Dec 3, 2021

Aldo Ray: The Voice, Chest, and Endowment that Wowed Old Hollywood

Aldo Ray is on my list of gay and gay-friendly people born in 1926, but I didn't know anything else about him until I started looking for photos.

He was a blond, beefy screen hunk with a deep voice and a hairy chest, who took off his shirt at the drop of a script.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1926, he served in World War II, married, and was elected Crockett, California town constable before driving his brother to an audition for Saturday's Hero (1951) and getting cast himself.

Gay director George Cukor took a special interest in Ray, and upon seeing him naked (however that happened), made him a headliner at his legendary Sunday afternoon parties, where well-endowed hunks swam naked for the enjoyment of the guests.

Later Cukor cast Ray in Pat and Mike (1952), starring screen legends Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.  Scott Bowers, the legendary trotaconventos of old Hollywood, claims that that Spencer Tracy was only one of the stars who made good use of Ray's superheroic endowment.

Somehow Ray also found the time to hang out at Henry Willson's pool parties with a stable of gay, bi, gay-for-pay, and allied beefcake stars like Farley Granger, Robert Stack, Tony Curtis, John Bromfield, and Rock Hudson.

Ray starred in many movies of the 1950s and 1960s as an assortment of gruff, taciturn bad guys, soldiers, cops, and rednecks.  Among his most famous movies:

God's Little Acre (1958), as a taciturn farmer who has an affair with future Gilligan's Island star Tina Louise.

The Naked and the Dead (1958), as a soldier killed in action after bullying Cliff Robertson.

Four Desperate Men (1959), as a police officer dealing with a hostage situation in Sydney.

Johnny Nobody (1960), as an amnesiac murderer.

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go Round (1966).  Great title, whatever it's about.

What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? (1966), an anti-Vietnam farce.

The Green Berets (1968), a pro-Vietnam farce

Typecast as gruff and gravelly-voiced, Ray faced a career decline in the 1970s.  He appeared mostly in horror movies (Death Dimension, Human Experiments, Don't Go Near the Park, Terror in the Night) and on tv as the recognizable has-been guest star (Police Story, SWAT, Marcus Welby MD, CHIPS).

Aldo Ray died of throat cancer on March 27, 1991, survived by his third wife and four children, including actor Eric DaRe (Twin Peaks).

See also: Jerry Lewis Falls in Love; Henry Willson and Gay Hollywood.


  1. Had a much older friend who said Aldo would get drunk and show up at a "gay" bar and whip out his massive "ray gun" just to tease the boys. He said he never thought the man was gay, just very gay friendly. Most well hung guys like to be admired... even some not so well hung guys.
    This fiend also said he turned he turned down sex Johnny Mathis. The propsition was offered by one of the singer's entourage.

    1. Who turned down sex with Johnny Mathis, your friend or Aldo Ray?

  2. That's a first. He must have enjoyed men a bit more than his friend thought. I dont know any straight guys that flash there "ray gun" uses they are looking for action...

  3. my grandmother and her second husband ran a motel in North Hollywood back in the day. She said that Aldo would show up whenever his wife, which ever one it was, was upset with him. He was there a lot. My mom has an autographed photo of Aldo hanging up-it was signed to my grandmother.

  4. Now he would be considered a gay bear icon

    1. A bit more I suspect. I used to go to a bar on West 45th St off of 6th Ave in New York. It later became the Peppermint Lounge, but I can't recall the name at that time. I was friendly with the two evening Bartenders, Mike and Corky. One Christmas eve I had a few too many drinks and Mike suggested that I go up to his apartment and take a nap. I did so and went to his bedroom and took a nap. I woke up an hour or so later and had to pee. I got up and walked through the Living room to get to the bathroom. On the couch in the Living Room were two hunks having sex. We ignored each other and I went back to bed. Later on when I was talking to Mike. he said "By the way, that was Aldo Ray with Corky." Indeed it was, when I stopped to thing about it. He had a great body....just my type. I've never forgotten it even though it was so very many years ago. It had to have been in the early to mid fifties.

  5. Whenever Johnny Mathis came to Philadelphia, he’d allegedly head straight to South Street and troll for Italian meat.

  6. No one mentioned that Aldo Ray did straight porn when his career fizzled out. Maybe it was 2 or 3 movies, but still.....

    1. He appeared in a non-sexual role in a porn movie called "Sweet Savage."

    2. Aldo never did porn himself. He was in one X rated movie, Sweet Savage, and besides for partially undressing, kissing and fondling the boobs of one woman, he stayed completely dressed.


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