Ray – born Alfred Reginald Jones in Neath in 1905, though some say 1907 – was a former Household Cavalryman who found his way to Hollywood. At the time of the photo shown, he had just finished filming Billy Wilder’s The Major and the Minor, with Ginger Rogers. It was to be another Wilder movie, The Lost Weekend (1945), for which he was to receive most critical acclaim and indeed the Academy Award for best actor. His best known later film was Alfred Hitchock’s 1954 Dial M for Murder.
His pillion, Mary Martin, was at the time working on the film Happy Go Lucky. A regular in musicals – including the first Broadway productions of South Pacific and Peter Pan – she was the mother of the recently deceased Larry Hagman, best known as the Dallas ‘baddie’ JR Ewing. Martin gave birth to Hagman in 1931, when she was 18, and he was brought up by her parents – his grandparents – while she pursued her career. Martin only made nine films in all; she much preferred the audience interaction the stage offered.
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The Indian was the motorcycle of choice for the film star glitterati of the time – Milland’s fellow riders included Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Ward Bond and Randolph Scott.