RAY MILLAND Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ray Milland                                                                       
Birth name: Alfred Reginald Jones                                                       
Born: 3 January 1907 Neath, Glamorgan, Wales, UK                                         
Died: 10 March 1986 Torrance, California, U.S.                                           
Ray Milland (January 3, 1907-March 10, 1986) was an Academy Award and Golden             
Globe-winning and Emmy nominated Welsh/American actor and director who worked           
primarily in the United States. His screen career ran from 1929 to 1985.                 
Milland was in all probability born Alfred Roger Jones in Neath, Glamorgan,             
Wales, the son of Elizabeth Annie (nee Truscott) and Alfred Jones. It has been           
suggested that Ray Milland was born Reginald Alfred John Truscott-Jones, however,       
there is no such person in the General Registry of Births for England and Wales,         
so this must have been an early affectation designed to further his career, the         
possession of a double-barrelled surname often being taken as a sign of class           
superiority in Britain. He took his Hollywood stage name from an area (the "mill         
lands") of the town. He had three sisters. Before becoming an actor, he served           
in the Household Cavalry. An expert shot, he became a member of his company's           
rifle team, winning many prestigious competitions, including the Bisley Match in         
England. When his four-year duty service was completed, Milland tried his hand           
at acting. He was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout while performing on the         
stage in London, went to America, and signed with Paramount Pictures.                   
When WWII began, Milland tried to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Force, but was             
rejected because of an impaired left hand. He worked as a civilian flight               
instructor for the Army, and toured with a United Service Organisation (USO)             
South Pacific troupe in 1944. He married Malvinia Warner on September 30, 1932,         
and they remained together until his death. The couple had a son, Daniel, and an         
adopted daughter, Victoria.                                                             
When working on I Wanted Wings (1941), with Brian Donlevy and William Holden, he         
went up with a pilot to test a plane for filming. While up in the air, Ray               
decided to do a parachute jump (being an avid amateur parachutist) but, just             
before he could disembark, the plane began to sputter, and the pilot told               
Milland not to jump as they were running low on gas and needed to land. Once on         
the ground and in the hangar, Ray began to tell his story of how he had wanted           
to jump. As he did so, the color ran out of the costume man's face. When asked           
why, he told Ray that the parachute he had worn up in the plane was "just a prop",       
and that there had been no parachute. During the filming of Reap the Wild Wind (1942),   
Milland's character was to have curly hair. Milland's hair was naturally                 
straight, so the studio used hot curling irons on his hair to achieve the effect.       
Milland felt that it was this procedure that caused him to go prematurely bald,         
forcing him to go from leading man to supporting player earlier than he would           
have wished.                                                                             
The pinnacle of Milland's career and acknowledgement of his serious dramatic             
abilities came in 1946 when he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his               
portrayal of an alcoholic in Billy Wilder's film The Lost Weekend (1945). In             
1951 he gave a heart-breaking performance in Close to my Heart starring opposite         
Gene Tierney as a couple trying to adopt a child; the film was ahead of its time         
in dealing with the "nature vs. nurture" debate, it opened a conversation about         
the adoption process. In 1954 he starred opposite Grace Kelly in Hitchcock's             
Dial M for Murder. However, Milland failed to match his success in later years.         
He concentrated on directing for TV and film in the 1960s, in which he achieved         
much success. He returned as a movie character actor in the late 60s and the 70s,       
notably in the cult classic Daughter of The Mind (1969), in which he was                 
reunited with Gene Tierney, and in Love Story (1970). He also made many                 
television appearances.                                                                 
Milland gave the shortest acceptance speech of any Oscar winner: he simply bowed         
and left the stage.