Raymond Massey (August 30, 1896 - July 29, 1983) was a Canadian actor. Born in Toronto, Ontario, he was the son of Chester D. Massey, the wealthy owner of the Massey-Ferguson Tractor Company. He attended Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario, Upper Canada College, and graduated from university at University of Toronto and Balliol College, Oxford.
At the outbreak of World War I he joined the Canadian Army. His first stage appearance was in Siberia, where he entertained the American troops who were on occupation duty. Severely wounded in action in France, he was sent home where he eventually worked in the family business, selling farm implements. However, drawn to the theater, in 1922 he appeared on the London stage. His first movie role was High Treason in 1927, and he played Sherlock Holmes in The Speckled Band in the following year. In 1936 he starred in H. G. Wells' Things to Come.
Early in Massey's career, the late President Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926), heard Massey perform and was struck by the close similarity of Massey's speaking voice to that of his father.
Despite being Canadian, Massey became famous for his quintessential American roles, as Abraham Lincoln in 1940's Abe Lincoln in Illinois (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor), in 1940's Santa Fe Trail, in which he played abolitionist John Brown, and as Lincoln again in 1962's How the West Was Won. He only played a Canadian on screen once, in Forty-Ninth Parallel (1941).
He rejoined the Canadian Army during World War II, and was wounded and invalided out in 1943. Following the war, he became an American citizen. Massey became well-known on television in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in his role as Doctor Gillespie in the series Dr. Kildare. He also dabbled in politics, appearing in a 1964 television advertisement in support of conservative Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
By his wife, noted London and Broadway stage actress Adrianne Allen (born February 7, 1907, died September 14, 1993), he had two children who followed him into acting: Anna Massey CBE, and the late Daniel Massey. His brother was the late Vincent Massey, the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada.
He died of pneumonia on July 29, 1983 (the same day as his The Prisoner of Zenda and A Matter of Life and Death co-star David Niven) in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 86, and is buried in New Haven, Connecticut.
Massey has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies at 1719 Vine Street and one for television at 6708 Hollywood Blvd.
See also: Other Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood