Ray Collins, Happy Birthday, 1889-1965


Collins began his, what some would call “a solid career”, on Broadway, (The Blue Bandanna, 1924; Conscience, 1924; Eve’s Leaves, 1925; Bridge of Distances,1925;  The Donovan Affair, 1926; On Call, 1928; A Strong Man’s House, 1929 and Paging Danger, 1931) he worked on a series of short films based on Booth Tarkington’s “Penrod” stories, from 1930-1932. Then he started a successful run with Orson Welles in “The Shadow”, 1937-1938 on radio, continuing on with Welles, as part of the Mercury Theater of the Air and the Campbell Playhouse.  Truly, Collins was a supporting actor. He had turns in four great movies, in which he deserves recognition, for in those roles he found his acting destiny: Citizen Kane, 1941; The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942; The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946 and Touch of Evil, 1958; that is not to say that Collins did not perform well throughout his more than 70 film appearances, for that is evident by the rest of his dependable resume; one well acted film after another.  After his long stint in film Collins portrayed Lt. Arthur Tragg on the CBS television series “Perry Mason”, from 1957-1965, of which most people probably became familiar with his work.

"The Shadow"

“The Shadow”

Mercury Theater on the Air, Rehearsal

Mercury Theater on the Air, Rehearsal

Mercury Theater on the Air

Mercury Theater on the Air, Rehearsal


By C. S. Williams


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