Born in Montana to homesteading parents, Robert Bray eventually moved to Seattle with his family and attended Lincoln High School. After graduation he knocked around for a while as a lumberjack, cowboy and a member of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942, seeing saw action in the South Pacific and mustered out at war's end as a master sergeant. With aspirations of being a taxidermist or owner of a hunting/fishing lodge, he finally decided on acting and was signed in 1946 to a contract at RKO Pictures, where he was looked upon as the new Gary Cooper. He spent three years of a seven-year deal playing supporting roles in a variety of RKO police dramas and Tim Holt westerns before he was dropped. From then until the early 1960s when he landed the plum TV role of Ranger Corey Stuart in the "Lassie" (1954) TV series, he found work in "he-man" roles, tough cavalry sergeant, hard-bitten cop, etc., in a wide range of action-oriented movies and television episodes. He won the party in "Lassie" over several other candidates because of his affinity for animals, and theirs for him.
Earlier in his career he assayed some well-received if minor roles such as "Carl" the bus driver in Bus Stop (1956), the film that finally got Marilyn Monroe taken seriously as a dramatic actress. That picture's director, Joshua Logan, offered Bray a part in his next film, South Pacific (1958) but, to his never-ending regret, he instead opted to star in several forgettable low-budget pictures for Allied Artists. Had he appeared in the smash hit "South Pacific", who knows where he might have ended up.
After being replaced on "Lassie" in 1968, Bray's motivation for continued acting work waned and he eventually retired with his wife Joan to Bishop, California, where he could often be found cruising around town in his Winnebago motor home with his dog Lady. An ardent fly fisherman, hunter, model duck carver and all-around sportsman, Bob lived out his final years in the shadow of the eastern High Sierras, where he made so many of his early western movies. After his passing in 1983, his ashes were scattered over Zuma Beach, California, where he spent many pleasant days as a young man.
|Dorothy A Dekiewit||(1 January 1972 - April 1973) (divorced)|
|Joan L. Gray||(4 November 1960 - July 1968) (divorced)|
|?||(? - ?) (divorced) 2 sons, 1 daughter|
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