Chicago, Illinois, USA
Place of Death
New York City, New York, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
The Wild Bunch
Brown - Dark
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Profile Bio Text
Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains. 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.
Ryan was a liberal Democrat who tirelessly supported civil rights issues. Despite his military service, he also came to share the pacifist views of his wife Jessica, who was a Quaker. On March 11, 1939, he married Jessica Cadwalader. They had two sons, Cheyney (now a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon) and Timothy "Tim" Ryan, and one daughter, Lisa Ryan. He lived in Manhattan`s famed Dakota Building at 72nd and Central Park West, and eventually sublet his apartment to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Robert and Jessica Ryan remained married until her death from cancer in 1972. He died from lung cancer in New York City the following year at age 63.
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Full Name at Birth
Robert Bushnell Ryan
Jean Renior, Marsha Hunt, Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Don Murray, Hugh Beaumont
Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains.
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