Ray Teal

Ray Elgin Teal (January 12, 1902 – April 2, 1976) was an American actor.[note 1][1] His most famous role came on the television series Bonanza (1959–1972). He also appeared in several films such as Western Jamboree (1938), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), The Black Arrow (1948), Ace in the Hole (1951) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).

Ray Teal
Ray Elgin Teal

(1902-01-12)January 12, 1902
DiedApril 2, 1976(1976-04-02) (aged 74)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery
Other namesRay E. Teal
Years active1937–1974
Louise Laraway
(m. 1926; died 1976)

Early life

Teal was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A saxophone player, he worked his way through the University of California, Los Angeles as a bandleader before becoming an actor.[2]

Acting career

After more than 15 years performing in films and in early television, Teal secured a recurring role as a police officer in the 1953–1955 ABC sitcom with a variety-show theme, Where's Raymond?, later renamed The Ray Bolger Show. Ray Bolger in the series portrays Raymond Wallace, a song-and-dance man who repeatedly arrives for his performances barely on time. Others cast members in the series include Richard Erdman, Allyn Joslyn, Betty Lynn, Sylvia Lewis, Gloria Winters, and Verna Felton.[3]

In 1955, Teal appeared as McCanles, a ruthless cattle baron in the episode "Julesburg" of the ABC/Warner Bros. Western series, Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker in the title role. Altogether, Teal appeared five times on Cheyenne, the first hour-long Western series on a major network. In 1950, he appeared in the episode of The Lone Ranger titled "Never Say Die" as Matt Dooley. In 1955, he appeared in episode 175 of The Lone Ranger. He later appeared in a guest-starring role in another ABC/WB Western series, The Alaskans, starring Roger Moore. From 1957 to 1962, Teal was cast three times in different roles on another long-running Western series, Wagon Train. He also appeared in an episode of The Rifleman and later in Green Acres.

In 1957, Teal played a lawman, Captain McNelly, in the episode "Sam Bass" of NBC's Tales of Wells Fargo, with Dale Robertson as agent Jim Hardie and Chuck Connors in the role of the outlaw Sam Bass. Teal was cast as Fenster in "The Bounty Hunters" (1957) on the ABC Western series, Broken Arrow, starring John Lupton and Michael Ansara.

In 1958, Teal guest-starred with Beverly Washburn in "No Tears for the Dead" on the CBS Western series, The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun.[4] He appeared too in the CBS sitcom, Dennis the Menace, starring Jay North. Also in 1958, Teal was cast as Yotts Meyer in the episode "Hangtown" of the NBC Western series, The Californians, and played a crooked sheriff in the episode "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick" opposite James Garner in the Warner Bros. series Maverick.

in 1960, Teal was cast as Sheriff Roy Coffee in Bonanza a role he would play until 1972 appearing in 98 episodes.

Teal appeared twice in another ABC/WB Western, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. In the series finale entitled "The Trespassers" (1960), Teal played Mike O'Tara. Others in the guest cast were Pamela Duncan, Lee Van Cleef, Gary Vinson, and Arthur Space, as Belle O'Tara, the Indian Red Feather, Lieutenant Sims, and Colonel Tomkin, respectively.[5]

In 1960, he was cast as Sheriff Clay, along with other guest-stars Charles Bronson, William Fawcett, and Stella Stevens, in the episode "Zigzag" of Darren McGavin's NBC Western series, Riverboat, with Darren McGavin.

In 1962, Teal portrayed Mr. Todd in the episode entitled "The Tall Shadow" of the NBC modern Western drama, Empire, starring Richard Egan as New Mexico rancher Jim Redigo. That same year, he was cast as Sam Thorpe in the episode "Step Forward" of the NBC police drama set in New York City, 87th Precinct. He portrayed in 1962 the character Alvin Greaves in "Unwanted: Dead or Alive" of the syndicated adventure series The Everglades, starring Ron Hayes. In 1962 and 1963, he was cast four times, three as the character Frank Higgins, on the Earl Holliman Western series about the rodeo, Wide Country.

In 1963, Teal appeared as murder victim Joe Downing in the CBS courtroom drama series Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Shifty Shoebox".

Teal was a bit-part player in Western films for several years before landing a substantial role in Northwest Passage (1940). Another of his roles was as Little John in The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946). Notable film roles include playing one of the judges in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) with Spencer Tracy and an indulgent bar owner to Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in The Wild One (1953). This was the second of three times that Teal appeared with Brando, having done so already as a drunk in Brando's debut in The Men (1950) and later in Brando's only directorial effort, One-Eyed Jacks (1961), as a bartender.

Teal appeared in three episodes of the 1955–1957 anthology series, Crossroads, a study of clergymen from different denominations.


He died of undisclosed causes at age 74 in Santa Monica, California.

Selected filmography


  1. The book Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory gives Teal's birth date as January 12, 1908.


  1. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 173. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  2. Metcalfe, Jack (July 11, 1950). "Hollywood Film Shop". The Terre Haute Tribune. Indiana, Terre Haute. United Press. p. 4. Retrieved May 28, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "Where's Raymond?/ The Ray Bolger Show". ctva.biz. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  4. "The Texan". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  5. "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
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