Johnnie Ray

About Johnnie Ray

Who is it?: Soundtrack, Actor, Music Department
Birth Day: January 10, 1927
Birth Place:  Dallas, Oregon, United States
Cause of death: Hepatic encephalopathy
Resting place: Hopewell Cemetery, Hopewell, Oregon, U.S.
Education: Franklin High School, Portland, Oregon
Spouse(s): Marilyn Morrison (m. 1952–1954)
Genres: Traditional pop
Occupation(s): Singer songwriter
Instruments: Vocals piano
Years active: 1951–1989
Labels: Okeh Columbia

Johnnie Ray

Johnnie Ray was born on January 10, 1927 in  Dallas, Oregon, United States, is Soundtrack, Actor, Music Department. One of the greatest of the transition singers between the crooners and the rockers, Johnnie Ray was the only son of Elmer and Hazel Ray. He was born and raised in Oregon where he loved hiking in nature. He was close with his older sister, sometimes hiking with her. Mother nature eventually would inspire the song lyrics he wrote. After he became famous, he corrected any reporter who asked him whether he preferred living in Los Angeles or New York. He insisted Oregon always would be his home.Ray lost a large part of his hearing at age 13 in an accident while at a Boy Scout event. His hearing loss was not known to his immediate family for several months; they knew only that he became more withdrawn. After high school, he began singing locally in a wild, flamboyant style, unlike any other white singer up to that time. At age 25 he became an American sensation. The following year, during his first concert tour of the United Kingdom, Ray started attracting mobs of young people who rioted in front of him. In 1954, at age 27, he became the first American performer to draw crowds in Australia.Ray's early songs, such as the 1952 45 RPM record, "Cry" / "The Little White Cloud That Cried," were major successes. Following up on that hit single, later the same year (1952) Ray had a #4 United States hit with a cover of the 1930 standard "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." In 1954, he covered The Drifters' R & B hit "Such A Night." Ray's version, released a short time after The Drifters' version, peaked at #18 on the American charts.In 1954, Johnnie Ray co-starred alongside Marilyn Monroe, Donald O'Connor, Dan Dailey, Mitzi Gaynor and Ethel Merman in the 20th Century Fox movie musical There's No Business Like Show Business. Monroe's hatred of the movie was widely publicized, and it was a disappointment at the box office and with critics. After Monroe's premature death, There's No Business Like Show Business was remembered for her dancing and singing "Heat Wave," a scene that contrasts sharply with the wholesome, phony remainder of the movie. Ray's character sings and dances with his family in vaudeville until he surprises them by becoming a Catholic priest. Much later, he returns to the family, explaining that the parish is allowing him to perform with them while wearing clothing that is similar to theirs. Johnnie Ray never appeared in another A-list motion picture.His cover of "Just Walkin' In The Rain," which had been composed years earlier by two incarcerated men, rose to #2 on the American charts in December 1956. His last major hit song in the United States came in 1957: "You Don't Owe Me A Thing." His recordings reached many more people in the United Kingdom than in the United States for the next four years.In 1960, Johnnie Ray's record label dropped him. Another label signed him in 1961 then dropped him a short time later. He never released another recording. From 1961 until his death in 1990, his popularity could be measured only by the venues where he performed and the number of tickets sold. Ray never played a stadium or large concert hall in the United States again.In 1987, Ray performed in the relatively small auditorium at El Camino College in Torrance, California, a far cry from the nearby Hollywood Bowl where he had performed on August 27, 1955. Even that far back, according to a Los Angeles Times display ad for the Hollywood Bowl that can be found in the newspaper's August 23 edition in its database, Johnnie Ray was billed as one of six attractions at the "8:30 Pops" concert. (Performers were billed in this order: Johnny Green, Johnnie Ray, Helen O'Connell, Les Baxter, Four Freshmen, Leo Diamond.) It was the only appearance Ray ever made at the Hollywood Bowl.Johnnie Ray's brushes with the law during two visits to Detroit (1951 and 1959) resulted from a sting operation that police officers throughout the United States routinely did to apprehend promiscuous gay men. In the aftermath of the 1951 arrest, Ray pled guilty and paid a fine. He was acquitted of the 1959 charge. Some writers have said Ray's trouble in Detroit may have contributed to a decline in his popularity in his home country. Ray's 1951 arrest, however, was not reported in any newspapers at the time because there was no trial and his career did not take off until a few months later. By the time of his arrest and acquittal at the end of 1959, his career already had slipped considerably.Other music historians have cited an equally important factor in Ray's fade from public view: an operation he underwent in New York in 1958 that he and his surgeon hoped would restore his hearing. The surgeon botched the procedure and his hearing worsened, thereby making it much harder for him to communicate with musicians who backed him and with record producers and sound engineers. They put the name Johnnie Ray on a shelf, and a new generation of songwriters including Burt Bacharach didn't put Ray on the list of singers they wrote for. Ray had to deal with the worst fate that could befall a solo performer in the 1960s as younger fans lionized groups that wrote their own songs: Ray no longer introduced new material to concertgoers or record buyers.During his heyday, Johnnie Ray had had to endure a marriage to a Los Angeles woman named Marilyn Morrison. Influential newspaper columnists such as Louella Parsons wrote about the couple many times between 1952 and 1954 as they frequently separated and reconciled, or so the columnists claimed. A biographer speculated decades later that music business bigwigs, which included Morrison's father, had arranged the marriage to divert the public's attention from Ray's alleged homosexuality. But during Ray's declining years, he had to cope with a media cover-up that was even more devastating: columnist Earl Wilson reported his 1958 botched surgery untruthfully, saying it was a total success that enabled Ray to hear normally. As new generations came along, no one in the music business knew or cared why Ray was unable to communicate with musicians and other people he needed for a comeback.The truth about why Johnnie Ray faded is complicated further by the fact that at the very same time Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly replaced him on the Billboard charts, syndicated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen continued to write about him as if he were still on the A list. New Yorkers who saw them together noticed that they were openly affectionate in public. For many years, they speculated that she was blurring the boundary between her career and personal life, using her column to suggest to those in the music business that they should hire Ray with whom she was in love.Kilgallen's column as it appeared in the New York Journal-American on September 15, 1965 included a plug for his current show at New York's Latin Quarter nightclub, owned by the father of television newscaster Barbara Walters, and it also plugged a gig he had scheduled for October in Las Vegas. Neither Kilgallen nor any other journalist revealed that immediately before the Latin Quarter gig had started, Ray and his new manager lived in Spain for eight months during which time they settled a debt of many thousands of dollars that he owed to the IRS. Ray's manager from the previous decade, Bernie Lang, allegedly had been responsible for the accumulation of the IRS debt, and this presents yet another factor that likely contributed to Ray's disappearance from the public eye. Unlike the trouble that Col. Tom Parker caused Elvis, the way Bernie Lang treated Johnnie Ray has interested few people over the years. Lang was interviewed after Ray's death and maintained his innocence.Johnnie Ray did make a minor comeback in the United States in the early 1970s, making TV appearances on "The Andy Williams Show" and "The Tonght Show With Johnny Carson." Record labels and songwriters continued to ignore him, however. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, nostalgia for music without electric guitar distortion drew American television viewers to such prime-time shows as Happy Days and The Love Boat, but Johnnie Ray never appeared on-camera. One of his songs can be heard playing in the background of a 1975 Happy Days episode. In 1982, MTV put in heavy rotation the video for "Come On, Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners. The opening verse name-checked Johnnie Ray and the video included thirty-year-old news footage of emotional girls greeting Ray as he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London. But most of the target audience for the song had never heard of him. They tuned out the black-and-white footage and the lyrics, which Dexys Midnight Runners sang with a heavy English accent.Ray continued to perform in Las Vegas but attracted much less attention than headliners Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton and Liberace. His popularity never waned at large concert venues in the United Kingdom, including Scotland, as well as Australia. The summer of 1989 saw Johnnie Ray headlining and filling up those venues, but when he performed in his beloved Oregon in October of that year, more than half the seats were empty.Very soon after returning from Oregon, which he said was his actual home, to Los Angeles, where he lived out of necessity, he began showing symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver. His overseas fans didn't have access to this information. The American media now included many more entertainment news outlets than it had in the era when Louella Parsons and Earl Wilson had made a fuss over Ray, but all journalists, including those on Entertainment Tonight, ignored the fact that he was dying. In 1990, he was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for three weeks without attracting attention. When he entered an irreversible coma on February 23, 1990, a newspaper wire service finally picked up the story, followed by frequent announcements on CNN until he died the next day. He was 63.
Johnnie Ray is a member of Soundtrack

Does Johnnie Ray Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Johnnie Ray has been died on February 24, 1990(1990-02-24) (aged 63)\nLos Angeles, California, U.S..

🎂 Johnnie Ray - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Johnnie Ray die, Johnnie Ray was 63 years old.

Popular As Johnnie Ray
Occupation Soundtrack
Age 63 years old
Zodiac Sign Aquarius
Born January 10, 1927 ( Dallas, Oregon, United States)
Birthday January 10
Town/City  Dallas, Oregon, United States
Nationality United States

🌙 Zodiac

Johnnie Ray’s zodiac sign is Aquarius. According to astrologers, the presence of Aries always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent. They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition, always being the first in everything - from work to social gatherings. Thanks to its ruling planet Mars and the fact it belongs to the element of Fire (just like Leo and Sagittarius), Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. It is in their nature to take action, sometimes before they think about it well.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Johnnie Ray was born in the Year of the Rabbit. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rabbit enjoy being surrounded by family and friends. They’re popular, compassionate, sincere, and they like to avoid conflict and are sometimes seen as pushovers. Rabbits enjoy home and entertaining at home. Compatible with Goat or Pig.

Some Johnnie Ray images

Famous Quotes:

Though barely remembered today, to the fifties record buying public Ray was something of a former-day Leonard Cohen or a Morrissey, creating a body of work that was the very definition of depressionfest. With titles like "What's the Use", "Oh, What a Sad, Sad Day", and "Here I Am Broken Hearted", coupled with a stage show that was as emotionally draining as a revival meeting, Ray dominated the pre-rock & roll charts.



Johnnie Ray was born January 10, 1927, in Dallas, Oregon, to parents Elmer and Hazel (née Simkins) Ray. Along with older sister Elma, Ray spent part of his childhood on a farm and attended grade school in Dallas. Ray began playing the piano at age three, and beginning at age twelve, sang in the local church choir. After the United States entered World War II, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Ray attended Franklin High School.


Ray is one of the cultural touchstones mentioned in the first verse (concerning events from the late 1940s and early 1950s) of Billy Joel's 1989 hit single "We Didn't Start the Fire", between Red China and South Pacific.


In the 1950s, after both sides of the single "Cry"/"The Little White Cloud That Cried" ran their course, more hit songs followed. They included "Please Mr. Sun," "Such a Night," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "A Sinner Am I" and "Yes Tonight Josephine." He had a United Kingdom number 1 hit with "Just Walkin' in the Rain" (which Ray initially disliked) during the Christmas season in 1956. He hit again in 1957 with "You Don't Owe Me a Thing," which reached number 10 on the Billboard charts. Though his American popularity was declining in 1957, he remained popular in the United Kingdom, breaking the attendance record at the London Palladium formerly set by fellow Columbia Records Artist Frankie Laine. In later years, he retained a loyal fan base overseas, particularly in Australia.


In 1951, prior to Ray's fame, he was arrested in Detroit for accosting and soliciting an undercover vice squad police officer for sex in the restroom of the Stone Theatre, a burlesque house. When he appeared in court, he pleaded guilty to the charges, paid a fine, and was released. Due to his obscurity at the time, Detroit newspapers did not report the story. After his rise to fame the following year, rumors about his sexuality began to spread as a result of the incident.


Ray was also referred to in two classic Eartha Kitt songs, "Monotonous (song)" from "New Faces of 1952" (I even made Johnnie Ray smile for me) and "I Want to Be Evil" (I want to sing songs like the guy who cries).


Aware of Ray's sexuality, Morrison told a friend she would "straighten it out." The couple separated in 1953 and divorced in 1954. Several Writers have noted that the Ray-Morrison marriage occurred under false pretenses, and that Ray had had a long-term relationship with his manager, Bill Franklin. However, a biography of Ray points out that Franklin was 13 years younger than Ray and that both their personal and Business relationships began in 1963, many years after the Ray-Morrison divorce. In a 1953 newspaper interview with James Bacon, Ray blamed rumors about his sexuality for the breakup of his marriage to Morrison.


Archival footage of Ray arriving at London Heathrow Airport in 1954 was featured in the 1982 music video for Dexys Midnight Runners' single "Come On Eileen". The lyrics of the song also mention him: "Poor old Johnnie Ray sounded sad upon the radio/He moved a million hearts in mono."


At age thirteen, Ray became deaf in his left ear following a mishap that occurred during a Boy Scout ritual called a "blanket toss." In later years, Ray performed wearing a hearing aid. Surgery performed in 1958 left him almost completely deaf in both ears, although hearing aids helped his condition. Ray credited his deafness as pivotal to his career and performance style saying: "My need for sincerity traces back to when I was a child and lost my hearing. I became withdrawn. I had an emotional need to develop a relationship to other people." After graduating high school, Ray worked as a soda jerk, bus boy, and as a mill worker in Salem, Oregon. In the interim, he did jobs playing piano at clubs in Salem and Portland.


In 1959, Ray was arrested again in Detroit for soliciting an undercover officer at the Brass Rail, a bar that was described many years later by one biographer as a haven for Musicians and by another biographer as a gay bar. Ray went to trial following this second arrest and was found not guilty. Two years after his death, several friends shared with biographer Jonny Whiteside their knowledge that Ray was homosexual.


For his contribution to the recording industry, Johnnie Ray was honored with a star in 1960 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard.


Two months before Kilgallen's death in 1965, her newspaper column plugged Ray's engagements at the Latin Quarter in New York and the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He began his gig at the Latin Quarter immediately after an eight-month vacation in Spain during which he and new manager Bill Franklin had extricated themselves from contracts with Bernie Lang, who had managed Ray from 1951 to 1963. Ray and Franklin believed that a dishonest Lang had been responsible for the end of Ray's stardom in the United States and for large debts that he owed the Internal Revenue Service.


Not until December 1966 did Ray return to American television, and even then it was a program telecast locally in Chicago but not elsewhere: An Evening With Johnnie Ray. Video of this performance was reviewed by Whiteside in the early 1990s, and he wrote in his book that Ray appears emaciated and unhealthy.


In 1969, Ray headlined a European concert tour with Judy Garland. He served as the best man at her wedding to her last husband, nightclub manager Mickey Deans, in London on March 15, 1969. Denmark and Sweden were among the countries where Ray and Garland performed together; they played Stockholm on March 19.


According to Ray's two biographers, Jonny Whiteside and Tad Mann, he did not have a close relationship with a man or a woman during the 13 years he lived after Bill Franklin stopped interacting with him and phoning him. Ray did maintain a loyal friendship with his road manager Tad Mann, who was married and raising five children. When Ray gave parties at his Los Angeles house in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, frequent guests included Mann, whose real name was Harold Gaze Mann III, and Actress Jane Withers.


He is also mentioned (as Johnnie Ray-ay-ay) in Shangri-La, a song from Kevin Coyne's 1976 Heartburn album, along with Frankie Laine. In the song, 'the old heart-throbs singing' represent the singer's memories of the 1950s.


While Ray's popularity continued to wane in the United States throughout the 1980s, Australian, English and Scottish promoters booked him for large venues as late as 1989, his last year of performing.


In 1981, Ray hired Alan Eichler as his manager and resumed performing with an instrumental trio rather than with the large orchestras he and his audiences had been accustomed to for the first 25 years of his career. When Ray and the trio performed at a New York club called Marty's on Third Avenue and East 73rd Street in 1981, The New York Times stated, "The fact that Mr. Ray, in the years since his first blush of success, has been seen and heard so infrequently in the United States is somewhat ironic because it was his rhythm and blues style of singing that help lay the groundwork for the rock-and-roll that turned Mr. Ray's entertainment world around. Recently, Ringo Starr of the Beatles pointed out that the three Singers that the Beatles listened to in their fledgling days were Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Johnnie Ray."


Ray is mentioned in the lyric of Billy Idol's 1986 hit "Don't Need a Gun" and appears with him in the video.


In 1969, shortly after Ray returned to the United States from a European tour with Judy Garland, an American Doctor informed him that he was well enough to drink an occasional glass of wine. He resumed drinking heavily and his health began to decline. Despite this, in the early 1970s he appeared several times on prime-time network television in the United States. After the offers for television stopped, he continued touring, attracting major media attention outside the United States, until he gave his final concert, a benefit for the Grand Theater in Salem, Oregon, on October 6, 1989.


On February 24, 1990, he died of hepatic encephalopathy resulting from liver failure at Cedars-Sinai. Kay Starr was among those who spoke at a public memorial Service held at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. He is buried at Hopewell Cemetery near Hopewell, Oregon, in a grave plot alongside his mother, father, and sister.


Ray was name-checked by Van Morrison in his duet with Tom Jones titled "Sometimes We Cry" that was released in 1997.


In 1999, Bear Family Records issued two five-CD sets of his entire body of work, each containing an 84-page book on his career. Companies including Sony and Collectables have kept his large catalogue of recordings in continual release worldwide.


In Eva Rice's 2005 novel, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Johnnie Ray is an idol to the main characters, Penelope and Charlotte- as is introduced a precursor to Elvis Presley.


Music Journalist Robert A Rodriguez noted Ray's contemporary obscurity in his 2006 book The 1950s' Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Rock & Roll Rebels, Cold War Crises, and All American Oddities, writing:

Johnnie Ray trend