Raymond Massey

Infobox actor
name = Raymond Massey

imagesize = 200px
caption = Massey photographed by Carl Van Vechten
birthname = Raymond Hart Massey
birthdate = birth date|1896|08|30
birthplace = Toronto, Ontario, Canada
deathdate = death date and age|1983|07|29|1896|08|30 (pneumonia)
deathplace = Los Angeles, California, U.S.
occupation = Actor
spouse = Margery Fremantle (1921-1929) 1 child
Adrianne Allen (1929-1939) 2 children
Dorothy Whitney (1939-1983) (his death)

Raymond Hart Massey (August 30 1896–July 29 1983) was a Canadian-born American actor.


Early life

Massey was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna (née Vincent) and Chester Daniel Massey, the wealthy owner of the Massey-Ferguson Tractor Company. [ [http://www.jarvismansiondistrict.com/MasseyHouse.htm Cawthra Sqare House ] ] He attended secondary school briefly at Upper Canada College, before transferring to Appleby College [ [http://www.northernstars.ca/actorsmno/masseybio.html northernstars.ca Profile of Raymond Massey] ] in Oakville, Ontario, and graduated from university at University of Toronto where both he and his brother were active members in the Kappa Alpha Society, and Balliol College, Oxford.

At the outbreak of World War I, he joined the Canadian Army, serving with the artillery on the Western Front. He returned to Canada suffering shell-shock and was engaged as an army instructor for American officers at Yale. In 1918, he was sent to serve at Siberia, where he made his first stage appearance, entertaining American troops on occupation duty. Severely wounded in action in France, he was sent home, where he eventually worked in the family business, selling farm implements.

Acting career

Drawn to the theater, in 1922, he appeared on the London stage. His first movie role was "High Treason" in 1927. He played Sherlock Holmes in "The Speckled Band" in 1931, the first sound film version of the story. In 1936, he starred in H. G. Wells' "Things to Come". Despite being Canadian, Massey became famous for his quintessential American roles such as abolitionist John Brown in 1940's "Santa Fe Trail" and again as John Brown in the 1955 low-budget film "Seven Angry Men". His second portrayal of Brown was much more sympathetic, presenting him as a well-intentioned, but misguided figure, while in "Santa Fe Trail" he was presented as a wild-eyed lunatic.

Although there was a great outcry when a Canadian was cast as an American president, he scored a great triumph on Broadway in Robert E. Sherwood's play "Abe Lincoln in Illinois", and repeated his role in the 1940 film version (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor). Massey again portrayed Lincoln in the 1956 production of "The Day Lincoln Was Shot" on "Ford Star Jubilee", and (a wordless appearance this time) in 1962's "How the West Was Won".

On stage in the 1953 dramatic reading of Stephen Vincent Benét's "John Brown's Body", Massey, in addition to narrating along with Tyrone Power and Judith Anderson, took on both the roles of John Brown and Abe Lincoln in the same work.

Massey portrayed the character of "Jonathan Brewster" in the film version of "Arsenic and Old Lace". The character had originally been played by Boris Karloff for the stage version and the character was written to resemble Karloff (an ongoing joke in the play and film). Massey and Karloff had appeared together in the 1932 James Whale suspense film "The Old Dark House".

He rejoined the Canadian Army for World War II, though he would eventually be released from service and return to acting work. Following the war, he became an American citizen. Massey became well-known on television in the 1950s and 1960s, especially as Doctor Gillespie in the popular series "Dr. Kildare".

He and his son, Daniel, were cast as father and son in 1961's "The Queen's Guards."

Massey played a Canadian on screen only once, in "Forty-Ninth Parallel" (1941). He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1944.

Personal life

Massey was married three times.
#Margery Fremantle from 1921 to 1929 (divorce); they had one child, Geoffrey Massey.
#Adrianne Allen (February 7 1907-September 14, 1993), the noted London and Broadway stage actress, from 1929 to 1939 (divorce). They had two children who followed him into acting: Anna Massey CBE, and the late Daniel Massey.
#Dorothy Whitney from 1939 until his death.

His older brother was Vincent Massey, the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. He dabbled in politics, appearing in a 1964 television advertisement in support of conservative Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

He died of pneumonia on July 29 1983 (the same day as his "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "A Matter of Life and Death" co-star David Niven) in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 86, and is buried in New Haven, Connecticut.


Massey has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies at 1719 Vine Street and one for television at 6708 Hollywood Blvd.


ee also

*Other Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood


External links

*imdb name|id=0557339|name=Raymond Massey
*Screenonline name|id=458432|name=Raymond Massey

NAME= Massey, Raymond
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Massey, Raymond Hart
DATE OF BIRTH= 1896-08-30
PLACE OF BIRTH= Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DATE OF DEATH= 1983-07-29 (pneumonia)
PLACE OF DEATH= Los Angeles, California, U.S.

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