Robert Ryan



Place of birth:

Chicago, Illinois, USA:


Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American  actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains. 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 Dangerous Ground (1951) he portrayed a burnt-out city cop finding redemption while solving a rural murder. In Wise's The Set-Up (1949), he played an over-the-hill boxer who is brutally punished for refusing to take a dive. Other important films were Anthony Mann's western The Naked Spur, Sam Fuller's uproarious Japanese set gangland thriller House of Bamboo, Bad Day at Black Rock, and the socially conscious heist movie Odds Against Tomorrow. He also appeared in several all-star war films, including The Longest Day (1962) and Battle of the Bulge (1965), and The Dirty Dozen. He also played John the Baptist in MGM's Technicolor epic King of Kings (1961) and was the villainous Claggart in Peter Ustinov's adaptation of Billy Budd (1962). In his later years, Ryan continued playing significant roles in major films. Most notable of these were The Dirty Dozen, The Professionals (1966) and Sam Peckinpah's highly influential brutal western The Wild Bunch (1969). Ryan appeared several times on the Broadway stage. His credits there include Clash by Night, Mr. President and The Front Page, the comedy drama about newspapermen. He appeared in many television series as a guest star, including the role of Franklin Hoppy-Hopp in the 1964 episode "Who Chopped Down the Cherry Tree?" on the NBC medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour. Similarly, he guest starred as Lloyd Osment in the 1964 episode "Better Than a Dead Lion" in the ABC psychiatric series, Breaking Point. In 1964, Ryan appeared with Warren Oates in the episode "No Comment" of CBS's short-lived drama about newspapers, The Reporter, starring Harry Guardino in the title role of journalist Danny Taylor. Ryan appeared five times (1956–1959) on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater and twice (1959 and 1961) on the Zane Grey spin-off Frontier Justice. He appeared three times (1962–1964) on the western Wagon Train.

Film Credits

Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991)
as Himself (archive footage)
The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn (1986)
The Iceman Cometh (1973)
as Larry Slade
Executive Action (1973)
as Foster
The Outfit (1973)
as Mailer
The Man Without a Country (1973)
as Lt. Cmdr. Vaughan
Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973)
as Pap Gutshall
La Course du lièvre à travers les champs (1972)
as Charley
The Love Machine (1971)
as Gregory 'Greg' Austin
Lawman (1971)
as Sabbath Marshal Cotton Ryan
The Reason Why (1970)
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)
as Captain Nemo
Simon and Garfunkel: Songs of America (1969)
as Himself - Host
The Wild Bunch (1969)
as Deke Thornton
Lo sbarco di Anzio (1968)
as Gen. Carson
Un minuto per pregare, un istante per morire (1968)
as New Mexico Gov. Lem Carter
Custer of the West (1967)
as Mulligan
Hour of the Gun (1967)
as Ike Clanton
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
as Col. Everett Dasher Breed
The Busy Body (1967)
as Charley Barker
The Professionals (1966)
as Hans Ehrengard
Battle of the Bulge (1965)
as General Grey
The Dirty Game (1965)
as General Bruce
The Crooked Road (1965)
as Richard Ashley
Billy Budd (1962)
as John Claggart, Master of Arms
The Longest Day (1962)
as Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin
King of Kings (1961)
as John the Baptist
The Canadians (1961)
as Inspector William Gannon
Ice Palace (1960)
as Thor Storm
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
as Earle Slater
Day of the Outlaw (1959)
as Blaise Starrett
Lonelyhearts (1959)
as William Shrike
God's Little Acre (1958)
as Ty Ty Walden
Men in War (1958)
as Lt. Benson
Back from Eternity (1956)
as Bill Lonagan
The Proud Ones (1956)
as Marshal Cass Silver
Screen Director's Playhouse: Lincoln's Doctor's Dog (1955)
as Abraham Lincoln
The Tall Men (1955)
as Nathan Stark
House of Bamboo (1955)
as Sandy Dawson
Escape to Burma (1955)
as Jim Brecan
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
as Reno Smith
Her Twelve Men (1954)
as Joe Hargrave
About Mrs. Leslie (1954)
as George Leslie
Alaska Seas (1954)
as Matt Kelly
Inferno (1953)
as Donald Whitley Carson III
City Beneath the Sea (1953)
as Brad Carlton
The Naked Spur (1953)
as Ben Vandergroat
Horizons West (1952)
as Dan Hammond
Beware, My Lovely (1952)
as Howard Wilton
Clash by Night (1952)
as Earl Pfeiffer
On Dangerous Ground (1951)
as Jim Wilson
The Racket (1951)
as Nick Scanlon
Flying Leathernecks (1951)
as Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
Best of the Badmen (1951)
as Jeff Clanton
Born to Be Bad (1950)
as Nick Bradley
The Woman on Pier 13 (1950)
as Bradley Collins / Frank Johnson
The Secret Fury (1950)
as David McLean
The Set-Up (1949)
as Stoker
Caught (1949)
as Smith Ohlrig
Act of Violence (1949)
as Joe Parkson
The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
as Dr. Evans
Return of the Bad Men (1948)
as Sundance Kid
Berlin Express (1948)
as Robert Lindley
Crossfire (1947)
as Montgomery
The Woman on the Beach (1947)
as Scott Burnett
Trail Street (1947)
as Ruby Stone
Marine Raiders (1944)
as Capt. Dan Craig
Tender Comrade (1943)
as Chris Jones
Gangway for Tomorrow (1943)
as Joe Dunham
The Iron Major (1943)
as Father Timothy 'Tim' Donovan
Behind the Rising Sun (1943)
as Lefty O'Doyle
The Sky's the Limit (1943)
as Reginald Fenton
Bombardier (1943)
as Joe Connors
The Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940)
as Eddie
North West Mounted Police (1940)
as Constable Dumont
Golden Gloves (1940)
as Pete Wells
The Ghost Breakers (1940)
as Intern (uncredited)

TV Series Credits

The Dirty Dozen (1988)
as Colonel Everett Dasher-Breed
World War One (1964)
as Narrator
World War I: The Complete Story (1964)
as Narrator
Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963)
Alcoa Theatre (1957)
Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (1956)
The Steve Allen Show (1956)
The Academy Awards (1953)