Birthday: September 25, 1926
Died At Age: 64
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Aldo Da Re
Born in: Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania
Famous as: Actor
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Jeff Donnell (m. 1954 - div. 1956), Johanna Ray (m. 1960 - div. 1967), Shirley Green (m. 1947 - div. 1953)
father: Silvio Da Re
mother: Maria Da Re
children: Claire DaRe, Eric DaRe, Paul DaRe
Died on: March 27, 1991
place of death: Martinez, California
U.S. State: Pennsylvania
Aldo Ray was an American actor of Italian descent, best known for starring in films such as ‘Pat and Mike,’ ‘Battle Cry,’ and ‘Miss Sadie Thompson.’ Born in Pennsylvania and raised in California, Aldo was enlisted in the ‘United States Navy’ during the Second World War. After the war was over, Aldo studied political science at the ‘University of California’ and aimed at becoming a politician. His foray into screen acting was an accident. He drove his brother to an audition for a small role in the 1951 film ‘Saturday’s Hero’ and ended up getting the role himself. He discovered his interest in acting and later auditioned for a small part in the 1952 film ‘The Marrying Kind.’ He ended up getting the lead role. Aldo’s acting career picked up pace, and he starred in many films throughout the 1950s, such as ‘Men in War,’ ‘We’re No Angels,’ and ‘Four Desperate Men.’ He was known for his robust on-screen presence. However, his career went downhill after the 1960s. Although he appeared in films and TV series regularly in the 1970s, the quality of his roles deteriorated. In 1991, Aldo passed away at the age of 64.
Childhood & Early Life
Aldo Ray was born Aldo Da Re, on September 25, 1926, in Northampton County in Pennsylvania, US, into a big Italian family. He grew up with five brothers and one sister.
When Aldo was 4 years old, the family moved to Crockett, California, where his father started working at a sugar refinery. Aldo was a strong child and excelled in sports while growing up. He enrolled at the ‘John Swett High School,’ where he was part of the school’s football team. He was also an excellent swimmer and taught swimming to younger kids.
In 1944, when Aldo was 18 years old, he enrolled into the ‘United States Navy’ to fight for his country in the Second World War. He served in the navy as a frogman until the war ended. He left the navy in 1946 and moved back to Crockett, where he resumed his education.
He joined ‘Vallejo Junior College’ and played football for his college team. By then, he had also developed a keen interest in politics and wanted to become a politician. In his own words, he defined himself as a “right winger” and an “arch conservative.” He also studied political science at the ‘University of California, Berkeley.’
He dropped out of college to become a constable, but that did not work out for him. His younger brother, Mario, was an aspiring actor, and Aldo’s foray into acting was a pleasant accident that involved Mario.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
In mid-1950, the ‘Columbia Studios’ film ‘Saturday’s Hero’ required an athlete to be included in its cast. Mario, Aldo’s younger brother, decided to audition for the role. Aldo drove his bother to the audition. In a weird turn of events, the director of the film, David Miller, liked Aldo more, due to his voice. Aldo also had an experience in public speaking, making him more suited to the role.
Aldo was signed on a contract and was sent to Los Angeles for screen testing. He ended up playing a small role of a cynical college football player in the film ‘Saturday’s Hero.’ He shared the screen with actors such as Donna Reed and John Derek.
Around the same time, at the age of 23, Aldo was elected as a constable. He decided to work as a constable and refused to work in Hollywood. ‘Columbia Pictures’ had signed a 7-year contract with Aldo and thus refused to release him from the contract. They, however, allowed him a leave of absence to work as a constable.
He got bored with his monotonous life as a constable and contacted ‘Columbia’ again and expressed his desire to work in films. He was invited to audition for the film ‘The Marrying Kind.’ In the comedy–drama film, where he initially auditioned for a small role, Aldo ended up getting the lead role. The film was a success, and Aldo received his career breakthrough.
In 1952, Aldo appeared in the lead role of ‘Davie Hucko’ in the film ‘Pat and Mike.’ The film was a critical and commercial success.
In 1953, Aldo appeared as the leading man in two films: ‘Let’s Do It Again’ and ‘Miss Sadie Thompson.’
In 1955, Aldo delivered one of the biggest hits of his acting career. He played the role of ‘Andy Hookens,’ a tough solder, in the film ‘Battle Cry.’ Although the film was a big hit and also became one of Aldo’s best-known films, it made people typecast him as a tough redneck.
Aldo also appeared in many TV series in the 1950s and the 1960s, such as ‘Frontier Circus,’ ‘Lux Video Theatre,’ ‘Daniel Boone,’ and ‘Ben Casey.’
However, in the early 1960s, Aldo’s career went downhill. He stopped getting main roles and resorted to doing small/supporting roles in films. One of his best-known films from the 1960s was the 1968 release ‘The Green Berets.’
His alcohol addiction made him lose his charm and resulted in him getting fewer roles as the 1970s began. At one point in 1976, he was totally broke. He somehow managed his career and made enough money to survive.
In 1984, he was the original choice for a key role in David Lynch’s ‘Dune.’ However, he was rejected owing to his alcohol issues, and the role went to Patrick Stewart.
Family & Personal Life
Aldo Ray married thrice in his life. He was initially married to Shirley Green. He then married Jeff Donnell. His last marriage was to Johanna Ray. None of his marriages lasted more than a few years. He had four children from his three marriages. One of his children, Eric Da Re, became an actor later.
Aldo was a chain smoker and an alcoholic all his life. He developed throat cancer in 1989. He passed away on March 27, 1991, at the age of 64.