(b. Champaign, Illinois, 16/08/1874 – d. Los Angeles, 29/07/1939). American stage and film actor. Ray A. Brown (later Raymond Brown) was educated at the University of Kansas and apparently graduated with a law degree but, according to the S.A. Pictorial of 16 February 1918, he was a school teacher, a lawyer, an assistant postmaster, a manager of a lumber yard and an assistant superintendent of a saw-mill before, at the age of 28, he finally turned to the stage. As an actor he appeared in minstrel shows, burlesque, vaudeville, light opera and legitimate drama. In addition he was a band leader and played the cello in a theatre orchestra. In New York he appeared in plays like How He Lied to Her Husband, Beau Brummel and Daddy Long-Legs and frequently worked with actress Renée Kelly.
In December 1917 he sailed for South Africa to join the touring American Dramatic Company. His first appearance was in Daddy Long-Legs, but further stage appearances fell by the wayside because H. Lisle Lucoque picked him to play Captain (later Commander) Good in the film versions of King Solomon’s Mines (1918) and Allan Quatermain (1919). This was followed by an unidentified role in With Edged Tools (1919), directed by Joseph Albrecht. In between and after his film commitments he acted for the London Gaiety Company in High Jinks and subsequently in The Girl in the Taxi, Very Good, Eddie, Silent Witness and Follow My Leader, the latter a revue staged at the Empire Theatre.
In July 1919 Brown returned to the United States and at first resumed his theatrical career. His first American film part seems to have been in Lady for a Day (1933), directed by Frank Capra, and he went on to act in numerous films. According to the IMDb his film career stretched from 1933 to 1939, which was the year he died. Although he usually played small, supporting roles in which he frequently went uncredited, the directors he worked with included the likes of W.S. Van Dyke, William Dieterle, Fritz Lang and Busby Berkeley. (FO)
Stage & Cinema, 16 November 1918
Stage & Cinema, 23 November 1918
International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38
Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm
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