A face you immediately recognise. RAY TEAL (1902-1976) had a 4 decade  career starting in 1937. Never out of work I imagine, Ray had many uncredited roles for a long time, then in 1946 he got the part of Little John in THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST.

Ray Teal on  far left, Edgar Buchanan (Friar Tuck), John Abbott, Cornel Wilde, Anita Louise, Russell Hicks. BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST.


Ray has one powerful scene in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, as the Axis sympathiser who tells ‘Homer’ (Harold Russell) that his sacrifice was in vain – Ray gets a swift punch from Dana Andrews.


ACE IN THE HOLE. What a trio – Ray with Jan Sterling and Kirk Douglas. Ray may be a sheriff in this classic, but he is up to no good!


Ray In the centre of this photo.

One I’ve never seen, also from 1946. Ray plays a villainous ship’s captain in this Monogram release about sunken treasure. Eddie Albert starred.



John Hodiak, David Brian, John Derek, Ray Teal

In AMBUSH AT TOMAHAWK GAP(1953), Ray is one of four robbers  released from prison who go after the money that  landed them in prison.

Ray was a natural in westerns whatever side of the law he was on. He had the moustachioed rough looks to be type cast as mean and treacherous,  but surprisingly he often played good guys.

According to IMDB, Ray appeared in 21 films in 1948 and 14 in 1949!


Randolph Scott,  James Westerfield, Ray Teal. DECISION AT SUNDOWN.

Ray was in several Randolph Scott westerns . He had a small but crucial role in Decision At Sundown, as a local rancher who finally  steps in to help the beleaguered Scott.


Ray Teal, Arthur Kennnedy, Ray Collins, Fredric March, Whit Bissell.

I know you can only see Ray in profile at far left of this photo, but it’s a good reminder of the great THE DESPERATE  HOURS. Ray yet again played a policeman, this time a state trooper.


William Shatner, Spencer Tracy, Ray Teal, Maximilian Schell.

Ray sits next to Spencer Tracy as one of the judges in JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG.


With Lorne Greene in BONANZA. Ray had a long running role as  Sheriff Roy Coffee from 1960 to 1972.

Ray was in every TV series you care to name in the 50s and 60s.

Just one of the great character actors of classic Hollywood.

Be sure to check out all the other great character performers in the 2018 WHAT A CHARACTER BLOGATHON.




25 responses »

  1. I grew up watching Ray Teal as Roy Coffee on Bonanza, and the more older films I watched the more I became impressed with the versatility of this former musician. I imagine casting directors shaking their heads over whether to cast him as a good citizen or an outlaw as he made every role believable.

    • He was such a good villain! Yet managed to play good guys too. Says a lot for casting directors that they didn’t pidgeon-hole him.

  2. What a great choice for this blogathon. I love Ray Teal. Even as a creep, he was genuine, and you had to smile at him.

  3. An extremely versatile actor who could play good or bad guys, and those existing precariously in between, with consummate ease. His is a name it’s invariably a pleasure to see among the credits of a movie.

  4. Mighty fine to see a tribute to the splendid Mr Teal.
    My favourite Ray role; the incredibly slimy horse trader
    in GUNMAN’S WALK. You can actually see the cogs tick over
    in Ray’s mind as he conducts his dodgy deals.

  5. Vienna The Arnelo Affair, which you mentioned in a previous post, is now on You Tube. Eve Arden and Joan Woodbury in the supporting cast.

  6. For the longest time, I didn’t know Ray Teal’s name. He was “That guy…you know, that guy Dana Andrews belts in Best Years of Our Lives.” Awesome read!

  7. It’s great to be able to name some of these wonderful actors. Ray will definitely be remembered for that scene in Best Years…

  8. Oooh – one of my favorites! My cinematic tail always wags a bit when I see him on screen (in the “happy to see you!” way). I, too, first met him on “Bonanza,” and, as the years unfolded, was more and more amazed at how many time I came across him in film and on TV. Great post and great entry in the blogathon.

  9. I’m one of those who always recognize Ray Teal, but am a little ashamed to say I never knew his name. However, I know he always gives a good performance no matter what the role.

    Thanks for helping me become better acquainted. 🙂

  10. Another one I didn’t know! Yay! Thanks for bringing him to life. As you said, I do recognize him just a bit. I will be on the lookout for him in more Westerns, and in any film from 1948 or 1949! 🙂

  11. Excellent choice! He brought a steady and in charge kind of feel to most every role — didn’t hurt that he was constantly playing cops, sheriffs or prison guards! Like most, Roy Coffee is what I remember most but he did a good turn as a crooked cop in Ace in the Hole (as mentioned)… It’s hard to imagine but apparently he was a band leader before catching the acting bug!

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