Ray Anthony

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Ray Anthony
Anthony in 1950
Anthony in 1950
Background information
Birth nameRaymond Antonini
Born (1922-01-20) January 20, 1922 (age 101)
Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresBig band, jazz, swing
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years active1936–1998
LabelsAero Space, Capitol
(m. 1955; div. 1961)

Ray Anthony (born Raymond Antonini; January 20, 1922) is an American bandleader, trumpeter, songwriter, and former actor.[1] He is the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.


Anthony was born to an Italian family in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, but moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where he studied the trumpet. He played in Glenn Miller's band from 1940 to 1941[2] and appeared in the Glenn Miller movie Sun Valley Serenade before joining the U.S. Navy during World War II as Miller joined the Army organizing another famous military band before his 1944 disappearence over the English Channel. After the war he formed his own group. The Ray Anthony Orchestra which became popular in the early 1950s with "The Bunny Hop", "Hokey Pokey", and the memorable theme from the radio / television police detective series Dragnet.[3] He had a No. 2 chart hit with a recording of the tune "At Last" in 1952; it was the highest charting pop version of the song in the U.S. His 1962 recording 'Worried Mind' received considerable radio airplay.

In 1953, Anthony and his orchestra were featured when Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly headlined a summer replacement program for Perry Como's CBS television show.[4]

From 1953 to 1954, Anthony was musical director of the television series TV's Top Tunes, and he also appeared as himself with his orchestra in the 1955 musicale / dance film Daddy Long Legs starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron.[3] In 1955 he married actress Mamie Van Doren. Their son Perry Ray was born on March 18, 1956. Anthony then began expanding his acting career.[5] In 1956–1957 he starred in a short-lived television variety show, The Ray Anthony Show. Anthony also appeared in several films during the late 1950s, including The Five Pennies (in which he portrayed Jimmy Dorsey),[6] and Van Doren's movies High School Confidential (as "Bix") and Girls Town. In the 1959–1960 television season, he guest-starred in the episode "Operation Ramrod" of star David Hedison's espionage series Five Fingers on NBC. Anthony and his band appeared in the movie The Girl Can't Help It (1956).[6] In 1957, Anthony and his orchestra recorded the music score for the film This Could Be The Night,[6] with vocals performed by Julie Wilson.

After Van Doren filed for divorce in 1958, citing "cruelty",[7] they finally divorced in 1961,[8] and Anthony's brief film career ended at about the same time. However, he continued his musical career and had another hit record with the jazzy drumming theme from the Peter Gunn private detective series featuring Craig Stevens, which reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with its popularity enduring for decades. The B-side of this single hit "Peter Gun theme" also contains the Norwegian song "Tango For two" written by Bjarne Amdahl and Alf Prøysen. "Tango for two` which became one of the most requested songs on Radio Luxembourg in 1958. At the end the radio DJ's became so tired of playing the song that they smashed the record. Among the Anthony band's pianists was Allen "Puddler" Harris, a native of Franklin Parish, in Louisiana, who had been a member of the original rock singer Ricky Nelson's band, and Kellie Greene, who also played the vibraphone. Anthony's compositions include "Thunderbird", "The Bunny Hop", "Trumpet Boogie", "Big Band Boogie", and "Mr. Anthony's Boogie".

Anthony was considered one of the most modern big band leaders. In the lyrics to "Opus One", which imagine a number of players all performing the song, he is cited along with Les Brown and his Band of Renown:

If Mr. Les Brown can make it renowned
And Ray Anthony could rock it for me

Anthony became the last living member of Glenn Miller's band when trombonist Nat Peck died in 2015.[9] He turned 100 on January 20, 2022.[10]

Later career[edit]

In the early 1980s, Anthony formed Big Band '80s, with other members of the band including Buddy Rich, Harry James, Les Brown, and Alvino Rey.[11]

Anthony, who has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, continues[when?] to be active as a bandleader and musician. His later works tended to break away from the Big Band jazz style of his earlier days, ranging from MOR and lounge music to blues, film and television themes.

Anthony was a close friend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and appeared in numerous episodes of The Girls Next Door.


Anthony performing in 1947
Year Album[12] Label Catalog Number
1950 Dance Time (split album with Jan Garber [one side by each]) Capitol H-199
1951 Arthur Murray Favorites: Fox Trots Capitol H-258
1952 Houseparty Hop Capitol H-292
1952 Campus Rumpus! Capitol H-362
1953 The Young Man With The Horn Capitol H-373
1953 The Anthony Choir Capitol H-442
1954 I Remember Glenn Miller Capitol H-476
1954 Ray Anthony Plays TV's Top Tunes Capitol H-9118
1954 Arthur Murray Swing Fox Trots Capitol H-546
1955 Golden Horn Capitol T-563
1955 Swingin' On Campus! Capitol T-645
1955 Standards By Ray Anthony Capitol T-663
1955 Big Band Dixieland Capitol T-678
1956 Dream Dancing Capitol T-723
1956 Jam Session at the Tower Capitol T-749
1957 Dancers in Love Capitol T-786
1957 Star Dancing Capitol T-831
1957 Young Ideas Capitol T-866
1957 This Could Be The Night MGM E3530 ST
1958 Moments Together Capitol T-917
1958 The Dream Girl Capitol T-969
1958 Dancing Over the Waves Capitol T-1028
1958 Anthony Plays Steve Allen Capitol T-1086
1959 Anthony Italiano Capitol ST-1149
1959 Sounds Spectacular Capitol ST-1200
1959 More Dream Dancing Capitol ST-1252
1960 Like Wild! Capitol ST-1304
1960 Dancing Alone Together: Torch Songs For Lovers Capitol ST-1420
1960 The New Ray Anthony Show Capitol ST-1421
1961 That's Show Biz Capitol ST-1496
1959 Swing-Dance-Dream to 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' Capitol ST-1576
1961 Dream Dancing Medley Capitol ST-1608
1961 The Twist Capitol ST-1668
1962 Worried Mind: The Soul Of Country Western Blues Capitol ST-1752
1962 I Almost Lost My Mind: The Soul Of Big City Rhythm & Blues Capitol ST-1783
1963 Smash Hits of '63! Capitol ST-1917
1964 Charade and Other Top Themes Capitol ST-2043
1961 My Love, Forgive Me (Amore Scusami) Capitol ST-2150
1964 Swim, Swim, C'mon and Swim Capitol ST-2188
1966 Dream Dancing Today Capitol ST-2457
1966 Hit Songs to Remember Capitol ST-2530
1966 To Each His Own Sears SP-429
1967 Today's Trumpet Capitol ST-2750
1968 Ray Anthony Now Ranwood RLP-8033
1969 Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero (The More I Love You) Ranwood RLP-8046
1969 Love Is For The Two Of Us [AKA Great Country Music Hits] Ranwood RLP-8059
1970 I Get The Blues When It Rains [reissue of Ray Anthony Now] Ranwood RLP-8062
1971 Direction '71: My Sweet Lord Ranwood RLP-8078
1971 Dream Dancing in Hawaii Aero Space RA-1004
1972 Dream Dancing Around The World Aero Space SR 1007
1975 A Little Bit Country Capitol SM-11411
1976 Great Golden Hits Ranwood R-8153
1978 Touch Dancing Aero Space RA-1008
1978 Swing Goes On Vol. 10 Capitol 1 C 054-52 719
1978 Dance Along Sunnyvale SVL-1018
1980 Big Band Series/Original Recording Picc-a-dilly PIC-3422
1981 Volume II-Big Band Series Picc-a-dilly PIC-3545
1987 Best 20 Capitol CP32-5391
1988 A Música De Glenn Miller Capitol 054 791016
1988 1988 & All That Jazz Aero Space RACD-1030
1989 Ray Anthony Capitol CP28-5908
1993 In The Miller Mood Vol. II Aero Space RACD-1037


  1. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 15. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  2. ^ "Bio". Rayanthonyband.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Wynn, Ron "Ray Anthony Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2011-06-17
  4. ^ Warren, Jill (July 1953). "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror. Vol. 40, no. 2. p. 5. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Mamie van Doren, Ray Anthony Wed", Lewiston Daily Sun, August 30, 1955, p. 11, retrieved 2011-06-17
  6. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Fifties Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 18/20. ISBN 0-85112-732-0.
  7. ^ "Divorce Sought", Spokane Daily Chronicle, September 9, 1958, p. 8, retrieved 2011-06-17
  8. ^ "Mamie Van Doren Granted Divorce", Hartford Courant, March 23, 1960, p. 5
  9. ^ "Nat Peck, jazz trombonist - obituary". www.telegraph.co.uk. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 2023-08-20.
  10. ^ "100. Geburtstag einer Swing-Legende: Ray Anthony in den Menschen des Tages 20.01.2022". schmusa.de (in German). January 20, 2022. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  11. ^ Arar, Yardena (1981) "Ray Anthony: Bandleader Anthony Foresees Big Bands Supplanting Disco[permanent dead link]", Merced Sun-Star, February 3, 1981, p. 19, retrieved 2011-06-17
  12. ^ "Ray Anthony Discography". discogs.com.

External links[edit]