Charles Ray (1891-1943)

Silent film star Charles Ray was born Charles Edgar Alfred Ray in Jacksonville, Illinois on March 15th, 1891. His parents moved him to Los Angeles when he was a small child. The only profession he ever wanted to pursue was acting, ignoring his parents’ advice to follow a more traditional business career. The devotion of his sister made his acting success more secure when she paid his tuition so that he could attend the Wallace Dramatic School.

Ray’s first experience in film came with Thomas Ince’s studio in 1913. He was featured in many short films as a wholesome, simple country boy, and although he became typecast in this kind of role, the public loved him, and clamored for more. In 1915 Charles impressed the critics with his performance in “The Coward” opposite Frank Keenan. Thereafter he was starred in a whimsical comedy feature “The Pinch Hitter” (1917), which was very successful at the box office, and he also performed well in “45 Minutes from Broadway” (1920), and the popular “A Tailor-Made Man” (1922). Comedy is a difficult line to follow successfully in films, but Charles pulled it off with honors, sensitively portraying the type of young American man who rises over difficult obstacles to make good, and in the process winning the girl of his dreams. of course. Charles was not afraid to play the sensitive hero type, even crying when the script called for him to do so. This was in contrast to the more macho type of male heroes played on the screen by other actors of the same era.

Charles Ray in A Tailor Made Man - 1922

Tom Ricketts, Charles Ray, and Ethel Grandin in “A Tailor-Made Man” (1922)

Charles was married twice, to Clara Grant from 1917 until 1934, and then to Yvonne Guerin, from 1934 until her death in 1942. After many roles with Ince and other film companies Charles decided to break out on his own and form his own production company. He put most of his money on a failed filmed project, “The Courtship of Miles Standish” (1923), and lost his fortune. Back he went to making films for Ince, but then Ince’s sudden death in 1924 under mysterious circumstances left Charles vulnerable again. He decided to go to New York and try his hand at stage acting and writing, but found little success, returning to Hollywood broke and looking for work. Happily, he did manage to appear in several successful films before the silent era ended, even though he had aged and his hair was thinning. Later silent films of note for Charles were “Getting Gertie’s Garter” (1927) opposite Marie Prevost, and “The Garden of Eden” (1928) opposite Corinne Griffith. However, his film career was faltering again by the time the sound era was under way. Charles continued to make films through the 1930’s and early 1940’s, but his roles were small, and he was no longer a star. In a strange twist of fate, a simple impacted wisdom tooth cost him his life; it became infected, and antibiotics did not work to save him. He died from systemic infection on November 23rd, 1943. He was only 52 years old. ~ Copyright © 2004

Vintage Bio from “Who’s Who On The Screen” (1920): “Charles Ray was born in Jacksonville, Illinois. From early childhood he wanted to become an actor. His father however had other plans for him and Charlie was hustled off to a business college. Finally, a compromise was reached between Charlie and his father, whereby it was agreed that he was to be given an opportunity to prove his worth as an actor. If he failed he was to return to business. So much impressed was the elder Ray by his son’s work that, realizing there was a possibility of Charlie becoming a favorite, he gave him every assistance. After a tryout with Thomas H. Ince in 1914 he was immediately engaged by that director and remained with him up to the time that he formed his own producing company. His first picture as a First National star was “45 Minutes from Broadway.””

Charles Ray Silent Films

Count of Ten, The (1928) …. Johnny McKinney
Garden of Eden, The (1928) …. Richard Dupont/Spanyi
American, The (1927)
… aka Flag Maker, The (1927)
Vanity (1927) …. Lloyd Van Courtland
Getting Gertie’s Garter (1927) …. Ken Walrick

Charles Ray - silent movie star

Silent film star Charles Ray circa 1923

Nobody’s Widow (1927) …. Honorable John Clayton
Fire Brigade, The (1926) …. Terry O’Neil
Paris (1926) …. Jerry
Auction Block, The (1926) …. Bob Wharton
Sweet Adeline (1926) …. Ben Wilson
Bright Lights (1925) …. Tom Corbin
Some Pun’kins (1925) …. Lem Blossom
Percy (1925) …. Percival Rogeen
… aka Mother’s Boy (1925) (UK)
Dynamite Smith (1924) …. Gladstone Smith
Courtship of Myles Standish, The (1923) …. John Alden
… aka Courtship of Miles Standish, The (1923) (USA)
Ponjola (1923)
Girl I Loved, The (1923) …. John Middleton
Double Crossed (1922)
Saved from the Depths (1922)
Tailor-Made Man, A (1922) …. John Paul Bart
… aka Tailor Made Man, A (1922)
Alias Julius Caesar (1922) …. Billy Barnes
Smudge (1922) …. Stephen Stanton
Deuce of Spades, The (1922) …. Amos
Gas, Oil and Water (1922) …. George Oliver Watson

Boyish silent actor Charles Ray in his early days in film, Golden Silents

Barnstormer, The (1922) …. Joel
R.S.V.P. (1921) …. Richard Morgan
Two Minutes to Go (1921) …. Chester Burnett
Midnight Bell, A (1921) …. Martin Tripp
Scrap Iron (1921) …. John Steel
Old Swimmin’ Hole, The (1921) …. Ezra
Nineteen and Phyllis (1920) …. Andrew Jackson Cavanaugh
… aka Phyllis and Nineteen (1920) (USA: alternative title)
Old Fashioned Boy, An (1920) …. David Warrington
Peaceful Valley (1920) …. Hosiah Howe
Village Sleuth, The (1920) …. William Wells
45 Minutes from Broadway (1920) …. Kid Burns
Homer Comes Home (1920) …. Homer Cavender
Paris Green (1920) …. Luther Green
Alarm Clock Andy (1920) …. Andrew Gray
Red Hot Dollars (1919) …. Tod Burke
Crooked Straight (1919) …. Ben Trimble
Egg Crate Wallop, The (1919) …. Jim Kelly
Bill Henry (1919) …. Bill Henry Jenkins
Hay Foot, Straw Foot (1919) …. Ulysses S. Grant Briggs
Busher, The (1919) …. Ben Harding
Greased Lightning (1919) …. Andy Fletcher
Sheriff’s Son, The (1919) …. Royal Beaudry
Girl Dodger, The (1919) …. Cuthbert Trotman
Staking His Life (1918) …. Frank Hamilton
String Beans (1918) …. Toby Watkins
Law of the North, The (1918) …. Alain de Montcalm
Nine O’Clock Town, A (1918) …. David Clary
Claws of the Hun, The (1918) …. John Stanton
His Own Home Town (1918) …. Jimmy Duncan
Playing the Game (1918) …. Larry Prentiss
Family Skeleton, The (1918) …. Billy Bates
Hired Man, The (1918) …. Ezry Hollins
His Mother’s Boy (1917) …. Matthew Denton
Son of His Father, The (1917)
Sudden Jim (1917) …. James Ashe, Jr.
Clodhopper, The (1917) …. Everett Nelson
Millionaire Vagrant, The (1917) …. Steven Du Peyster
Pinch Hitter, The (1917) …. Joel Parker
Back of the Man (1917) …. Larry Thomas
Skinner’s Dress Suit (1917) (unconfirmed)
Weaker Sex, The (1917) …. Jack Harding
Honorable Algy, The (1916) …. The Honorable Algy
Corner in Colleens, A (1916) …. Richard Taylor
Wolf Woman, The (1916) …. Rex Walden
Home (1916) …. Bob Wheaton
Plain Jane (1916) …. Mr. ‘John Sophomore Adams’
… aka Hick, The (1920) (USA: reissue title (recut version))
Honor Thy Name (1916)
Deserter, The (1916) …. Lieutenant Parker
Dividend, The (1916) …. Frank Steele
Peggy (1916) …. Colin Cameron
Ace of Hearts, The (1915)
Conversion of Frosty Blake, The (1915) …. Horace
… aka Convert, The (1915)
Grudge, The (1915)
… aka Haters, The (1915)
Shoal Light, The (1915)
Spirit of the Bell, The (1915)
Painted Soul, The (1915) …. Barnard
… aka Straight Road, The (1918) (reissue title)
Forbidden Adventure, The (1915) …. Cecil Weatherby
… aka City of the Dead (1915) (USA: changed title)
Coward, The (1915/I) …. Frank Winslow
Lure of Woman, The (1915)
Renegade, The (1915) …. Captain Marley
Cup of Life, The (1915) …. John Ward
Wells of Paradise, The (1915) …. Tom Dolan
In the Tennessee Hills (1915) …. Jim Carson
Card Sharps, The (1914)
City of Darkness, The (1914) …. The Governor’s Brother
City, The (1914)
Curse of Humanity, The (1914)
For Her Brother’s Sake (1914)
Fortunes of War, The (1914)
Friend, The (1914)
In the Cow Country (1914)
Joe Hibbard’s Claim (1914)
Latent Spark, The (1914)
Military Judas, A (1914)
Not of the Flock (1914)
One of the Discard (1914)
Paths of Genius, The (1914)
Red Mask (1914)
Repaid (1914)
Rightful Heir, The (1914)
Shorty’s Sacrifice (1914)
Word of His People (1914)
Gangsters and the Girl, The (1914) …. Detective John Stone
Desert Gold (1914)
… aka After the Storm (1914) (USA)
For the Wearing of the Green (1914)
House of Bondage, The (1914)
Narcotic Spectre (1914)
Bondsman, The (1913)
Boomerang, The (1913/I)
Bread Cast Upon the Waters (1913)
Eileen of Erin (1913)
Exoneration, The (1913)
Lost Dispatch, The (1913)
Open Door, The (1913)
Puritan, The (1913)
… aka His Punishment (1913) (USA: reissue title)
… aka Transgressor, The (1913) (USA)
Quakeress, The (1913)
Sinews of War, The (1913)
Slave’s Devotion, A (1913)
Soul of the South (1913)
Witch of Salem, The (1913)
Favorite Son, The (1913)
Sharpshooter, The (1913)

To learn more about Charles Ray visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database


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