Anthony Ray, a son of Rebel Without a Cause director Nicholas Ray who appeared in John Cassavetes’ Shadows and earned an Oscar nomination for producing An Unmarried Woman, has died. He was 80.
Ray died June 29 in Saco, Maine, after a long illness, his family announced.
Just after he turned 20, Ray appeared on Broadway in the Elia Kazan and William Inge drama The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, which debuted in December 1957 and ran for more than 450 performances.
In Shadows (1958), Cassavetes’ admired feature debut, Ray portrayed Tony — a young man who sleeps with a virgin (Lelia Goldoni) and is surprised to discover that her family is black.
He also appeared on the big screen in Anthony Mann’s Men in War (1957), Sidney J. Furie’s A Cool Sound From Hell (1959) and on television on The Twilight Zone, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Untouchables and the soap opera Search for Tomorrow.
Ray served as executive in charge of East Coast production for 20th Century Fox and shared a best picture Oscar nomination with writer-director Paul Mazursky for An Unmarried Woman (1978), starring Jill Clayburgh. He also was an executive producer on Bette Midler’s The Rose (1979).
In addition to the James Dean classic, Rebel Without a Cause, his father Nicholas also directed such notable films as They Live by Night (1948), In a Lonely Place (1950), Bigger Than Life (1956) and Johnny Guitar (1954).
He was married to his In a Lonely Place star, Gloria Grahame, from 1948 until their divorce in 1952.
Eight years later, Anthony Ray married his former stepmother in Tijuana, Mexico. He was 23, Grahame was 37, and they kept their new relationship a secret until the Hollywood tabloids found out about it in 1962 and roasted them for it.
The marriage, his first and her fourth (and last), proved extremely damaging to Grahame’s career.
“The early years of the Gloria-Tony marriage were so contentious and stressful that Gloria endured a brief mental breakdown and eventually underwent shock treatments in 1964 to help clear her mind of her troubles,” Robert J. Lentz wrote in his 2011 book, Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir.
She and Anthony then divorced in 1974.
He was born in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 24, 1937. His mother was journalist Jean Evans, who had married Nicholas Ray a year earlier. They divorced in 1942.
Anthony grew up in New York City, where he attended NYU and The New School for Social Research. He studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse and was a member of the Actors Studio.
He collaborated often with Mazursky, also working as an assistant director or producer on Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Alex in Wonderland (1970), Blume in Love (1973), Harry and Tonto (1974), Willie & Phil (1980) and Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976).
Ray’s family noted that he also was an A.D. on Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960) and John Huston’s The Misfits (1961).
After leaving Hollywood and relocating to Maine, Ray created a film program at Emerson College and directed the International Film and Television Workshop in Rockport, Maine.
He resided in Saco for the past 10 years after retiring to nearby Cape Neddick in the late 1980s.
The family listed his survivors as his wife, Eve, and children, Kelsey and Tony Jr. A service to celebrate his life will be held in the fall.