Ray Danton in trailer for The George Raft Story (1961)
September 19, 1931
New York City, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 1992 (aged 60)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Other names||Raymond Danton|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer|
(m. 1954; div. 1981)
|Partner(s)||Jeannie Austin (19??–1992; his death)|
Ray Danton (born Raymond Caplan; September 19, 1931 – February 11, 1992), also known as Raymond Danton, was a radio, film, stage, and television actor, director, and producer whose most famous roles were in the screen biographies The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) and The George Raft Story (1962). He was married to actress Julie Adams from 1954 to 1981.
Life and career
Danton entered show business as a child radio actor on NBC radio's Let's Pretend show in 1943 at age twelve. He began acting on radio and stage regularly also working as an assistant stage manager.
In 1947, he started at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Technical School, appearing in many stage productions. He went to New York to try and make it on Broadway and ended up appearing on television dramas. In 1950, he went to London to appear on stage in the Tyrone Power production Mister Roberts. He returned to guest star on shows like Danger (an episode directed by Sidney Lumet) and Starlight Theatre.
Danton's acting career was put on hold when he served in the United States Army infantry during the Korean War from 1951–1953. When he returned to the U.S., he resumed his television career, apprearing in shows like Kraft Theatre, The Man Behind the Badge, Lux Video Theatre and You Are There. He played Jean Lafitte in The Pirate and the Lawyer (1955) for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. He then received an offer from Universal.
MGM borrowed him to play Susan Hayward's boyfriend in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), a sizeable hit. Back at Universal he had a role in The Spoilers (1955) then played his first lead in Outside the Law (1956).
In 1959, he guest-starred in the episode "The Meeting" of Behind Closed Doors. Danton played American agent Ralph Drake who is sent to Austria to meet with western agents from six Iron Curtain countries after it is revealed that the Soviet Union had named a new head of the secret police.
In 1960, Danton and Ron Foster were cast as Kane and Tommy Potts, respectively, in the episode "Bounty List" of the western series Colt .45. He also appeared in the ABC/WB western Lawman. Response was so strong Warners announced they would give Danton his own show, Las Vegas.
Danton maintained his gangster persona with the title role in The George Raft Story, a screen biography of 1930s actor/dancer George Raft. "I guess I'm the last of the big time gangsters," he said in a 1962 interview.
In 1961, Danton co-starred with Rosalind Russell, Alec Guinness, and Madlyn Rhue in A Majority of One. He was one of many stars in The Longest Day (1962) and had a supporting role in The Chapman Report (1962).
On October 9, 1962, Danton appeared as the gunfighter Vince Jackson in the episode "The Fortune Hunter" of Laramie. He also guest-starred in the NBC western Empire and its successor series Redigo, both starring Richard Egan.
Danton was in the TV movie FBI Code 98 (1963).
He returned to the USA to guest star in Honey West and The Man from UNCLE then went back to Europe to make Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966), How to Win a Billion... and Get Away with It (1967), Si muore solo una volta (1967), Lucky, el intrépido (1967), Hello Glen Ward, House Dick (1968), and Die grosse Treibjagd (1969).
He would periodically return to the US to guest star on shows like Ironside, ‘’Hawaii Five-0’’, It Takes a Thief, and Dan August.
Producer and director
He formed a production company in Europe producing films like The Last Mercenary and began directing with Deathmaster (1972) and Psychic Killer (1975). Danton continued directing as well as acting and started producing films such as Triangle in 1971.
Return to the U.S.
He began a busy directing career in television, helping episodes of Switch, Baretta, Cagney & Lacey, Fame, T.J. Hooker and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. "Acting has fallen to an all-time low in this country," he said in a 1985 interview.
He directed a stage production of Come Back, Little Sheba in 1987.
Danton directed many episodes of Magnum PI in Season 8, 1988-1989.
Danton was married to actress Julie Adams from 1954 or 1955 until their divorce in 1981. They had two sons: assistant director Steven Danton (b. 1956) and editor Mitchell Danton (b. 1962).
- Chief Crazy Horse (1955) as Little Big Man
- The Looters (1955) as Pete Corder
- The Spoilers (1955) as Blackie
- I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) as David Tredman
- Outside the Law (1956) as John Conrad, alias Johnny Salvo
- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) as Off-Screen Reporter (voice, uncredited)
- The Night Runner (1957) as Roy Turner
- Trackdown (1957 TV Series) episode "Sweetwater Texas" as Clem Reese
- Too Much, Too Soon (1958) as John Howard
- Onionhead (1958) as Ensign Dennis Higgins
- Yancy Derringer (1958 TV series) episode "An Ace Called Spade" as Spade Stuart
- Tarawa Beachhead (1958) as Lt. Joel Brady
- The Beat Generation (1959) as Stan Hess
- The Big Operator (1959) as Oscar 'The Executioner' Wetzel
- Yellowstone Kelly (1959) - Sayapi, Gall's Nephew
- Ice Palace (1960) as Bay Husack
- The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) as Jack 'Legs' Diamond
- Cheyenne season 5, episode 5: "Savage Breed" (1960) as Marshal Al Lestrade
- Maverick season 4, episode 16: "A State Of Siege" (1961) as Don Felipe Archuleta
- A Fever in the Blood (1961) as Attorney Clem Marker
- Portrait of a Mobster (1961) as 'Legs' Diamond
- The George Raft Story (1961) as George Raft
- A Majority of One (1961) as Jerry Black
- The Longest Day (1962) as Capt. Frank
- The Chapman Report (1962) as Fred Linden
- FBI Code 98 (1963) as Fred Vitale
- Sandokan to the Rescue (1964) as Sandokan
- Sandokan Against the Leopard of Sarawak (1964) as Sandokan
- Code Name: Jaguar (1965) as Jeff Larson
- Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966) as Bryan Cooper / Super Dragon
- Ballata da un miliardo (1967) as Big Joe Martin
- Si muore solo una volta (1967) as Mike Gold
- Lucky, the Inscrutable (1967) as Lucky
- Llaman de Jamaica, Mr. Ward (1968) as Glen Ward
- The Last Mercenary (1968) as Mark / Marco Anderson
- Triangle (1970) as Carlo Di Fermi
- Riuscirà il nostro eroe a ritrovare il più grande diamante del mondo? (1971) as Jimmy Logan
- The Ballad of Billie Blue (1972)
- The Runaway Train (1973) as Prof. Jack Dunn
- Blood, Black and White (1973)
- Centerfold Girls (1974) as Perry
- Apache Blood (1975) as Yellow Shirt
- The Rockford Files - TV Series (1975) as Chester Sierra (Episode: Chicken Little is a Little Chicken)
- Psychic Killer (1975) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- Sixpack Annie (1975) as Mr. O'Meyer
- Our Man Flint: Dead on Target (1976) as Derek Flint
- Ray Danton; Child Radio Star, Later Played Villains in Films: [Home Edition] Folkart, Burt A. Los Angeles Times 14 Feb 1992: 28.
- "CAPLAN -- Jack, devoted husband of Selma, Beloved father of Ray Danton, cherished grandfather of Stevcn and dear brother....", The New York Times
- Freedman, Chaim (September 1997). "Eliyahu's branches: The descendants of the Vilna Gaon (Of blessed and saintly memory) and his family".
- Movie actor Ray Danton Chicago Tribune 15 Feb 1992: N19.
- The Life Story of RAY DANTON Picture Show; London Vol. 65, Iss. 1697, (Oct 8, 1955): 12.
- Julie Adams and Ray Danton of Films Elope Los Angeles Times 21 Feb 1955: A1.
- Danton Content Only When Asleep Stinson, Charles. Los Angeles Times 7 Dec 1958: f2.
- FILMLAND EVENTS: Danton to Star in 'Beat Generation', Los Angeles Times 30 Sep 1958: C7.
- "Behind Closed Doors". ctva.biz. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
- "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- HOLLYWOOD TIE-LINE: Hollywood Tie-Line, Waterbury, Ruth. Los Angeles Times 27 Nov 1960: A3.
- Alpert, D. (1962, Jan 28). The last of the big-time mobsters. Los Angeles Times
- '110 in the Shade' Wil Open Sept. 28: STAGE, Los Angeles Times 20 Sep 1964: B26.
- LOW ACTING STANDARDS ARE NORM FOR TV, DIRECTOR SAYS: [3 STAR Edition], Vernon, Scott. Orlando Sentinel; Orlando, Fla. [Orlando, Fla]04 June 1985: E.7.
- INNOCENTS GET LOST IN AMERICA IN `BIGNESS': [Home Edition], ARKATOV, JANICE. Los Angeles Times 17 May 1987: 44.
- "Actress Expects November Baby". The Daily Interlake. May 6, 1956. p. 17. Retrieved September 11, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Official Julie Adams website, julieadams.biz; accessed July 5, 2016.
- Profile, TCM.com; accessed July 5, 2016.
- McMurray, Emily J (editor) Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television Volume 11, Garland Publishing, Inc. (1993)
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