Ray Middleton (actor)

Raymond Earl Middleton (February 8, 1907 – April 10, 1984), known and billed as Ray Middleton, was an American singer and stage, TV and movie actor.

Ray Middleton
Born(1907-02-08)February 8, 1907
DiedApril 10, 1984(1984-04-10) (aged 77)
Years active1933–1984
Spouse(s)Caroline Maye
Ray Middleton and Mary Martin in South Pacific (1950)

Early years

Middleton was born in Chicago, Illinois,[1] and attended the University of Illinois.[2]


Soon after he graduated from college, Middleton sang with the Detroit Civic Opera Company, after which he sang with the St. Louis Opera Company and the Chicago Civic Opera. He declined to join the Metropolitan Opera Company, preferring a career in film.[3]

In 1933, Middleton appeared in the Broadway play Roberta. Later in 1938, he appeared in the musical Knickerbocker Holiday.[1] During the early 1940s, he appeared in the movies Gangs of Chicago, the original Hurricane Smith (playing the title role), and Lady for a Night, which starred Joan Blondell and John Wayne.[4] He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, appearing in the Air Forces show Winged Victory. In 1946, he co-starred with Ethel Merman in the Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun. In 1948, he starred in Love Life with Nanette Fabray.[1]

In 1950, he co-starred with Mary Martin in South Pacific, succeeding Ezio Pinza.[2] In 1965, he played the innkeeper in Man of La Mancha.[1]

In television, Middleton's appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show (once as a guest host), the Colgate Comedy Hour, and Chrysler's Shower of Stars in the 1950s. He co-starred with Phil Silvers and Lee Remick in a 1967 TV adaptation of Damn Yankees!.

During the 1970s, Middleton appeared in the TV movie Hec Ramsey as a judge, in the musical movie 1776,[4] as Colonel Thomas McKean, and in the first TV adaptation of Helter Skelter as ranch-owner George Spahn.[4] He also voiced the character Pepperino in the cartoon Tubby the Tuba.

Middleton's last appearances were as Cardinal Reardon in an episode of M*A*S*H[4] ("Blood Brothers", featuring Patrick Swayze), and as grandfather Huey Rush in the comedy Too Close for Comfort.[4]

Middleton died in Panorama City, California at the age of 77.



Year Title Role Notes
1938You and MeSalesmanUncredited
1940Gangs of ChicagoBill Whitaker
1941Lady from LouisianaBlackburn 'Blackie' Williams
1941Hurricane Smith'Hurricane' Smith
1941Mercy IslandWarren Ramsey
1942Lady for a NightAlan Alderson
1942The Girl from AlaskaSteve Bently
1952I Dream of JeanieEdwin P. Christy
1953Sweethearts On ParadeCameron "Cam" Ellerby
1954Jubilee TrailCharles Hale
1955I Cover the UnderworldPolice Chief Corbett
1955The Road to DenverJohn Sutton
19721776Col. Thomas McKean (DE)
1975Tubby the TubaThe Great PepperinoVoice


Year Title Role Notes
1954The Jackie Gleason ShowJ.J. Marshall2 episodes, uncredited
1954The Colgate Comedy HourCarlos, the Milleradaptation of Revenge with Music
1954The Best of BroadwayNick Bullettadaptation of Cole Porter's Panama Hattie
1955Shower of StarsFred/Ghost of Christmas Present2 adaptations of A Christmas Carol
1967Damn Yankees!Joe BoydTV movie
1967Coronet BlueChief Loomisepisode "The Rebels"
1972Hec RamseyJudge Leroy Tatepilot episode
1972IronsideJudge1 episode
1975S.W.A.T.Gregory Kenyonepisode "Strike Force"
1976Helter SkelterGeorge SpahnTV miniseries
1977Charlie's AngelsHal Jardine1 episode
1981M*A*S*HCardinal Reardon1 episode
1981Border PalsOld JohnTV movie
1984Too Close for ComfortHuey Rush4 episodes


  1. "Ray Middleton". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on January 5, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  2. Perry, Lawrence (November 19, 1950). "New York Skylines". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. p. Section 4-1. Retrieved January 4, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "Majestic". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. June 27, 1940. p. 8. Retrieved January 5, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  4. "Ray Middleton". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 16 December 2020.