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Also Known As: Raymond Wallace Bolger Died: January 15, 1987
Born: January 10, 1904 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, vaudevillian, dancer, singer, accountant, insurance agent, vacuum cleaner salesman, bank clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although he had racked up numerous stage and screen credits, rubber-legged song-and-dance man Ray Bolger will forever be remembered by children of all ages as the Scarecrow who accompanies Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to the Emerald City in search of "The Wizard of Oz" in that 1939 MGM classic.

Although he had racked up numerous stage and screen credits, rubber-legged song-and-dance man Ray Bolger will forever be remembered by children of all ages as the Scarecrow who accompanies Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to the Emerald City in search of "The Wizard of Oz" in that 1939 MGM classic.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
3.
 That'S Dancing! (1985) Narration
4.
 Just You And Me, Kid (1979) Tom
5.
 Runner Stumbles, The (1979) Monsignor Nicholson
6.
 Three on a Date (1978) Andrew
7.
 Entertainer, The (1976) Billy Rice
8.
 The Daydreamer (1966) The Pieman
9.
 Babes in Toyland (1961) Barnaby
10.
 April in Paris (1953) S. Winthrop "Sam" Putnam
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts
1922:
Professional stage debut in Bob Ott Musical Comedy Reperory Company in Boston
1923:
Appeared in "One Hour From Broadway" in Lukens, Pennsylvania
1924:
Toured in vaudeville
1925:
Acted onstage in "A Pair of Nifties" in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1926:
Broadway debut in "A Merry World"
1936:
Had stage success in "On Your Toes"
1936:
Put under contract at MGM; film acting debut as himself in "The Great Ziegfeld"
1939:
Played his signature role of the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz"
1942:
Made one-shot appearance at RKO in "Four Jacks and a Jill"
1942:
Starred in "By Jupiter"
:
Toured in USO shows entertaining the troops
1946:
Had featured role in MGM's "The Harvey Girls", starring Judy Garland
:
Had one of his best stage roles in "Where's Charley?"; introduced signature song of "Once in Love in Amy"
1952:
Recreated stage role in the film version of "Where's Charley?"
1952:
Performed at the opening of the Hotel Sahara in Las Vegas
:
Starred in the ABC comedy series "Where's Raymond/The Ray Bolger Show" (ABC)
:
Hosted the variety series "Washington Square" (NBC)
1961:
Portrayed the Toymaker in "Babes in Toyland"
1962:
Returned to Broadway in "All American"
1963:
Made guest appearance on "The Judy Garland Show" (CBS)
1969:
Final stage role in "Come Summer"
1976:
Nominated in for an Emmy for his dramatic turn in the NBC TV-movie "The Entertainer"
1976:
Appeared in the NBC miniseries "Captains and the Kings"
1978:
Last TV-movie "Three on a Date" (ABC)
1979:
Final film, "The Runner Stumbles"
1984:
Underwent hip surgery
1985:
Narrated and co-hosted the compilation film "That's Dancing"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dorchester High School: Dorchester , Massachusetts - 1920

Notes

In 1926, Bolger briefly roomed with composer Harold Arlen who later wrote the music for "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).

He was reportedly once fired from an insurance agency for dancing in the hallways.

During a performance of "Life Begins at 8:40" at NYC's Winter Garden Theater in January 1935, a small fire broke out on the roof. Bolger reportedly helped to keep the crowd calm by performing an impromptu tap dance saying, "you can't walk out on me!"

Bolger originally was chosen to play the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz"; he balked at playing the role and eventually switched parts with Buddy Ebsen who was cast as the Scarecrow.

Inducted in the Theater Hall of Fame in 1980.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gwendolyn Rickard. Vaudevillian, screenwriter, producer. Met in 1924; married from July 1929 until his death; died in 1997 at age 89.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James E Bolger. House painter.
mother:
Anne Bolger.
great-nephew:
John Bolger. Actor. Had appeared on numerous daytime serial like "GUiding Light", "Another World" and "One Life to Live".

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