- George Raft
bgcolour = silver
name = George Raft
imagesize = 200px
caption = from "
Invisible Stripes" (1939)
birthdate = birth date|1895|9|26|mf=y
New York City, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1980|11|24|1895|9|26|mf=y
Los Angeles, California
birthname = George Ranft
yearsactive = 1929 - 1980
George Raft (
26 September 1895[Raft was born in 1895, according to the 1910 U.S. Census. At Ancestry.com] – 24 November 1980) was an American film actormost closely identified with his portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s.
Raft was born George Ranft (according to the 1910 census) in
Hell's Kitchen, New York Cityto German immigrant Conrad Ranft and his wife Eva Glockner. Raft quickly adopted the "tough guy" persona that he would later use in his films. [ [http://listing-index.ebay.com/actors/George_Raft.html] "Raft was born George Ranft in Hell's Kitchen, New York City to Conrad Ranft (a German immigrant). He quickly adopted the "tough guy" persona that he would later use in his films. "]
Initially interested in dancing, as a young man he showed great aptitude, and this, combined with his elegant fashion sense, allowed him to work as a dancer in some of New York City's most fashionable nightclubs. He became part of the stage act of
Texas Guinanand his success led him to Broadway where he again worked as a dancer. He worked in Londonas a chorus boy at some time in the early 20s.
Vi Kearney, later to be a star dancer in shows for Charles Cochran and Andre Charlot, was quoted as saying:
"Oh yes, I knew him (George Raft). We were in a big show together. Sometimes, to eke out our miserable pay, we'd do a dance act after the show at a club and we'd have to walk back home because all the buses had stopped for the night by that time. He'd tell me how he was going to be a big star one day and once he said that when he'd made it how he'd make sure to arrange a Hollywood contract for me. I just laughed and said: 'Come on, Georgie, stop dreaming. We're both in the chorus and you know it.' [Did he arrange the contract?] Yes. But by that time I'd decided to marry... [Was he (Raft) ever your boyfriend?] How many times do I have to tell you ...chorus girls don't go out with chorus boys."
In the early 1930s
Tallulah Bankheadnearly died following a 5-hour hysterectomyfor an advanced case of gonorrheashe claimed she got from Raft. Only 70 pounds when she was able to leave the hospital, she stoically said to her doctor, "Don't think this has taught me a lesson!"
In 1929 Raft moved to
Hollywoodand took small roles. His success came in "Scarface" (1932), and Raft's convincing portrayal led to speculation that Raft himself was a gangster. He was a close friend of several top organized crime figures, including Bugsy Siegel, Owney Maddenand Siegel's suspected killer, Meyer Lansky. Raft was considered one of Hollywood's most dapper and stylish dressers and he achieved a level of celebrity not entirely commensurate with the quality or popularity of his films; Raft became a pop culture icon in the 1930s matched by few other film stars.
He was definitely one of the three most popular gangster actors of the 1930s, along with
James Cagneyand Edward G. Robinson( Humphrey Bogartnever matched Raft's stardom during that decade). Raft and Cagney worked together in " Each Dawn I Die" (1939) as fellow convicts in prison. His 1932 film " Night After Night" launched the movie career of Mae Westwith a supporting part as well as providing Raft's first leading role (Raft and West would die within two days of each other 48 years later and their corpses would wind up in the same morgue at the same time.) Raft appeared the following year in Raoul Walsh's turn of the century period piece "The Bowery" as Steve Brodie, the first man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and survive, with Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Fay Wray, and Pert Kelton.
Some of his other popular films include "
If I Had A Million" (1932), in which he played a forger hiding from police, suddenly given a million dollars with no place to cash the check, "Bolero" (1934; a rare role as a dancer rather than a gangster), Dashiell Hammett's "The Glass Key" (1935) (remade in 1942 with Alan Laddin Raft's role), " Souls at Sea" (1937) with Gary Cooper, two with Humphrey Bogart: " Invisible Stripes" (1939) and " They Drive by Night" (1940), each with Bogart in supporting roles, and "Manpower" (1941) with Edward G. Robinsonand Marlene Dietrich(the memorable posters said, "Robinson - He's mad about Dietrich. Dietrich - She's mad about Raft. Raft - He's mad about the whole thing"). Although Raft received third billing in "Manpower", he actually played the film's lead.
1940-41 proved to be Raft's career height. He went into a period of decline over the next decade and achieved an unenviable place in Hollywood folklore as the actor who turned down some of the best roles in screen history, most notably "High Sierra" (he supposedly didn't want to die at the end) and "
The Maltese Falcon" (he didn't want to remake the superb 1931 pre-code version of "The Maltese Falcon" with a rookie director); both roles transformed Humphrey Bogartfrom a supporting player into a major force in Hollywood in 1941. Raft was also reported to have turned down Bogart's role in "Casablanca" (1942), although this story is probably apocryphal.
Approached by director
Billy Wilder, he refused the lead role in "Double Indemnity" (1944), which led to the casting of Fred MacMurrayin a towering classic that would have undoubtedly revived Raft's career. His lack of judgment (probably grounded in the fact that he was more or less illiterate, which made judging scripts even more problematic than usual), combined with the public's growing distaste for his apparent gangster lifestyle, effectively ended his career as a leading man in mainstream movies. He satirized his gangster image with a well-received performance in " Some Like it Hot" (1959), but this did not lead to a comeback (probably due to his age by that point) despite being billed fourth under Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmonin a comedy classic, and he spent the remainder of the decade making films in Europe. He played a small role as a casino owner in "Ocean's Eleven" (1960) opposite the Rat Pack. His final film appearances were in " Sextette" (1978) with Mae Westin an amusing cameo (West: "Why George Raft, I haven't seen you in 20 years. What have you been doing?" Raft: "Oh, about 20 years!") and " The Man with Bogart's Face" (1980). Fred Astaire, in his autobiography "Steps in Time" (1959), mentions that Raft was a lightning-fast hoofer.
Raft died from
leukemia, aged 85, in Los Angeles, Californiaon November 24th, 1980 and was interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Only two days before, his old co-star Mae Westhad died. Their bodies were at the same mortuary at the same time for an eerie posthumous reunion.
Ray Dantonplayed Raft in "The George Raft Story" (1961).
In the 1991 biographical movie "
Bugsy", the character of George Raft was played by Joe Mantegna.
George Raft has two stars on the
Hollywood Walk of Famefor his contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6150 Hollywood Boulevard, and for Television at 1500 Vine St.
Queen of the Night Clubs" (1929) with Texas Guinan
Gold Diggers of Broadway" (1929)
*"Side Street" (1929) with Tom Moore,
Owen Moore, and Matt Moore (Raft unbilled dancer)
Quick Millions" (1931) with Spencer Tracyand Marguerite Churchill
*"Goldie" (1931) with
Spencer Tracyand Jean Harlow
Hush Money" (1931) with Joan Bennettand Myrna Loy
Palmy Days" (1931) with Eddie Cantor
*"Scarface" (1932) with
Paul Muniand Ann Dvorak(Raft flips the nickel in his breakthrough role)
Love Is a Racket" (1932) (scenes deleted)
Madame Racketeer" (1932) with Alison Skipworthand Richard Bennett
*"Night World" (1932) with
Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, and Boris Karloff
Dancers in the Dark" (1932) with Miriam Hopkins
Taxi!" (1932) with James Cagneyand Loretta Young
*"Winner Take All" (1932) with
Night After Night" (1932) with Mae Westas a fictionalized Texas Guinan(Raft's 1st leading role)
Under Cover Man" (1932) with Nancy Carroll
If I Had a Million" (1932; Raft plays a forger who can't cash his million dollar check)
*"Pick-Up" (1933) with
*"The Bowery" (1933) with
Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, and Pert Kelton(Raft 2nd billed)
*"The Midnight Club" (1933) with
Clive Brook(Raft 2nd billed)
The Trumpet Blows" (1934) with Adolphe Menjou
*"All of Me" (1934) with
Fredric Marchand Miriam Hopkins(Raft 3rd billed)
*"Bolero" (1934) with
Carole Lombardand Ray Milland(besides "Scarface", Raft's signature film)
Limehouse Blues" (1934) with Anna May Wong
Every Night at Eight" (1935) with Alice Fayeand Frances Langford
*"The Glass Key" (1935) with
She Couldn't Take It" (1935) with Joan Bennett
Stolen Harmony" (1935) with Lloyd Nolanand William Cagney
*"Rumba" (1935) with
Yours for the Asking" (1936) with Dolores Costelloand Ida Lupino
It Had to Happen" (1936) with Rosalind Russell
Souls at Sea" (1937) with Gary Cooper(Raft 2nd billed)
*"You and Me" (1938) with
Sylvia Sidney(with bizarre musical interludes by Kurt Weill)
Spawn of the North" (1938) with Henry Fondaand John Barrymore
I Stole a Million" (1939) with Claire Trevor
The Lady's from Kentucky" (1939) with Ellen Drew
Each Dawn I Die" (1939) with James Cagney(Raft 2nd billed)
The House Across the Bay" (1940) with Joan Bennett
They Drive by Night" (1940) with Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart
Invisible Stripes" (1940) with William Holdenand Humphrey Bogart
*"Manpower" (1941) with
Edward G. Robinsonand Marlene Dietrich(Raft 3rd billed but played the lead)
*"Broadway" (1942) with
Pat O'Brienand Broderick Crawford(Raft plays himself as a young B'way dancer)
Background to Danger" (1943) with Sydney Greenstreetand Peter Lorre
Stage Door Canteen" (1943) with an all-star cast
Follow the Boys" (1944) with Vera Zorina
*"Nob Hill" (1945) with
Johnny Angel" (1945) with Claire Trevorand Hoagy Carmichael
Whistle Stop" (1946) with Ava Gardnerand Victor McLaglen
Mr. Ace" (1946) with Sylvia Sidney
A Dangerous Profession" (1949)
Red Light" (1949) with Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, and Raymond Burr
A Dangerous Profession" (1949) with Ella Raines, Pat O'Brien, and Jim Backus
Rogue Cop" (1954) with Robert Taylor and Janet Leigh(Raft 3rd billed)
*"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) with
David Nivenand Marlene Dietrich(Raft cameo)
Some Like It Hot" (1959) with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon(Raft 4th billed)
*"Ocean's Eleven" (1960) with the
Rat Pack( Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop)
The Ladies Man" (1961) with Jerry Lewis(Raft cameo)
*"The Patsy" (1964)
The Upper Hand" (1966) with Jean Gabin(Raft 2nd billed)
*"Casino Royale" (1967)
*"Skidoo" (1968) with
Jackie Gleasonand Groucho Marx
Madigan's Millions" (1968) with Dustin Hoffmanand Elsa Martinelli
Sextette" (1978) with Mae Westand Timothy Dalton(Raft cameo)
*Beaver, Jim. "George Raft". Films in Review, April, 1978.
*Lewis, Brad. "Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster. The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen". Enigma Books: New York, 2007. ISBN 978-1-929631-65-0
*Parish, James Robert. "The George Raft File: The Unauthorized Biography". New York: Drake Publishers, 1973. ISBN 0877495203
*Yablonsky, Lewis. "George Raft". New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1974. ISBN 0070722358
NAME= Raft, George
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Ranft, George
DATE OF BIRTH= 1895-9-26
PLACE OF BIRTH=
New York City, New York
DATE OF DEATH= 1980-11-24
PLACE OF DEATH=
Los Angeles, California
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
George Raft — Escena de Invisible Stripes (1939) Nombre real George Ranft Nacimiento 26 de septiembre de 1895 … Wikipedia Español
George Raft — Dans Invisible Stripes (1939) Données clés Nom de naissance … Wikipédia en Français
George Raft — mit Judy Canova 1979 George Raft (* 26. September 1895 in New York City; † 24. November 1980 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler. Raft wurde als George Ranft im Washington Heights (163rd St. und Amsterdam A … Deutsch Wikipedia
George Raft — n British a draught (of air). A fairly widespread piece of jocular rhyming slang inspired by the American actor of the same name (famous for his tough guy and under world roles on and off screen). Blimey, there s a bit of a George Raft in here,… … Contemporary slang
George Raft — George Ranft … Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games
George Raft — I Cockney Rhyming Slang Draft There s a bit of a george in here. II Everyday English Slang in Ireland draught (breeze from an open window/door) … English dialects glossary
George Raft — Meaning Draft. Origin Cockney rhyming slang … Meaning and origin of phrases
The George Raft Story — Voir Dompteur de femmes … Dictionnaire mondial des Films
Raft (disambiguation) — Raft may refer to:*Raft, a flat floating structure for travel over water *Raft (novel), a Stephen Baxter science fiction novel *RAFT (chemistry), reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer *The Raft (comics), a fictional prison facility in… … Wikipedia
Raft — bezeichnet: ein Rafting, mit dem ein Fluss, gewöhnlich schwereres Wildwasser, befahren wird. in der Zellbiologie Lipid Rafts, Cholesterin reiche Lipid „Inseln“ in Plasmamembran Leaflets. Raft ist der Familienname folgender Personen: George Raft… … Deutsch Wikipedia