Ray began his career in vaudeville. He was half of a team called "Sanford and Bolger" and also did numerous Broadway shows on his own. Like Gene Kelly, he was a song-and-dance man as well as an actor. This was soon followed by a role opposite Eleanor Powell in the romantic comedy Rosalie Surprisingly, even though the film was a success, Bolger's contract with MGM ended. After this, Bolger went to Broadway, where he received his greatest satisfaction. In , he turned to television and received his own sitcom, Where's Raymond? After his series ended, Bolger guest starred on many television series such as Battlestar Galactica and Fantasy Island , and had some small roles in movies. In , he co-hosted the documentary film That's Dancing! Ray Bolger died of bladder cancer in Los Angeles, California on January 15, , five days after his 83rd birthday.
Ray Bolger [biography]
Ray Bolger who has the distinction of being one of the few American eccentric comedy dancers to gain full star status on stage, film and television, was born Raymond Wallace Bolger, the son of Irish parents, Anne and James Edward Bolger. Unable to afford formal dance classes, he learned tap dancing from a friendly watchman, Dinny Haley, a retired tap dancer. He finally took ballet lessons from Senia and Regina Roussakoff in Boston, paying for lessons by performing bookkeeping services for their dance school, and making his stage debut at the age eighteen in a Roussakoff recital. Broadway first saw the "nimble, rubber-legged" dancer in The Merry World Bolger gained full stardom in On Your Toes , directed and choreographed by George Balanchine, playing the role of hoofer Junior Dolan, the son of an old vaudevillian who helps a struggling Russian ballet company mount a jazz ballet, and in the process falls in love with a ballerina Tamara Geva. He was lauded for his jazz tap dancing in "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" ballet, in which he was dubbed "The Jazz Nijinsky. In the s Bolger began making films for MGM, playing the role of the Scarecrow, a spineless man of straw whose personality was expressed through eccentric dance moves, in The Wizard of Oz Like Primrose, Bolger's hoofing style stayed close to the floor and looked effortless. In the number "Who Stole My Heart Away," however, Bolger's routine became increasingly comedic as he strung together such Irish-inflected steps as "broken waltz clog," "croppy-lie-down," and "cover-the-buckle.
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Raymond Wallace Bolger January 10, — January 15,  was an American film and television actor, vaudevillian, singer, dancer particularly of tap and stage performer particularly musical theatre who started in the silent film era. He was a major Broadway performer in the s and beyond see below. He is best known for his role as the Scarecrow and his Kansas counterpart farm worker "Hunk" in The Wizard of Oz and the villainous Barnaby in Walt Disney 's holiday musical fantasy Babes in Toyland. He was also the host of his eponymous television show, The Ray Bolger Show from and , originally Where's Raymond? Bolger was born at Second St. His entertainment aspirations evolved from the vaudeville shows of his youth.