Gene Raymond Biography (1908-1998)
Born Raymond Guion, August 13, 1908, in New York, NY; died of pneumonia, May3, 1998, in Los Angeles, CA. Actor, director, producer, writer.
Raymond distinguished himself as an actor in stage, film, and television productions. He was also famous for his lengthy marriage to actress and recordingartist Jeanette MacDonald, who had paired with Nelson Eddy to make romanticballads and movies. Raymond began his career in his childhood, first appearing on Broadway under his real name, Raymond Guion, in 1920's The Piper.Numerous stage performances followed as well as major tours. His stage rolesincluded Sid Swanson in The War Song, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Edward Burgeon in Madly in Love, as well as parts in The Detective Story, Holiday for Lovers, Be Quiet, My Love, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? He made his film debut in 1931 as Dick Gary in Personal Maid. Subsequent performances included If I Had a Million, Red Dust, There Goes My Girl, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Smilin' Through (with MacDonald), Hit the Deck, and TheGun Riders. He also starred in, directed, and wrote 1948's Million Dollar Weekend. In the 1950s he broke into television. He was the host of the series Fireside Theatre, a panelist on What's Going On?, host on both Hollywood Summer Theatre and TV Reader's Digest, andportrayed Robert Stevens in Paris 7000. Raymond also made guest appearances on shows such as The Outer Limits, The Red Skelton Show,Laredo, Judd for the Defense, The Bold Ones, Mannix, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Defenders. He appeared in the television movie The Hanged Man and directed an episode of Matinee Theatre. His writing credits also include the play Prima Donna, and the songs "Will You?" and "Let Me Always Sing."
Raymond was involved in other pursuits as well. He took time off from his acting during World War II to serve as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces. Later, during the conflict in Vietnam, he served as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve and saw duty flying over South Vietnam. His war service brought him various decorations. In addition, he was a founder of Masque Productions, presided over the Motion Picture and Television Fund, was board member of the Screen Actors Guild, vice-president of the Arthritis Foundation of Southern California, and was a trustee with the Falcon Foundation of the United States Air Force Academy. Raymond's twenty-eight-year marriage to MacDonald, which endedwith her death, brought him celebrity as well. However, the MacDonald and Eddy duo had earned the nickname "America's Sweethearts" and fans were often surprised to find MacDonald was really married to Raymond. He often appeared atgatherings of the Jeanette MacDonald Fan Club, and he was featured as himselfin the 1992 television program Nelson and Jeanette, America's Singing Sweethearts.
- Actor, Director, Producer, Writer
- Birth Details
- August 13, 1908
- New York, New York, United States
- Death Details
- May 3, 1998
- Los Angeles, California, United States
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES
- 1996Who's Who in America, Marquis.
- Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1998, section 1, p. 11.
- Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1998, p. A24.
- New York Times, May 6, 1998, p. D23.
- Times (London; electronic), May 9, 1998.
- Washington Post, May 6, 1998, p. B6.