On this edition of Ron’s Amazing Blog, we will explore the American icon, Ray Milland. We will do this with a good old-fashioned game of True or False. Can you guess the answer before you read it?
Ray Milland was born on January 3rd somewhere between 1905 through 1910 in Neath, Wales. He migrated to the United States in 1930 to find work as an actor. He worked in movies as both director and actor until 1985. He won several awards for his craft including an Emmy and Oscar.
Q1: Ray Milland’s real name was Alfred Reginald Jones?
True: Of all the name changes I have seen in a movie career this has to be most different from the original. Another source has his real name listed as Reginald Truscott-Jones. Also, no one can seem to agree on his birth year. So it is listed as 1905-1910. I guess records were not a big deal in early 20th century Wales.
Q2: Ray’s military career was as a Cavalryman?
True: Milland served in the Household Cavalry of the British Army, becoming a marksman, horseman, and airplane pilot. As an expert shot, he became a member of his company’s rifle team, winning many prestigious competitions, including the Bisley Match in England. While stationed in London, Milland met dancer Margot St. Leger, and through her was introduced to actress Estelle Brody. Brody queried Milland’s commitment to an army career, which led to Milland buying himself out of the forces in 1928 in the hope of becoming an actor. His first major role was in The Flying Scotsman (1929).
Q3: Milland worked as an assistant manager for a Shell Oil Gas Station?
True: Milland found life in Britain difficult with little regular work. Having no options left he moved to California and found a small flat on Sunset Boulevard. With little prospect of finding acting work, Milland took on several odd jobs that included working for a bookie. He decided to find regular employment and became the assistant manager of a Shell gas station on Sunset and Clark.
Q4: Ray Milland won his only Oscar for the classic movie Rich Man, Poor man (1976)
False: While he did win an Emmy for his work in Rich Man, Poor man his Oscar came for his portrayal of Don Birnam in The Lost Weekend (1945). This was considered to be the pinnacle of Milland’s career. Milland’s first concern with taking on the role was that he might overact and look amateurish. Milland quickly realized that he needed to understand alcoholism. Milland was allowed to spend a night in a psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital, where the patients were suffering from alcoholism and delirium tremens. He found the experience extremely disturbing and left at three in the morning. Milland spoke with the book’s author Charles R. Jackson to gain insight into the illness. His performance was so convincing, Milland was beleaguered for years by rumors that he actually was an alcoholic. The actor claimed he was not.
Q5: Ray Milland was considered quite the playboy in Hollywood with ties to even Grace Kelly.
False: While he did date Grace Kelly, Milland was married to Muriel Frances Weber from 1932 until his death in 1986. They had a son, Daniel and adopted a daughter. Milland became a naturalized American citizen in the 1940 and supported the Republican Party.
Q6: After his death, he instructed that his body be cremated and his ashes spread in Wales?
False: Almost true. He died at the age of 79 of lung cancer at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California, on 10 March 1986. In-line with his instructions, no funeral was held. His body was cremated, and its ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Redondo Beach, California.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the podcast this week we will feature Ray Milland in an excellent Suspense story called, After The Movies. We also have two new listener stories from Jim and Melissa. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Sunday Night at 8:00 PM (PST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
April 26 – Throwback Thursday – RAS #325
May 03 – These Are Your Stories – RAS #326
May 10 – At The Movies – RAS #327
May 17 – Sci-Fi Week – RAS #328
May 24 – Mystery Week – RAS #329
May 31 – RAS #330 or HE #21