Photo of Nicholas Ray Nicholas Ray

In a career that spanned just over 15 years, director Nicolas Ray left an indelible mark on Hollywood with a slew of films that were utterly unique in their use of color, setting and socially aware psychological underpinnings.

Born Aug. 7, 1911, in Galesville, Wis., Ray studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, worked in left-wing theater and produced radio shows before landing in Hollywood. There, his initial directing job came on They Live by Night (1949), the first of a string of noir pictures he made for RKO Studios that included the Humphrey Bogart classic In a Lonely Place (1950).

After departing RKO, Ray made his two masterpieces -- the over-the-top proto-feminist Western Johnny Guitar (starring Joan Crawford) and the generation-defining Rebel Without a Cause (which starred James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood and received multiple Oscar nominations). Ray died June 16, 1979.

Nicholas Ray in In a Lonely Place

In a Lonely Place

1950 NR

Just when Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) sparks up a romance with his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame), the police begin to suspect him of murdering a former lover. Laurel believes Dixon's innocent, but his alibi doesn't wash with the police. As they continue to pressure Dixon, the lovebirds' relationship suffers -- and after witnessing Dixon's increasing hot-tempered behavior, Laurel suspects the police may be right.

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  • Nicholas Ray in They Live by Night / Side Street They Live by Night / Side Street
  • Nicholas Ray in Bigger Than Life Bigger Than Life
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  • Nicholas Ray in The True Story of Jesse James The True Story of Jesse James
  • Nicholas Ray in Bitter Victory Bitter Victory
  • Nicholas Ray in Nick's Film  Lightning Over Water Nick's Film Lightning Over Water
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