Image of Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American  actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains. Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois, the first child of Timothy Ryan and his wife Mabel Bushnell Ryan.  He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932, having held the school's heavyweight boxing title all four years of his attendance. After graduation, the 6`4" Ryan found employment as a stoker on a ship, a WPA worker, and a ranch hand in Montana. Ryan attempted to make a career in show business as a playwright, but had to turn to acting to support himself. He studied acting in Hollywood and appeared on stage and in small film parts during the early 1940s. In January 1944, after securing a contract guarantee from RKO Radio Pictures, Ryan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served as a drill instructor at Camp Pendleton, in San Diego, California. At Camp Pendleton, he befriended writer and future director Richard Brooks, whose novel, The Brick Foxhole, he greatly admired. He also took up painting. Ryan's breakthrough film role was as an anti-Semitic killer in Crossfire (1947), a film noir based on Brooks's novel. The role won Ryan his sole career Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor. From then on, Ryan's specialty was tough/tender roles, finding particular expression in the films of directors such as Nicholas Ray, Robert Wise and Sam Fuller. In Ray's On Dangerous Ground (1951) he portrayed a burnt-out city cop finding redemption while solving a rural murder. In Wise's The Set-Up (1949), he played an over-the-hill boxer who is brutally punished for refusing to take a dive. Other important films were Anthony Mann's western The Naked Spur, Sam Fuller's uproarious Japanese set gangland thriller House of Bamboo, Bad Day at Black Rock, and the socially conscious heist movie Odds Against Tomorrow. He also appeared in several all-star war films, including The Longest Day (1962) and Battle of the Bulge (1965), and The Dirty Dozen. He also played John the Baptist in MGM's Technicolor epic King of Kings (1961) and was the villainous Claggart in Peter Ustinov's adaptation of Billy Budd (1962). In his later years, Ryan continued playing significant roles in major films. Most notable of these were The Dirty Dozen, The Professionals (1966) and Sam Peckinpah's highly influential brutal western The Wild Bunch (1969). Ryan appeared several times on the Broadway stage. His credits there include Clash by Night, Mr. President and The Front Page, the comedy drama about newspapermen. He appeared in many television series as a guest star, including the role of Franklin Hoppy-Hopp in the 1964 episode "Who Chopped Down the Cherry Tree?" on the NBC medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour. Similarly, he guest starred as Lloyd Osment in the 1964 episode "Better Than a Dead Lion" in the ABC psychiatric series, Breaking Point. In 1964, Ryan appeared with Warren Oates in the episode "No Comment" of CBS's short-lived drama about newspapers, The Reporter, starring Harry Guardino in the title role of journalist Danny Taylor. Ryan appeared five times (1956–1959) on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater and twice (1959 and 1961) on the Zane Grey spin-off Frontier Justice. He appeared three times (1962–1964) on the western Wagon Train.


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Born:
Nov 11, 1909 In Chicago, Illinois, United States
Movie/TV Credits:
84
First Appeared:
In the movie Lillian Russell 1940-05-24
Latest Project:
Movie Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire 1991-07-15
Known For
Poster of The Reason Why
Poster of World War One
Poster of Horizons West
Poster of Crossfire
Filmography
Movie Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire Himself (archive footage) 1991-07-15
Movie The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn 1986-03-09
Movie The Iceman Cometh Larry Slade 1973-11-10
Movie Executive Action Foster 1973-11-07
Movie The Outfit Mailer 1973-10-01
Movie The Man Without a Country Lt. Cmdr. Vaughan 1973-04-25
Movie Lolly-Madonna XXX Pap Gutshall 1973-02-21
Movie And Hope to Die Charley 1972-09-15
Movie The Love Machine Gregory 'Greg' Austin 1971-08-14
Movie Lawman Sabbath Marshal Cotton Ryan 1971-01-01
Movie The Reason Why 1970-01-02
Movie Captain Nemo and the Underwater City Captain Nemo 1969-12-19
Movie The Wild Bunch Deke Thornton 1969-06-17
Movie Anzio Gen. Carson 1968-07-24
Movie A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die New Mexico Gov. Lem Carter 1968-02-08
Movie Hour of the Gun Ike Clanton 1967-11-01
Movie The Dirty Dozen Col. Everett Dasher Breed 1967-06-15
Movie The Busy Body Charley Barker 1967-03-12
Movie The Professionals Hans Ehrengard 1966-11-01
Movie The Crooked Road Richard Ashley 1965-02-03
Movie Battle of the Bulge General Grey 1965-04-02
Movie The Dirty Game General Bruce 1965-06-23
Series World War One Narrator 1964-09-22
Series Kraft Suspense Theatre Unknown 1963-10-10
Series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Unknown 1963-10-04
Movie Billy Budd John Claggart, Master of Arms 1962-11-12
Movie The Longest Day Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin 1962-09-25
Movie King of Kings John the Baptist 1961-10-11
Movie The Canadians Inspector William Gannon 1961-03-11
Movie Ice Palace Thor Storm 1960-01-02
Movie Day of the Outlaw Blaise Starrett 1959-07-01
Movie Odds Against Tomorrow Earle Slater 1959-10-15
Movie God's Little Acre Ty Ty Walden 1958-09-23
Movie Lonelyhearts William Shrike 1958-01-01
Series Alcoa Theatre 1957-10-07
Movie Men in War Lt. Benson 1957-03-19
Series Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater Unknown 1956-10-05
Movie Back from Eternity Bill Lonagan 1956-09-07
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Movie The Proud Ones Marshal Cass Silver 1956-05-15
Movie Bad Day at Black Rock Reno Smith 1955-01-07
Movie Escape to Burma Jim Brecan 1955-04-09
Movie House of Bamboo Sandy Dawson 1955-07-01
Movie The Tall Men Nathan Stark 1955-09-21
Movie Her Twelve Men Joe Hargrave 1954-08-11
Movie About Mrs. Leslie George Leslie 1954-08-03
Movie Alaska Seas Matt Kelly 1954-01-27
Movie Inferno Donald Whitley Carson III 1953-08-12
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie City Beneath the Sea Brad Carlton 1953-03-11
Movie The Naked Spur Ben Vandergroat 1953-02-06
Movie Clash by Night Earl Pfeiffer 1952-06-16
Movie Horizons West Dan Hammond 1952-10-11
Movie Beware, My Lovely Howard Wilton 1952-08-07
Movie On Dangerous Ground Jim Wilson 1951-12-17
Movie The Racket Nick Scanlon 1951-12-12
Movie Flying Leathernecks Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin 1951-08-28
Movie Best of the Badmen Jeff Clanton 1951-08-09
Movie Born to Be Bad Nick Bradley 1950-09-28
Movie The Secret Fury David McLean 1950-02-21
Movie Act of Violence Joe Parkson 1949-02-01
Movie Slightly French Carnival Barker (uncredited) 1949-02-02
Movie Caught Smith Ohlrig 1949-02-17
Movie The Woman on Pier 13 Bradley Collins / Frank Johnson 1949-10-08
Movie The Set-Up Stoker 1949-04-02
Movie The Boy with Green Hair Dr. Evans 1948-11-16
Movie Return of the Bad Men Sundance Kid 1948-07-17
Movie Berlin Express Robert Lindley 1948-05-01
Movie Crossfire Montgomery 1947-08-15
Movie The Woman on the Beach Scott Burnett 1947-06-02
Movie Trail Street Ruby Stone 1947-02-19
Movie The Walls Came Tumbling Down Detective Regan (as Bob Ryan) 1946-06-07
Movie Marine Raiders Capt. Dan Craig 1944-07-11
Movie The Sky's the Limit Reginald Fenton 1943-07-13
Movie Bombardier Joe Connors 1943-05-14
Movie Tender Comrade Chris Jones 1943-12-29
Movie Behind the Rising Sun Lefty O'Doyle 1943-08-01
Movie The Iron Major Father Timothy 'Tim' Donovan 1943-10-31
Movie Gangway for Tomorrow Joe Dunham 1943-11-03
Movie The Texas Rangers Ride Again Eddie 1940-12-13
Movie North West Mounted Police Constable Dumont 1940-10-22
Movie Golden Gloves Pete Wells 1940-08-02
Movie The Ghost Breakers Intern (uncredited) 1940-06-21
Movie Lillian Russell Owen 1940-05-24