There's Something About Gary . . .
Gary Raymond recently brought the Classified Dossier up to date on his current projects ("I have just been playing Finian in Finian's Rainbow -- loved it"); took a tour through the web site including those areas created with the help of many contributors ("Thank you for all the Internet printouts -- it was like a new story to me"); and answered a few of those vital questions that have been plaguing fans throughout the years ("My eyes according to my passport are Hazel coloured"). He was also kind enough to offer the opportunity to follow up on those topics we were only able to brush on, and I look forward to a chance to speak with him again soon.

A transcript of the interview follows.

A Classified Dossier Interview with Gary Raymond
October 1999
Could you tell us a bit about where you were born, grew up, and a little bit about your family life? A source lists your birthdate as April 20th; is this correct?

GARY RAYMOND: Born in London in 1935 in Brixton. Possibly just within the sound of Bow Bells on a very still and quiet night, and can therefore claim to be a true Cockney. My Father and Mother were in the theatre, both Variety Artistes, but my Mother died within nine months of our birth -- I am a twin -- of TB. My Mother was a half gipsy which makes me a quarter. Her family name was Lee. My birthday April 20th went very well. It does happen to be Hitler's birthdate and the day of the terrible shooting in Colorado -- we didn't hear about that until late that evening.
Right: GR as a boy, from an ABC-TV press kit

GR as a boy

What do you consider your greatest achievements? Outside of acting, what's the one thing you've done that you're most proud of?

GR: Greatest achievements? Perhaps my involvement with the London Shakespeare Group which I ran with my wife Delena Kidd and John Fraser -- who played my brother in the film El Cid. I enjoyed Rat Patrol as much as anything I did, especially as my younger daughter Emily was born in Los Angeles. I am also proud of my children, and now my grandchildren.

If you weren't acting, what career might you have?

GR: Not acting? Well, my Father wanted me to be a policeman.

Was your family's history as entertainers an inspiration for you? Were you expected to pursue that path, and did it come naturally? Our biographical information gives your middle name as Barrymore -- was becoming an actor inevitable?

GR: My Father, because I saw so little of him when young -- he was working all over the country -- seemed very mysterious and glamorous, which is perhaps why I wanted to be in the theater, although in fact I never wanted to be in Variety -- always an actor. My Mother must have hoped one of her twins would be an actor because I was christened Gary Barrymore I presume after Cooper and John -- my twin is Robin Rodney -- not recognisable as actors' names and he never wanted to be an actor.

GR as Georg Nowak

Above: She Loves Me (1965)

How would you compare working on a television series to working on a movie, and which do you prefer? Do you prefer the stage -- or the musical stage -- to both? If so, what makes the stage preferable?

GR: To compare acting in different mediums is difficult. Ideally actors would like to move easily from one to another including radio, adapting yes to each, with a slight gear change but not a different car. I became an actor originally to act in theatres and would have to choose it as my ultimate choice; but this is not so for younger actors anymore.

Of all the roles you've done, which has been your favorite and why?

GR: Perhaps Deeley in Pinter's Old Times and the faith healer in Brian Friel's Faith Healer, and Macbeth.

Have you had the sorts of roles you've wanted, or is there a role/type of role you'd like to do?

GR: I would have liked to play Othello.

Is there an actor you'd like an opportunity to perform with? Which actors have you most enjoyed performing with, or learned the most from -- or taught the most to?

GR: My first job was with Sir John Gielgud. I have admired and held him as my idol ever since. And Paul Scofield I also think terrific. In films, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Claude Rains.

What projects other than Scarlett have you and your wife worked on together?

GR: Delena Kidd, my wife, and I did a lot of Shakespeare together, and Pinter's "Old Times" and Friel's "Faith Healer." Next plan is to do "Dear Liar" playing Mrs Patrick Campbell and George Bernard Shaw. Perhaps bring it to the States?

You seem to have moved to "big" pictures quite easily (Jason and the Argonauts; El Cid; The Greatest Story Ever Told). Was this actually the case? Did you find yourself in demand, or was it hard work getting these roles? Was this career path a particular goal or something that just came about?

GR: I would have to say most of my films "happened." Perhaps I should have worked harder to follow them up. As you will note I haven't made a film for about 30 years.

Your first screen appearance, The Moonraker, is difficult to find here; can you tell us a little about that film?

GR: The Moonraker was a film about Charles the Second escaping from England after the execution of his father. I played Charles -- the film centered on George Baker as the man organising the escape. It is shown on British TV. Next time around I'll record it.

Look Back in Anger: Cliff Lewis' humanity saves the film from perhaps being too dark for viewers to handle. What was the experience of working with that cast (Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Mary Ure, etc.)? Did you perform the role on stage beforehand? If so, how difficult was the transfer to screen?

GR: I did play Cliff in Look Back in Anger on the stage in the production by Tony Richardson redirected by John Dexter. As Tony directed the film as well and Mary Ure was the original Alison there was a very easy atmosphere during the shoot. Edith Evans as Ma Tanner is wonderful in the film. I thought Burton very strong as Jimmy, and we got on well together, and I remember liking his wife Sybil enormously. At the time I made it, my wife -- then my girlfriend -- was making the film Room at the Top with Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret; it was released first and slightly stole Look Back's thunder -- although we don't hear so much of it now.

LBIA photo, GR and Burton

Above: GR and Richard Burton in
Look Back in Anger (1958)

GR as Prince Acastus
Jason and the Argonauts: Was it fun or difficult (or a combination) to act against a cast of special effects monsters? At the time were you aware that it would be considered the masterpiece of the genre? Have you had many opportunities to play the "bad guy"?

GR: Jason was huge fun to make. It was my honeymoon which had started in Paris. And there was a splendid group of English actors. We had no idea it would be so lasting. I began to realise when I met a young man at his wedding who had viewed it as a child and still loved it. BAD GUYS -- yes, but I can't immediately place them. Perhaps Joseph P Kennedy in a musical called J.F.K. But his devotion to his children seemed to me to make him a hero.

Left: GR as Prince Acastus -- not necessarily a good guy -- in Jason and the Argonauts (1958)

What are your feelings about the continuing interest in The Rat Patrol?

GR: Delighted that RP has any following. Researching it would open up a most fascinating side of the world with the mystery of the Arab nation and its extraordinary history -- Phoenician, Punic, Arabic, Hebrew, Ethiopian, and the melting pot that is responsible for an enormous amount of our culture.

Do you have any opinion about the renewed interest in World War II here in the US? Is there similar interest in the UK?

GR: There is a great interest here in W.W.2. That is to say there are a great number of programmes on TV and articles in colour supplements. More and more is being revealed of what went on. I can't say that I watch it all -- though recently the evacuees -- children who were moved out of London for fear of the bombing -- have had a lot of attention. My twin and I were evacuated to Leicester and stayed there for some time after the war.

Were you particularly excited about getting the role of Moffitt? Did it seem like a good opportunity, or just another job?

GR: I can't remember -- in retrospect I enjoyed it a lot.

Was there background on the character that either you or the writers developed? Any special research? Television actors sometimes mention having no time to think in depth about each script and their character's development because of tight weekly schedules. Did you have as much of a chance as you wanted to study each script and consider how Moffitt would react, even if only in the background?

GR: My research centred on David Stirling who founded the S.A.S. and T. E. Lawrence -- Doughty -- Gertrude Bell for their love of Arabia. I cannot remember a great deal of the work on the set; though I think some of the scripts were best left undelved.

GR and Norman Wooland
Above: GR and Norman Wooland as
Moffitts Jr and Sr.

Did you like the character? Were you satisfied with the way the character was used?

GR: I liked the other characters certainly, and the actors playing them, particularly Chris George who could have thrown his weight about as 1st banana and didn't -- at least not with the actors.

Do you share any of Moffitt's qualities?

GR: Moffitt's qualities? I don't know, but at that time I must have.

What do you think Moffitt and the others would end up doing after the war?

GR: There was a vague idea at one time of showing them after the war, at a loss, and then becoming vigilantes for especial causes. Moffitt might have gone into the city as a raider!

What was it like working with some of the actors on the show, both the main cast and the familiar faces who show up so often in uncredited roles? What about some of the directors and writers? Is there anyone in particular you liked working with?

GR: I think I've answered about the main cast -- though I haven't mentioned Eric/Hans -- I liked him a lot and we were rather competitive I seem to remember. I've seen him in his series and been very impressed by the time he carries with him. I also had a very good stunt double called Nick Dimitri, and wonder how he is. Tom Gries the originator of the show was the most exciting director.

Do you remember any of the guest stars particularly well? Did any of them make a special impression on the cast and crew?

GR: No I don't really -- you know they don't show the RP in the U.K. and so I have forgotten a great deal of it. Though Pippa Scott and Claudine Longet come to mind.

What could you tell us about funny outtakes, scenes that were filmed but left on the cutting-room floor, good-humoured practical jokes?

GR: I can remember in Spain that Hans was mortified when England beat Germany in the final of the world cup (football) -- was it 33 years ago? And it seemed funny to me -- but then he played football and I didn't and goodness knows he had the last laugh since it was probably their last hurrah. And I foolishly tried to put in a bit of Julius Caesar in one episode -- I think the three-parter with Claudine Longet. I remember the RP lunchboxes and wish I'd kept one.

GR, Claudine Longet, and Larry Casey
Above: GR, Claudine Longet, and Larry Casey take a break
during The Last Harbor Raid (1968),
aka Massacre Harbour (1969).

With the trend in Hollywood of making feature films out of 60's and 70's television shows, what would your reaction be to a remake of The Rat Patrol? . . . If you were approached about a role -- say, Moffitt's father?

GR: A remake? Great! Norman Wooland [who] played Moffitt's father [was] Horatio to Olivier's Hamlet.

Can you tell us anything about your personal experience as a child during the war?

GR: I told you earlier that my twin and I were evacuated from London to Leicester because of the bombing. In fact Leicester was also bombed. But of course to us it seemed like an adventure you know. As children we would rush around to see where the bombs had fallen, and collect bits of shrapnel, and the enormity and horror went over our heads. At night we slept in an iron box indoors, I've forgotten what they were called, or in Anderson shelters in the garden.

GR, Delena, and Emily
Could you tell us a bit about your daughter Emily's work and what she's doing now? What do you think of her decision to go into acting?

GR: I am delighted Emily wanted to be an actress. So was my wife. Of all our three children she seemed the one who should really do it. And when we first saw her at the end of her drama school time it was clear she had a special talent. At the moment she is nursing her 3-month-old son.

Have any of your other children gone into acting?

GR: Emily is the only actress.

Left: Proud parents and baby Emily

Finally, there are plans for a convention in the year 2000: "60s TV Goes to War." How would you feel about an expenses-paid trip to Texas next year for such an event, if the timing did not interfere with your work schedule and other commitments?

GR: Plans for a convention in Texas?!! Oh Yes Yes Yes.

As mentioned above, Mr Raymond has graciously offered the opportunity to follow up some of these questions, and I'm looking forward to speaking with him again soon.

Interested in learning more about some of the plays and films mentioned in the interview? Try these links:
Harold Pinter and Old Times: [1][2] [3] [4]
Brian Friel, author of Faith Healer and Dancing at Lughnasa: [1]
Jerome Kilty and Dear Liar: [1] [2] (Jerome Kilty's drama Dear Liar is based on correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and his actress muse, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, chronicling a clandestine relationship spanning forty years.)
Finian's Rainbow: [1] (Finian McLonergan of Glocca Morra and his daughter leave Ireland to emigrate to a small town of sharecroppers in the American south, where Finian believes he will find the secret to wealth.)
Look Back in Anger: [1] [2] (John Osborne's play translated to screen, expounding on the frustrations of the angry young men of post-war Britain.)
Room at the Top: [1] [2]

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