G. Raymond; Character Actor, Dancer, Comedian
Guy Raymond, dancer, stand-up comedian and venerable character actor for seven decades who became a fixture on stage, film and television, has died. He was 85.
Raymond, who also appeared in television commercials, including a long-running one for Autumn margarine, died Sunday in Santa Monica.
He won rave reviews a decade ago for the role of Milton Perry in Mark Harelik’s regional theater production “The Immigrant.” The play, co-starring Raymond’s wife, Ann Guilbert, as his onstage spouse, was performed in 1986 at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, and also in Denver and Washington.
“When we get on stage,” Raymond told The Times then, describing why he enjoyed acting with his wife, “there’s a chemistry involved that wouldn’t be there between two people who weren’t married. An arch of an eyebrow has meaning to us. It’s very easy--and it’s fun.”
Born Raymond Guyer in Niagara Falls, N.Y., he began his career in his teens as a solo comedy dancer at Chin Lee’s Restaurant in New York City. He later joined Jimmy Shea as Shea & Raymond, which became one of the top dance teams in the country. The duo toured the United States and Europe and performed with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, among others.
Guyer next developed a stand-up comedy act, which he performed in nightclubs and on early television variety shows, including the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
The actor made his Broadway debut in 1935 in “George White’s Scandals.” His other credits included “Hook and Ladder,” “Pipe Dream” and, most notably, “Mrs. McThing” with Helen Hayes.
Moving into films, Raymond had roles in “The Undefeated,” “Gypsy,” “Marjorie Morningstar,” “Bandolero,” “The Reluctant Astronaut” and “The Russians Are Coming.”
Comfortable on television too, he performed in recurring roles on “Mr. Peepers,” “90 Bristol Court,” “Ichabod and Me,” “Green Acres” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” He also appeared in several television movies, including “Who’s Happy Now” and “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom,” and in series such as “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” On “Star Trek” he was remembered as the bartender in the perennially popular episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.”
Raymond’s face with the wrinkling forehead was familiar in television commercials, as in the margarine ad in which he portrayed Mr. Pruitt, boasting the slogan “Tastes like Pruitt grew it!”
Raymond was married for 25 years to Evelyn Scher until her death in 1967. He married Guilbert two years later.
In addition to Guilbert, Raymond is survived by a brother, Harold, two stepdaughters, Nora Eckstein Sekowski and Hallie Todd Withrow, and two step-granddaughters.
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Actors’ Fund of Actors Equity.