Best, Joey Bishop, and Max Showalter
Men in War (1957) with Robert Ryan
Nightfall (1957) with Brian Keith, Anne Bancroft, James Gregory, and Frank Albertson
Three Stripes in the Sun (1955) with Philip Carey, Dick York, and Chuck Connors
We're No Angels (1955) with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo G. Carroll, and Gloria Talbott
Battle Cry (1955) with Van Heflin, Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, James Whitmore, Raymond Massey, Tab Hunter, Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis, William Campbell, and John Lupton
Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) with Rita Hayworth, Jose Ferrer, Peggy Converse, and Charles Bronson
Let's Do It Again (1953) with Jane Wyman and Ray Milland
Pat and Mike (1952) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn
The Marrying Kind (1952) with Judy Holliday and Mickey Shaughnessy
Saturday's Hero (1951) with John Derek and Donna Reed
My True Story (1951) with Helen Walker

The Houndcats, 1972-1973 NBC animated TV series. Ray voiced the role of Muscle Mutt

Falcon Crest, episode Strange Bedfellows, originally aired December 13, 1985
CHiPs, episode High Octane, originally aired October 6, 1979
Marcus Welby, M.D., episode The Tidal Wave, originally aired October 28, 1975
S.W.A.T., episode The Vendetta, originally aired October 11, 1975
Movin' On, episode The Trick Is to Stay Alive, originally aired October 10, 1974
Bonanza, episode Riot, originally aired October 3, 1972
Love, American Style, episode Love and the Advice Givers/Love and the Geisha/Love and Take Me Along, originally aired November 10, 1969
The Danny Thomas Hour, episode Fame Is a Four-Letter Word, originally aired October 30, 1967
Run for Your Life, episode The Face of the Antagonist, originally aired January 30, 1967
The Virginian, episode Jacob Was a Plain Man, originally aired October 12, 1966
Daniel Boone, episode The Trek, originally aired October 21, 1965
Bonanza, episode The Wild One, originally aired October 4, 1964
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Andy Zygmunt?, originally aired March 13, 1964
Kraft Suspense Theatre, episode The Deep End, originally aired January 2, 1964
Ben Casey, episode Little Drops of Water, Little Grains of Sand, originally aired October 30, 1963
Alcoa Premiere, episode Lollipop Louie, originally aired January 10, 1963
The Virginian, episode Big Day, Great Day, originally aired October 24, 1962
Naked City, episode Idylls of a Running Back, originally aired September 26, 1962
Frontier Circus, episode The Depths of Fear, originally aired October 5, 1961
Riverboat, episode Payment in Full, originally aired September 13, 1959
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, episode K.O. Kitty, originally aired December 8, 1958

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Watch Aldo Ray's 1975 film Gone with the West

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