Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

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Robert Ryan

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Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains.

Early life and career

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...... ...
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