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Gary Gray (actor)

Gary Dickson Gray (December 18, 1936 – April 4, 2006) was an American child actor in films, and as an adult in television.

Gary Gray
Born
Gary Dickson Gray

(1936-12-18)December 18, 1936
DiedApril 4, 2006(2006-04-04) (aged 69)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
OccupationActor

BiographyEdit

Born in Los Angeles, California, Gray was the son of Jeanie Ellen Dickson and John William Gray, aka Bill Gray, a film business manager. On January 28, 1961 he married Jean Charlene Bean. The couple had four daughters and 19 grandchildren.

Acting careerEdit

 
Gray (left) with Chief Yowlachie in a promotional poster for the 1951 film The Painted Hills

It was two clients of his father's, Bert Wheeler and Jack Benny, who suggested that Gray should be used in films. Gray made his film debut in the Joan Crawford film A Woman's Face in 1941, and played minor roles in such popular films as Heaven Can Wait (1943), Gaslight (1944) and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). In the 1944 short feature I Am an American he played Thomas Jefferson Kanowski, son of fictional Polish immigrant Fydor Kanowski.[1] He played more substantial roles in films such as Return of the Bad Men (1948) with Randolph Scott, Gun Smugglers (1948) with Tim Holt, Rachel and the Stranger (also 1948) with Robert Mitchum, The Next Voice You Hear (1950) with Nancy Reagan and James Whitmore, and Wild Heritage (1958) with Maureen O'Sullivan.

On April 17, 1956, Gray was cast as sixteen-year-old Jackie Jensen, later a Major League Baseball player, in "The Jackie Jensen Story", which aired on the NBC anthology series, Cavalcade of America. Jensen played himself as an adult; Vivi Janiss was cast as Jensen's mother.[2]

By the time he graduated from high school Gray had appeared in more than 70 films, however as an adult his acting roles were fairly few, and were mainly for television. By the early 1960s, he had retired from acting and concentrated on raising his family.

Business career and later lifeEdit

In 1960, Gray started a swimming pool maintenance and repair business. For the last twenty-five years of his thirty-eight years in the swimming pool industry, Gray worked for two of the major international manufacturers of swimming pool equipment as territory, regional, and national sales manager. Gray was a sought-after speaker and educator for the "National Spa and Pool Institute" as well as by the "Independent Pool and Spa Service Association". Gray retired from the swimming pool industry in July, 1999.

Gray collected tapes of his movies and television programs, as well as stills, posters, and lobby cards from his acting career. Beginning in the mid-90s, he was a frequent guest at film festivals throughout the United States. He enjoyed visiting with his fans, and relating many interesting stories from his lengthy career. Gray played golf as a hobby.

DeathEdit

Gary Gray died in Brush Prairie, Washington from cancer, aged 69.

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1941 A Woman's Face Sailor-Suited Boy in Park Film debut, Uncredited
Sun Valley Serenade Charles - Adopted Refugee Boy Uncredited
1943 The Meanest Man in the World Second Boy With Candy Uncredited
It's a Great Life Boy at Circus Show Uncredited
Hitler's Madman Little Boy Uncredited
Two Tickets to London Boy Pushing Swing Uncredited
Alaska Highway Boy Uncredited
Heaven Can Wait Boy in Park Uncredited
Where Are Your Children? Boy in Day Care Nursery Uncredited
1944 Beautiful But Broke Boy in Nursery Uncredited
Address Unknown Hugo Schulz
Gaslight Boy in Park with Nanny Uncredited
Once Upon a Time Boy with Shoebox Uncredited
The White Cliffs of Dover Boy at Dinner Table Uncredited
Meet Me in St. Louis Boy at Pavilion Uncredited
I'll Be Seeing You Franklin - Boy with Toy Machine Gun Uncredited
1945 Youth for the Kingdom Boy
The Clock Little Joe, Boy in Park Uncredited
Adventures of Rusty Herbie Uncredited
Men in Her Diary Boy Outside Flower Shop Uncredited
1946 To Each His Own Casey Ingham Uncredited
The Green Years Boy Making First Communion Uncredited
Rendezvous 24 'Hansel' in Radio Show Voice, Uncredited
Little Mister Jim Neighbor Boy Uncredited
Slightly Scandalous Little Boy Uncredited
Three Little Girls in Blue Farm Boy with Jug Uncredited
Three Wise Fools Willie the Squeak Uncredited
The Wonderful Ears of Johnny McGoggin Johnny McGoggin
Gay Bubbles Jimmie
1947 My Brother Talks to Horses Boy at School Uncredited
Backlash Chris Uncredited
Too Many Winners Jimmy Edwards Uncredited
The Millerson Case Second Boy at School Uncredited
Living in a Big Way Boy at 'Broken Arms' Uncredited
High Conquest Boy on Train Uncredited
Dark Delusion Boy Patient Uncredited
Swing the Western Way Boy in Grandstand at Rodeo Uncredited
Heaven Only Knows Jimmie Uncredited
1948 Tenth Avenue Angel Boy Uncredited
Best Man Wins Bob Smiley
Return of the Bad Men Johnny
Fighting Back Jimmy Sanders
Night Wind Johnny Benson
Rachel and the Stranger Davey
Whispering Smith Bobby, Baggs' Grandson Uncredited
Gun Smugglers Danny Reeves
1949 Henry, the Rainmaker David Latham
Streets of San Francisco Frankie Fraser
Leave It to Henry David Latham
The Girl from Jones Beach Woody Wilson
Masked Raiders Artie Trevett
The Great Lover Tommy O'Connor
1950 Father Is a Bachelor Jan Chalotte
Father Makes Good David Latham
The Next Voice You Hear... Johnny Smith
Two Weeks with Love McCormick Robinson
Father's Wild Game David Latham
1951 The Painted Hills Tommy Blake
Father Takes the Air David Latham
1951-1952 Fireside Theatre Johnny Episode: "The Secret"
1951-1958 Family Theater Undetermined Roles 3 episodes
1952 Rodeo Joey Cartwright
1953 You Are There Young Rebel Episode: "The Boston Tea Party"
Crazylegs Teenager on Phone
1954 Annie Oakley Bucky Donavan Episode: "Annie and the Six o' Spades"
Captain Midnight Jimmy Sawyer Episode: "Deadly Diamonds"
1955 Cavalcade of America Apple Knocker Episode: "The Texas Rangers"
The First Hundred Days Gary
1956 Studio 57 Mikey Episode: "The Baxter Boy"
The Lineup Bell Boy Episode: "The Ringing Bells Case"
Teenage Rebel Freddie Green Uncredited
Emergency Hospital Earl Fanmorn Uncredited
The Danny Thomas Show Bob Episode: "Terry at the Crossroads"
Hey, Jeannie! Undetermined Role Episode: "Jeannie the Caddy"
The Adventures of Jim Bowie Paul Wilkins 2 episodes
December Bride Undetermined Role Episode: "Football Hero"
1957 I Love Lucy Fruit Basket Deliveryman Episode: "Lucy Misses the Mertzes"
Man Without a Gun Undetermined Role Episode: "The Fugitive"
1957-1960 The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp The Kid/Billy Clanton 3 episodes
1958 Wild Heritage Hugh Adam David Breslin
The Party Crashers Don Hartlow
26 Men Shagg Tanner Episode: "My Brother's Keeper"
1959 Trackdown Luke Turley Episode: "The Feud"
Tumbleweed: Baron of Purgatory Johnny Benson Episode: "Baron of Purgatory"
1962 Terror at Black Falls Johnny Final film

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The 16 minute film, I Am an American, was featured in American theaters in connection with "I Am an American Day" (now called Constitution Day). I Am an American was produced by Gordon Hollingshead, written and directed by Crane Wilbur. Besides Gary, it featured Humphrey Bogart, Dick Haymes, Danny Kaye, Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, Knute Rockne, and Jay Silverheels. See: I Am An American at the TCM Movie Database and I Am an American on IMDb.
  2. ^ "The Jackie Jensen Story on Cavalcade of America". Internet Movie Data Base. April 17, 1956. Retrieved August 8, 2016.

BibliographyEdit

  • Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2002). Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Film and Television. McFarland & Co. pp. 103–112. ISBN 1476613702.
  • Holmstrom, John (1996). The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich: Michael Russell, p. 199-200.

External linksEdit