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Ray Middleton

Personal information
Birth dateFebruary 8, 1907
Place of birthChicago, Illinois, United States
Date of deathApril 10, 1984(age 77)
Death placePanorama City, California, United States

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Raymond Earl Middleton, Jr. (February 8, 1907 April 10, 1984), known and billed as Ray Middleton, was an American character actor.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Middleton was the first actor to play Superman in public, which he did on July 3, 1940, during the 1939 New York World's Fair's "Superman Day". During the early 1940s, he appeared in the movies Gangs of Chicago, the original Hurricane Smith (playing the title role), and Lady for a Night, which starred Joan Blondell and John Wayne. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, appearing in the Air Forces show Winged Victory. In 1946, he co-starred with Ethel Merman in the original Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun.

He played the dual roles of the Innkeeper and the Governor in the original stage production of Man of La Mancha.

In television, Middleton's appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show (once as a guest host), the Colgate Comedy Hour, and Chrysler's Shower of Stars in the 1950s. He co-starred with Phil Silvers and Lee Remick in a 1967 TV adaptation of Damn Yankees!.

During the 1970s, Middleton appeared in the TV movie Hec Ramsey as a judge, in the musical movie 1776, as Colonel Thomas McKean, and in the first TV adaptation of Helter Skelter as rancher George Spahn. He also voiced the character Pepperino in the cartoon Tubby the Tuba.

Middleton's last appearances were as Cardinal Reardon in an episode of M*A*S*H ("Blood Brothers", featuring Patrick Swayze), and as grandfather Huey Rush in the comedy Too Close for Comfort.

Middleton died in Panorama City, California at the age of 77.

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