Nicholas Ray (born, Wisconsin, United States 7 August 1911 – NY 16 June 1979), whose real name was Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, was a director, American actor and screenwriter.

Biography and career

He was the youngest of four brothers. His father, who already had two daughters from a previous marriage, was an alcoholic. It was a German Catholic, but became a Lutheran. His mother worked in the entertainment world.

Early life

Ray starts to study at the University of Chicago, but is forced to let her in 1932. He moved to New York and is renamed. Return to Wisconsin after receiving an invitation from the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which had studied at a school called ‘Taliesin’ architecture. Unfortunately, this duo will not have continuity and Ray left again his school and returned to New York.

With barely $100 in your pocket, Ray joins a group of New York Theatre improvisation. There you’ll learn to Elia Kazan. Unusual push students to their limits was famous for his way, and that form of teaching is that mark Ray the rest of his life. In fact, when Kazan directs human ties, his first film in Hollywood, will engage Ray as Assistant.

Directorial debut

Then Ray will begin directing his own films. Starts in 1948 with the lovers of the night, and in 1949 with the secret of a woman, which emphasizes interpretation of Gloria Grahame, which marry after filming. Then rolls knock on any door, with Humphrey Bogart, and in a lonely place (1950), starring Bogart and Grahame and was a murder suspect screenwriter. Subsequent films are born for evil, hell in the clouds (with John Wayne, House in the shade, men wandering and Johnny Guitar, which was a huge success at the box office.

Rebel without a cause

After this victory, Ray joins the Warner Bros., that ensure the direction of the famous rebel without a cause. This film was originally a vision of Dr. Robert M. Lindner of fractious and violent adolescents investigations. Warner had been made with the rights of this work and had thought used it Marlon Brando and directed it Sidney Lumet. However, neither of them could participate in that project.

The subject of juvenile delinquency was already present in all the American media from long time before, which encouraged Ray to accept this project. Indeed, believed in this regard: «Do not me interested the psychopath or the son of an unstructured family». However, shortly thereafter, Ray begins to write their own story, entitled The Blind Run, a raw story of 17 pages which had a series of violent scenes and criminal acts. He is joined by producer David Weisbart, which rewrites the history to make it more acceptable. Then Ray realizes the absurdity of the thesis that is intended to convey that rebel “without cause”: the bad guys come from poor families, the rich are good ones. “It is absolutely untrue,” said Ray.

To sharpen the screenplay, Ray uses the dynamic Stewart Stern, a writer of 32 years. To put the icing, Ray chooses to James Dean as protagonist of the film. Both have much in common, for example, both have had a miserable childhood (Dean father left him nine years) and both were introverted adults.

The soundtrack of the film will be the very renowned Leonard Rosenman, who had made the music of East of Eden.

However, the Warner Bros. was not agree on the choice of the main actor. The company preferred young actors, ascending stars as Robert Wagner, Tab Hunter, or John Kerr. As female star of the movie, go to Natalie Wood, who had only then 16 years.

A week before the world premiere dies then, as you know, James Dean. Then becomes an icon between the youth of the world, and Ray are severely affected by this death.

Recent years

In a desperate attempt to forget the tragedy, Nicholas Ray leads King of Kings and 55 days at Peking. Suffers a heart ailment during the filming of 55 days at Peking, and this was the beginning of the end of his career. She had lost everything. Madame progressively in related to James Dean, you said that had bequeathed you various objects. For example, exhibited a rifle to students at the Sorbonne screaming that Dean is it had bequeathed.

In the end of his life, Nicholas Ray fell into alcohol and gambling. His fortune dissipated in a blink of eye. In 1969, met women who will be his fourth and final wife, a student of the Faculty at the University of Chicago named Susan Schwartz, which was only 18 years old (he had 58).

Ray participated as an actor in the American friend Wim Wenders (1976). Multiple problems with justice only ended with his death in 1979.

Personal life

Bisexual and addicted to alcohol and amphetamines, Ray is married to actress Gloria Grahame (his second wife) they had a son, Tim, and later divorced. Eight years later, in 1960, Hollywood was scandalized with the marriage of Grahame and Tony Ray, son of Nicholas and stepson of Grahame. Glory ended up taking the two Ray children – father and son.

Ray had two daughters with his third wife, actress and dancer Betty Utey.

Fourth and final wife Susan Ray Ray wrote an essay with the title of Nicholas Ray’s autobiography.

After going to Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1976 had overcome their addictions.

In his last two years, worked in the direction of Lightning Over Water or lightning over water (also known as Nick’s Film) with the director German Wim Wenders. It’s a testimony about the end of the life of Nicholas Ray. In the last scene, friends carry his ashes, a boat into the ocean.

Died of lung cancer on June 16, 1979 in New York, after two years of disease and agony.


* 1948 – Lovers of night (They Live by Night)

* 1949

o The secret of a woman (A woman’s Secret)

o Knock on any door (Knock on Any Door)

* 1950

o In a lonely place (In a Lonely Place)

o Born to evil (Born to Be Bad)

* 1951

o Hell in the clouds (Flying Leatherneck)

o The trap (The Racket)

* 1952

o The House in the shadow (On Dangerous Ground)

o An adventure in Macau (Macau)

o Wandering men (The Lusty Men)

* 1954 – Johnny Guitar

* 1955

o Looking for your shelter (Run for Cover)

o Rebel without a cause (Rebel Without to cause)

* 1956

o Warm-blooded (Hot Blood)

o More powerful than life (Bigger Than Life)

* 1957 – The true story of Jesse James (The True Story of Jesse James)

o Bitter victory (Bitter victory)

* 1958

o Death in swamps (Wind Across the Everglades)

o Chicago, 30 years (Party Girl)

* 1959 – The Devil’s teeth (The Savage Innocents)

* 1961 – The King of Kings (King of Kings)

* 1963 – 55 days at Peking (55 Days at Peking)

* 1980 – Lightning over water (Lightning Over Water)