Photo of Robert Ryan Robert Ryan

A former college boxing champion at Dartmouth University who found work as a ship stoker and ranch hand before breaking into acting, Robert Ryan was born in Chicago on Nov. 11, 1909, and made his film debut in Golden Gloves (1940).

But his career didn't really take off until he returned from serving as a Marine in World War II, first earning an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an anti-Semitic killer in Crossfire (1947), then playing an aging boxer in The Set-Up (1949) and a conflicted cop in On Dangerous Ground (1952).

The 1960s found Ryan appearing in a string of all-star war films, including The Longest Day (1962), Battle of the Bulge (1965) and The Dirty Dozen (1967), as well as classic Westerns such as Richard Brooks's The Professionals (1966) and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). He died on July 11, 1973, at the age of 63.

Robert Ryan in The Longest Day

The Longest Day

1962 G

This Oscar-winning war epic chronicles World War II's harrowing D-Day invasion. Shot on the beaches of Normandy, France, the ambitious film attempts to cover the historic day from all perspectives, focussing on both sides of the conflict.

  • Robert Ryan in The Wild Bunch The Wild Bunch
  • Robert Ryan in Crossfire Crossfire
  • Robert Ryan in The Dirty Dozen The Dirty Dozen
  • Robert Ryan in On Dangerous Ground On Dangerous Ground
  • Robert Ryan in The Naked Spur The Naked Spur
  • Robert Ryan in The Racket The Racket
  • Robert Ryan in Flying Leathernecks Flying Leathernecks
  • Robert Ryan in Men in War Men in War
  • Robert Ryan in Battle of the Bulge Battle of the Bulge
  • Robert Ryan in Bad Day at Black Rock Bad Day at Black Rock
  • Robert Ryan in Anzio Anzio
  • Robert Ryan in Executive Action Executive Action
  • Robert Ryan in Billy Budd Billy Budd
  • Robert Ryan in Clark Gable Collection: The Tall Men Clark Gable Collection: The Tall Men
  • Robert Ryan in House of Bamboo House of Bamboo
  • Robert Ryan in God's Little Acre God's Little Acre