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Nicholas Ray
Biographical Information

Birth Date:August 7, 1911
Astrology Sign:Leo
Chinese Sign:Pig - Yin
Birth Name:
Birth Place:
Died Date:June 16, 1979

Occupation:Film/TV Director

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Nicholas Ray

Biography:Nicholas Ray (born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle) (August 7, 1911-June 16, 1979) was an American film director.

Coming out of a radio background, Ray directed his first film, They Live By Night, in 1947. It was released two years later due to the chaotic conditions surrounding Howard Hughes' takeover of RKO Pictures. An almost impressionistic, tender take on film noir, it was notable for its extreme empathy for society’s young outsiders (a reccurring motif in Ray’s films). It was influential on the sporadically popular sub-genre often called “love on the run” movies, concerning as it does two young fugitive lovers on the run from the law.

For the next few years Ray made several contributions to the film-noir genre. Most notably the Humphrey Bogart movie In A Lonely Place about a troubled screenwriter, and On Dangerous Ground, a powerful police thriller. The former is noted for, arguably, featuring Bogart’s most complex performance.

Other minor film noirs he directed in this period were Born to Be Bad and A Woman’s Secret.

Ray's most productive and successful period was the 1950s, although his sympathy for society's outsiders and rebels clearly predated the 1960s counterculture. It was in the mid 50’s he made the two films he is best remembered for. 1954’s Johnny Guitar was an influential, proto-feminist western much loved by French critics (François Truffaut called it "the beauty and the beast" of the western). In 1955, however, Ray directed the iconic Rebel Without a Cause, its legendary status had much to do with its star James Dean, whose premature death followed soon after the film’s completion. Looking past its main attraction these days as a vehicle for the poster boy of a generation, Rebel Without a Cause distilled much of the essence of Ray’s cinematic vision: expressionistic use of colour, dramatic use of architecture and an empathy for those who struggle to fit in to mainstream society. (It has often been noted that Ray’s virtuoso use of architecture was perhaps influenced by his early studies as an architecture student under Frank Lloyd Wright.)

Ray’s expressionistic use of framing and colour arguably reached it’s apogee in his 1956 melodrama Bigger Than Life starring James Mason as a small town school teacher driven insane by the effects of new wonder-drug Cortisone. Like Rebel Without A Cause before it, it can be seen a savage indictment of 50’s American suburbia and it’s materialistic values.

Alongside these acclaimed, influential works Ray also made many other films in multiple genres which, although made with professionalism and flair, were comparatively minor works, often suffering from unwanted studio interference. These ‘flawed’ but fascinating films would include Hot Blood, Party Girl and The Savage Innocents.

A bisexual and heavy user of drugs and alcohol, Ray found himself increasingly shut out of the Hollywood film industry in the early 1960s. After collapsing on the set of 55 Days at Peking (1963), he would not direct again until the mid-1970s. From 1971 to 1973, Ray taught filmmaking at Harpur College (part of the State University of New York at Binghamton) where he and his students produced We Can't Go Home Again, an ambitious autobiographical film employing split-screen images. An early version of the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, but Ray, never satisfied with the project, continued editing it until his death in 1979. Shortly before his death he collaborated on the direction of Lightning Over Water (also known as Nick’s Film) with German director Wim Wenders.

Nicholas Ray’s immense influence on a younger generation of directors cannot be underestimated. In particular the French New Wave held him in high-regard, most famously Jean-Luc Godard. Wim Wender’s films are indebted to Ray, from the casting of Rebel Without a Cause’s Dennis Hopper and the expressionistic use of colour in his own film The American Friend, to the title of sci-fi film Until The End of the World (which were the last spoken words in Ray’s biblical epic King of Kings).

Film director Philip Kaufman will tackle an untitled film about the life of Ray.

Achievements: (Filmography)
King of Kings (1962)
Rebel Without a Cause (1956)
Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Chinese Horoscope for Nicholas Ray
Includes characteristics and Vices
Nicholas Ray's Chinese Horoscope
Chinese Year: January 30, 1911 - February 17, 1912
Birthday: August 7, 1911

The Pig is a Yin,
and is the Twelfth sign of the Chinese horoscope.


Personality and Character Cards:
Personality and character cards are identical!

Nicholas Ray's Personality Tarot Card The Hermit - Personality Card

Birthday: August 7, 1911

A time for soul searching and meditation; a need for patience and solitude.

This year's Growth Tarot Card
Based on this year's birthday

Nicholas Ray's Growth Tarot Card The Chariot

Birthday: August 7, 2017

A struggle or conflict, yet strong potential for triumph over adversity.




Portions of famous people database was used with permission from Russell Grant from his book The Book of Birthdays Copyright © 1999, All rights reserved. Certain biographical material and photos licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia, which is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

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