RAY WALSTON Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ray Walston                                                                 
Birth name: Herman Walston                                                         
Born: 2 December 1914 New Orleans, Louisiana                                       
Died January 1, 2001 Beverly Hills, California                                     
Ray Walston (December 2, 1914 - January 1, 2001) was an American stage,           
television and feature film character actor who played the title character on     
the situation comedy My Favorite Martian and Judge Henry Bone on the drama         
series Picket Fences.                                                             
He was born Herman Walston in New Orleans, Louisiana (some sources indicate       
Laurel, Mississippi) to middle-class parents Mittie (nee Kimball) and Harry       
Norman Walston, a lumber man. He started acting at an early age, beginning         
his tenure as a "spear carrier" rounding out productions at many New Orleans       
theaters. He mostly played small roles with stock companies, where he not only     
starred in travelling shows but also worked at a movie theater, selling tickets   
and cleaning the stage floors. His family moved to Houston, Texas, where he       
joined the Houston Civic Theater's repertory company under Margo Jones, debuting   
in 1938.                                                                           
Walston was very popular with Margo Jones's team of actors before he travelled     
to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent three years with the Cleveland Playhouse. He   
then traveled to New York City, where he made his Broadway debut in a 1945         
production of Hamlet. In 1949 he appeared in the short-lived play Mrs. Gibbons'   
Boys directed by George Abbott, who later cast him as Satan in Damn Yankees       
opposite Gwen Verdon as his sexy aide Lola. The chemistry between the two was     
such that they both garnered critical success and won awards for their roles.     
After a decade in New York theater, he won a Tony Award, and he and Verdon were   
invited to reprise their roles in the 1958 film version.                           
Walston had a successful movie career in addition to Damn Yankees!, beginning     
with Kiss Them for Me in 1957, and then South Pacific (1958), where he played     
Luther Billis; Say One for Me (1959); Tall Story, Portrait in Black, and The       
Apartment (all in 1960); Convicts 4 (1962); Wives and Lovers, and Who's Minding   
the Store? (both in 1963); Kiss Me, Stupid (1964); Caprice (1967); and Paint       
Your Wagon (1969). Walston is also featured in the 1973 Best-Picture-Winner The   
Sting, in which he is crucial to the successful swindling of an unsuspecting       
griftee (played by Robert Shaw). He was also among many of the actors who played   
themselves in cameos for Robert Altman's The Player, although Walston along with   
several other stars, are actually in character for a movie within a movie         
Walston went on to some of his greatest success on the small screen. He starred   
as the Martian, alias Uncle Martin, on My Favorite Martian from 1963 to 1966.     
His co-star was Bill Bixby.