Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1895-09-26
75 Movies · 1 TV Series
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George Raft (born George Ranft; September 26, 1901 – November 24, 1980) was an American film actor and dancer identified with portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s. A stylish leading man in dozens of movies, Raft is remembered for his gangster roles in Scarface (1932), Each Dawn I Die (1939) with James Cagney, and Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot (1959) with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, as a dancer in Bolero (1934) with Carole Lombard, and a truck driver in They Drive by Night (1940) with Humphrey Bogart.Raft said he never regarded himself as an actor. "I wanted to be me," he said.
Raft married Grace Mulrooney (1902–1970) in 1923, long before his stardom. The pair separated soon thereafter, but the devoutly Catholic Mulrooney refused to grant a divorce, and Raft remained married to her, and continued to support her, until her death in 1970. A romantic figure in Hollywood, Raft had love affairs with Betty Grable, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, Carole Lombard, and Mae West. He stated publicly that he wanted to marry Norma Shearer, with whom he had a long romance, but his wife's refusal to allow a divorce eventually caused Shearer to end the affair.Raft died from emphysema at the age of 79 in Los Angeles, on November 24, 1980. Two days earlier, Mae West had died, and the two stretchers holding the stars' bodies were briefly alongside one other in the hallway of the mortuary for a coincidental silent reunion almost half a century after their first film together. Raft left behind no will. His estate consisted of a $10,000 insurance policy and some furniture. In the last years of his life he had mainly lived on $800 a month, a combination of social security and his pension. He was interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Raft's personal effects, wardrobe, etc., were sold by means of a simple classified advertisement, listing the lot for $800 in Hemmings Motor News in the fall of 1981.
George Raft was born in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, to a Jewish family of German descent, the son of Eva (née Glockner), a German immigrant, and Conrad Ranft, who was born in Massachusetts to German immigrant parents. His parents were married on November 17, 1895, in Manhattan. George's elder sister, Eva, known as "Katie", was born on April 18, 1896. Raft's grandfather had emigrated from Germany, and worked on merry-go-rounds and prospected for gold; his father worked in carnivals before settling in New York.Most obituaries cited Raft's year of birth as 1895, which the actor had stated was correct when he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, 7 months prior to his death. However, Raft is recorded in the New York City Birth Index as having been born on September 26, 1901, in Manhattan as "George Rauft" (although "Rauft" is likely a mistranscription of "Ranft"); the 1900 census for New York City lists his elder sister, Katie, as his parents' only child, with two children born and only one living. On the 1910 census, he is listed as being eight years old.via Associated Press, "'Tough guy' George raft dies of emphysema at 85", The Milwaukee Sentinel, November 25, 1980; accessed August 10, 2009."After growing up in New York's tough Hell's Kitchen area, Raft was a boxer, electrician, and baseball player before landing a job as a dancer in nightclubs in the 1920s."</ref> A boyhood friend of gangster Bugsy Siegel, and later a "wheel man" for the mob, Raft acknowledged having narrowly avoided a life of crime.Raft grew up on 41st Street and worked as an errand boy and a fishwrapper after school. His parents sent him to live at his grandparents' house on 164th Street. He left school at the age of 12, and left home aged 13. He worked as an apprentice electrician for a year, then boxed professionally for two years from aged fifteen onwards. As "Dutch Rauft", he had 14 bouts: nine victories, three defeats and two draws. (Another account says he had 25 bouts and was knocked out seven times.) He played minor league baseball, reportedly with Springfield of the Eastern League, as a utility outfielder with pitching aspirations. However, his batting was poor and he was dropped."I was just trying to find something that I liked that would make me a living", said Raft later. "I saw guys fighting, so I fought. I saw guys playing ball, so I played ball. Then I saw guys dancing... and getting paid for it!"
Movies & TV Series
Hammersmith Is Out
The Faust legend retold (loosely) and applied to a mentally disturbed patient in a hospital run by a doctor of dubious sanity himself. The patient (Burton) offers the innocent orderly (Bridges) vast r...
Alan Arkin, dressed like a sea captain, aimlessly sails the American highways in his 18 wheeler mumbling manic, southern accented non sequiturs; carnivalizing roadside stops and happenstance towns whi...
Sir James Bond is called back out of retirement to stop SMERSH. In order to trick SMERSH, James thinks up the ultimate plan - that every agent will be named 'James Bond'. One of the Bonds, whose real ...
Five Golden Dragons
While travelling through Hong Kong, Bob Mitchell accidentally stumbles into the middle of criminal negotiations between a mean gang, the Five Golden Dragons and the local mobsters.
Jet Over The Atlantic
Director Byron Haskin's 1960 airplane-in jeopardy drama stars Guy Madison, Virginia Mayo, George Raft, Ilona Massey, Margaret Lindsay, George Macready, Brett Halsey, Anna Lee and Mary Anderson.
Some Like It Hot
Two musicians witness a mob hit and struggle to find a way out of the city before they are found by the gangsters. As they leave on a tour, they only have an opportunity to join an all-girl band. To m...
When nuclear scientists are kidnapped and smuggled behind the Iron Curtain, an FBI man and a British agent are assigned to catch the kidnappers.
A vicious loan shark ring has been preying on factory workers. When several workers at a tire factory suffer violence at the hands of the loan sharkers, a union leader and the factory owner try to rec...
1 TV Series
Treasury Department officials recruit a florist (Raft) to lead them to a wanted criminal (Macready); but once he gets too close, he finds he's the hunted.
Outpost in Morocco
Captain Gerard, greatest lover in the Foreign Legion, is assigned to escort an emir's daughter to her father's mountain citadel and find out what he can about the emir's activities. Gerard enjoys his ...
A Dangerous Profession
A cop-turned-bail bondsman gets involved in a murder investigation.
Nick Cherney, in prison for embezzling from Torno Freight Co., sees a chance to get back at Johnny Torno through his young priest brother Jess. He pays fellow prisoner Rocky, who gets out a week befor...
The greedy nephew of eccentric Matilda Reid seeks to have her judged incompetent so he can administer her wealth; but she will be saved if her three long-lost adopted sons appear for a Christmas Eve r...
Dishonorably discharged from the Army Air Corps, Brad Dunham (George Raft) disconsolately decides to try his luck with Shanghai's postwar black market. Teaming with the treacherous Tamara Baranoff (Ju...
A cop is suspended from the force when he gets too personally involved in solving the murder of a womanizing songwriter.
When beautiful Mary returns to her "whistle stop" home town, long-standing feelings of animosity between two of her old boyfriends leads to robbery and murder.
A rich society woman uses a gangster to win a congressional election.
Stage Door Canteen
A young soldier on a pass in New York City visits the famed Stage Door Canteen, where famous stars of the theater and films appear and host a recreational center for servicemen during the war. The sol...
Background to Danger
An American gets caught up in wartime action in Turkey.
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards
This 1940 presentation features highlights of earlier (1928 onward) Oscar ceremonies including Shirley Temple and Walt Disney, plus acceptance speeches for films released in 1939 with recipients and p...
Breakdowns of 1940
Flubs and bloopers that occurred on the set of some of the major Warner Bros. pictures of 1940.
They Drive by Night
Joe and Paul Fabrini are Wildcat, or independent, truck drivers who have their own small one-truck business. The Fabrini boys constantly battle distributors, rivals and loan collectors, while trying t...
The House Across the Bay
Nightclub owner Steve Larwitt (George Raft) sees his empire of investments collapse as he faces tax evasion charges and attacks by rivals. Believing Steve will be safer in prison for one year, his wif...
I Stole a Million
A cabbie and petty thief dreams of the big heist that will end his thieving ways.
A gangster is unable to go straight after returning home from prison.
Each Dawn I Die
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.
The Lady's from Kentucky
Good-natured gambler Marty Black falls into ownership of a booking joint but soon falls on hard times. His one out is a marker for half-ownership in a young thoroughbred, which he quickly calls in. He...
Spawn of the North
Two Alaskan salmon fisherman find their friendship at risk when one aligns with Russian fish pirates and the other aligns with local vigilantes.
You and Me
Mr. Morris, the owner of a large metropolitan department store, gives jobs to paroled ex-convicts in an effort to help them reform and go straight. Among his 'employed-prison-graduates' are Helen Robe...
Band leader Jack Conrad is impressed by prison inmate Ray Ferrera on saxophone. Conrad hires Ray to join his band and tour upon his release. Ray hooks up with Jean, a dancer in the show, and the two b...
A bored society girl sets her sights on a dancer in a Broadway show.
Every Night at Eight
Three young girls working in an agency have build a singing trio. They want to "lease" the Dictaphone of their boss to make a record of their singing, but they are caught and fired. When they are not ...
She Couldn't Take It
The wealthy Van Dyke family are constantly in the media for outrageous behavior, much to the frustration of the patriarch, Dan Van Dyke. His self-centered wife has a fondness for foreign imports, incl...
The Glass Key
When Paul Madvig, a successful politician who fights his rivals to seize the city, becomes implicated in a murder, Ed Beaumont, his friend and right-hand man, must decide which side he is on.
The complicated relationship between an ambitious, ruthless nightclub dancer and the woman he loves.
Fresh from Chinatown in New York, Harry Young has taken over the illegal import business in the seamy Limehouse district of London, where he cold-bloodedly disposes of rivals and runs a smoky nightclu...
All of Me
A professor tires of the direction his life is going and wants to move west, but his girlfriend doesn't understand why he is so dissatisfied.
The Trumpet Blows
In Mexico, a former bandit settles down and picks out a beautiful young dancer to be his wife. His younger brother also comes home after having spent years in the U.S., and falls in love with his brot...
The scheme of a pair of married con artists goes awry when their victim dies, and they are both caught and imprisoned. When she gets out of prison, she tries to put her life back together.
With a sparkling script by Leslie Charteris, creator of "The Saint" - the latest crime wave has Scotland Yard baffled. Commissioner Hope (Sir Guy Standing) sends two of his officers (Billy Bevan and C...
"In the Gay Nineties New York had grown up into bustles and balloon Sleeves ... but The Bowery had grown younger, louder and more rowdy until it was known as the 'Livest Mile on the face of the globe'...
"Happy" MacDonald and his unfaithful wife own a Prohibition era night club. On this eventful night, he is threatened by bootleggers, and the club's star dancer falls in love with a young socialite who...
When his father is murdered, erstwhile conman Nick Darrow asks the cops if he can go undercover to find the killers, and maybe even stop a crime ring that has been plaguing the police. The sister of a...
Night After Night
A former boxer purchases a classy speakeasy and falls in love with a wealthy society girl.
Dancers in the Dark
A bandleader tries to romance a dancer by sending her boyfriend, a musician, out of town. However, things get complicated when he finds out that a gangster has designs on her too.
International con artist Martha Hicks a.k.a. Countess von Claudwig is released from another stay in prison and decides to treat her rheumatism with a stay at her estranged husband's hotel at a Wiscons...
If I Had a Million
An elderly business tycoon, believed to be dying, decides to give a million dollars each to eight strangers chosen at random from the phone directory.
A murderous thug shoots his way to the top of the mobs while trying to protect his sister from the criminal life.
A truck driver "too lazy to work and too nervous to steal" gets mixed up in racketeering. Naturally his underhanded business practices make him a pillar of the community.
Musical comedy antics in an art deco bakery (motto: "Glorifying the American Doughnut") with Eddie Cantor as an assistant to a phoney psychic, who is mistaken for an efficiency expert and placed in ch...