Ray Anthony in 1950
|Birth name||Raymond Antonini|
|Born||January 20, 1922|
Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, United States
|Genres||Big Band, Jazz, swing|
|Labels||Aero Space, Capitol|
|Associated acts||Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Al Donahue, Jimmy Dorsey|
Anthony was born to an Italian family in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania but moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where he studied the trumpet. He played in Glenn Miller's band from 1940–1941 and appeared in the Glenn Miller movie Sun Valley Serenade before joining the U.S. Navy during World War Two. After the war he formed his own group. The Ray Anthony Orchestra became popular in the early 1950s with "The Bunny Hop", "Hokey Pokey", and the theme from Dragnet. He had a No. 2 chart hit with a remake of the Glenn Miller tune "At Last" in 1952, the highest charting pop version of the song in the U.S.
From 1953–1954 Anthony was musical director of the television series TV's Top Tunes, and he also appeared as himself in the 1955 film Daddy Long Legs. In 1955 he married his second wife, actress Mamie Van Doren. Their son Perry Ray was born March 18, 1956. He then began expanding his own acting career. In 1956-1957 he starred in a short-lived television variety show, The Ray Anthony Show. Anthony also appeared in several films during the late 1950s, including The Five Pennies (in which he portrayed Jimmy Dorsey), and Van Doren's movies High School Confidential (as "Bix") and Girls Town. In the 1959-1960 television season, he guest-starred in the episode "Operation Ramrod" of David Hedison's espionage series Five Fingers on NBC. Anthony and his band appeared in the movie The Girl Can't Help It (1956). In 1957, Anthony and his orchestra recorded the music score for the film This Could Be The Night, with vocals performed by Julie Wilson.
After van Doren filed for divorce in 1958, citing cruelty, they finally divorced in 1959, and Anthony's brief film career ended at about the same time. However, he continued his musical career and had another hit record with the theme from Peter Gunn, which reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. Among his pianists was Allen "Puddler" Harris, a native of Franklin Parish, Louisiana, who had been a member of the original Ricky Nelson band, and Kellie Greene, who also played the vibraphone. Anthony's compositions include "Thunderbird", "The Bunny Hop", "Trumpet Boogie", "Big Band Boogie", and "Mr. Anthony's Boogie".
Anthony was considered one of the most modern big band leaders. In the lyrics to "Opus One", which imagine a number of players performing the song, he is cited along with Les Brown and his Band of Renown:
- If Mr. Les Brown can make it renowned
- And Ray Anthony could rock it for me
Anthony, who has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, continues to be active as a bandleader and musician.
- Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 15. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
- "Bio". Rayanthonyband.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- Wynn, Ron "Ray Anthony Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2011-06-17
- Warren, Jill (July 1953). "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror. 40 (2): 5. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Mamie van Doren, Ray Anthony Wed", Lewiston Daily Sun, August 30, 1955, p. 11, retrieved 2011-06-17
- "Divorce Sought", Spokane Daily Chronicle, September 9, 1958, p. 8, retrieved 2011-06-17
- "Mamie Van Doren Granted Divorce", Hartford Courant, March 23, 1960, p. 5
- Arar, Yardena (1981) "Ray Anthony: Bandleader Anthony Foresees Big Bands Supplanting Disco", Merced Sun-Star, February 3, 1981, p. 19, retrieved 2011-06-17
- "Ray Anthony Discography". discogs.com.