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March 12, 2022

Portrait Photos of Ray Milland in the 1930s and ’40s

Born 1907 as Alfred Reginald Jones in Neath, Glamorgan, Welsh-American actor and film director Ray Milland served in the Household Cavalry of the British Army, becoming a proficient marksman, horseman and aeroplane pilot before becoming an actor. He had his first major role in The Flying Scotsman (1929). This led to a nine-month contract with MGM, and he moved to the United States, where he worked as a stock actor.

After being released by MGM, Milland was picked up by Paramount, which used him in a range of lesser speaking parts, usually as an English character. He was loaned to Universal for the Deanna Durbin musical Three Smart Girls (1936), and its success had Milland given a lead role in The Jungle Princess (also 1936) alongside new starlet Dorothy Lamour. The film was a big success and catapulted both to stardom. Milland remained with Paramount for almost 20 years.

Milland appeared in many other notable films, including Easy Living (1937), Beau Geste (1939), Billy Wilder’s The Major and the Minor (1942), The Uninvited (1944), Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear (1944), The Big Clock (1948), and The Thief (1952), for which he was nominated for his second Golden Globe, and A Man Alone (1955). After leaving Paramount, he began directing and moved into television acting.

Once Paramount Pictures’ highest-paid actor, Milland co-starred alongside many of the most popular actresses of the time, including Gene Tierney, Jean Arthur, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich, Maureen O'Hara, Ginger Rogers, Jane Wyman, Loretta Young, and Veronica Lake.

Milland is best remembered for his Academy Award-winning portrayal of an alcoholic writer in Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945) and also for such roles as a sophisticated leading man opposite John Wayne’s corrupt character in Reap the Wild Wind (1942), the murder-plotting husband in Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954), and Oliver Barrett III in Love Story (1970). His last appearances were in The Sea Serpent (1985) and The Gold Key (1985).

Milland died of lung cancer in 1986 at the age of 79. These vintage photos captured portraits of a young and handsome Ray Milland in the 1930s and 1940s.


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