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            Gary Gray

            Biografie

            A child star in such classics as Randolph Scott's Return of the Bad Men (1948) and the Loretta Young / William Holden / Robert Mitchum film Rachel and the Stranger (1948), was born in Los Angeles California on December 18, 1936, to Jeanie Ellen Dickson and John William Gray, aka Bill Gray. Bill Gray was a business manager for many celebrities in the motion picture industry. Young Gary's career began as a result of two of his Dad's clients - Bert Wheeler (of Wheeler and Woolsey fame) and Jack Benny both telling Bill, "You ought to put Gary in pictures", and that is exactly what happened. Gary was signed to Screen Children's Guild and was registered at Central Casting. At the age of three-and-a-half, Gary Gray made his film debut in A Woman's Face (1941) with Joan Crawford. Following quickly with Sun Valley Serenade (1941) as a war orphan, publicity stated that Gray was going to be placed under contract to Harry "Pop" Sherman, and be featured in the next Hopalong Cassidy western. Although this never materialized (Sherman and Cassidy soon left Paramount and went over to United Artists), Gary did continue to appear in a wide range of pictures. His big break came when he landed the role of Young Johnny in RKO's all-star big-budget western Return of the Bad Men (1948). Before this smash hit was released, Gary beat Bobby Driscoll to the part of Young Davey in the frontier epic, Rachel and the Stranger (1948).

            In 1950, he played the son of Nancy Davis and James Whitmore in the classic, The Next Voice You Hear... (1950). His performance in that film led to a term contract at Metro, where he starred with the original Lassie in the Technicolor The Painted Hills (1951). After completing the latter, he spent more of this time attending public school. He graduated from Van Nuys High in the San Fernando Valley, where he lettered in varsity diving and gymnastics. He then attended Valley College, majoring in theater arts. Throughout the fifties Gary continued to work doing mainly television - guesting on many popular series. Gary always loved Westerns and owned horses. Returning to features, Gary appeared in the Universal-International color western Wild Heritage (1958). He made his last film, the cult western Terror at Black Falls (1962) with House Peters Jr. and Peter Mamakos.

            In 1960, Gary started a swimming pool maintenance and repair business. On January 28, 1961, Gary married Jean Charlene Bean. They had four daughters and 19 grandchildren. For the last twenty-five years of his thirty-eight years in the swimming pool industry, he worked for two of the major international manufacturers of swimming pool equipment as territory, regional, and national sales manager. Gary 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." Gary retired from the swimming pool industry in July, 1999. Gary collected tapes of his movies and television programs, as well as stills, posters, and lobby cards from his career. He enjoyed time with his grandchildren, and on the golf course. Beginning in the mid-90s, Gary 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. He died of cancer in 2006.

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