Ray Milland

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Ray Milland (3 January 1905 – 10 March 1986) was a Welsh actor and director.[1] His screen career ran from 1929 to 1985, and he is best remembered for his Academy Award–winning portrayal of an alcoholic writer in The Lost Weekend (1945) and as Oliver Barrett III in the 1970 film, Love Story.

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Early life

Milland was born Reginald Alfred John Truscott-Jones in Neath, Wales, the son of Elizabeth Annie (née Truscott), born Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, and Alfred Jones. Before becoming an actor, he served in the Household Cavalry. An expert shot, he became a member of his company's rifle team, winning many prestigious competitions, including the Bisley Match in England. When his four-year duty service was completed, Milland tried his hand at acting. He was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout while performing on the stage in London, went to America, and signed with Paramount Pictures.

He took his stage name from the Millands area of his Welsh home town of Neath.

When the Second World War began, Milland tried to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces, but was rejected because of an impaired left hand. He worked as a civilian flight instructor for the Army, and toured with a United Service Organisation (USO) South Pacific troupe in 1944. He married Muriel Weber on 30 September 1932, and they remained together until his death. The couple had a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Victoria.

Career

When working on I Wanted Wings (1941), with Brian Donlevy and William Holden, he went up with a pilot to test a plane for filming. While up in the air, Ray decided to do a parachute jump (being an avid amateur parachutist) but, just before he could disembark, the plane began to sputter, and the pilot told Milland not to jump as they were running low on gas and needed to land. Once on the ground and in the hangar, Ray began to tell his story of how he had wanted to jump. As he did so, the color ran out of the costume man's face. When asked why, he told Ray that the parachute he had worn up in the plane was "just a prop", and that there had been no parachute.

During the filming of Reap the Wild Wind (1942), Milland's character was to have curly hair. Milland's hair was naturally straight, so the studio used hot curling irons on his hair to achieve the effect. Milland felt that it was this procedure that caused him to go prematurely bald, forcing him to go from leading man to supporting player earlier than he would have wished.

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