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Ray Collins (1889)

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Ray Bidwell Collins (December 10, 1889 – July 11, 1965) was an American actor in film, stage, radio, and television. One of Collins' best remembered roles was that of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the long-running series Perry Mason.


Collins was born in Sacramento, California to Lillie Bidwell and William C. Collins, a newspaper drama editor. He started acting on stage at the age of 14. In 1922, he was part of a stock company called Vancouver's Popular Players which enacted plays at the original Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, B.C. In the mid 1930s, now an established stage and radio actor, Collins began working with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre leading to some of his most memorable roles. Having already appeared on radio with Welles on The Shadow and in Welles' serial adaptation of Les Miserables from 1937, Collins became a regular on The Mercury Theatre on the Air; through the run of the series, he played many roles in literary adaptations, from Squire Livesey from Treasure Island and Dr. Watson to Mr. Pickwick in an adaptation of Pickwick Papers. Collins' best known work on this series, however, was in the infamous The War of the Worlds broadcast, playing three roles, including Mr. Wilmuth and the newscaster who describes the destruction of New York.

Along with other Mercury Theatre players, Collins made his first notable screen appearance in Citizen Kane, as ruthless Boss Jim Gettys. He also played key roles in Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil. Collins appeared in more than 90 films in all, including Leave Her to Heaven , The Best Years of Our Lives and Crack-Up , A Double Life , two entries in the Ma and Pa Kettle series (as in-law Jonathan Parker), and the 1953 version of The Desert Song, in which he played the non-singing role of Kathryn Grayson's father. He displayed comic ability in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer , and The Man from Colorado .

He may be best remembered for his work on television, playing Lieutenant Tragg on Perry Mason in the 1950s and 1960s. He was also a regular as John Merriweather on the television version of The Halls of Ivy starring Ronald Colman.

On July 11, 1965, Collins died of emphysema at the age of 75. His interment was at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Ray Collins (actor)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.