Raymond Jay Castellani was born in Albany, New York on February 13, 1933. He is a former character actor, Skid Row alcoholic, and from humble beginnings in 1987, the founder of the Frontline Foundation, which serves meals to the homeless on the Los Angeles' Skid Row.
In 1995, Castellani received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Bill Clinton at a White House ceremony. During the early 1990s, President George H. W. Bush included Castellani among his "thousand points of light."
Castellani attended The Albany Academy, class of 1952. Upon graduation, he spent a semester at Springfield College. During this time he received a draft notice, and then served as a Marine during the Korean War.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Castellani acted in numerous plays, television shows, and films, including Bonanza, Lawman, and Dragnet. Often he played villains. As Castellani's alcoholism increased, his career suffered and his acting skills eroded. Despite this, he appeared in television shows such as Emergency!, Simon and Simon, Adam-12, The Dakotas, Temple Houston, Night Gallery, Kojak, Planet of the Apes, McNaughton's Daughter, Judd for the Defense, The D.A., Sam, Mobile One, Quincy, The Redd Foxx Show, Lucan, Turnabout, General Hospital, CHiPs, Riker, Oklahoma City Dolls, and Hart to Hart.
In New York, he appeared in plays such as The Curious Savage, Hat Full of Rain, The Rain Maker, What Makes Sammy Run, and Light Up the Sky. During the 1970s, Castellani occasionally found himself homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Castellani returned to acting in the 1980s, but quit to found the Frontline Foundation in 1987. As of January 2011, he continues to operate this charity.
started 2004 - ended 2008 - four years in the making - I was directed to write this story by a power much greater than I - never having read a book - unable to type - or spell - I began to write - the words came - they just flowed - the story began to unfold - a childhood filled with tears - with loneliness - the love from a grandfather - a godfather - the knowledge later on in life - from my dead father how much he loved me - the lonely path I traveled for a life time - the fight for equality at a young age - the transformation from an alcohol drenched body - to becoming a servant of the Master - to follow four principals - Honest - Purity - Unselfishness - Love - to come to a point in life - where there are no mountains to climb - nor valleys to flounder in - to find peace in His Will. I was born 1933 - Raymond Jay Johnston Jr. - Albany New York - at the age four and one half - I was put in an orphanage - near New York City - spent three and one half years there - ran away from the second orphanage I was put in - up state New York - lived with my Grandfather for three and one half years - stayed at times - with my Godfather - he was a member of the Black Hand - the Black Hand preceded the Mafia - started to drink as a little boy - could not read - spell - or write - for a long time - flunked two grades before the fourth grade - excelled in sports - drank more as a teenager - did graduate high school 1952 - at the bottom of the class - three years in the Marine Corps - started an acting career in New York - came to Hollywood 1959 - career going well - drinking also going well.
He has served over one million meals on the streets of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles and continues to this day to bring people together, with love through the vehicle of food, to people on the frays of mainstream society.
- "Raymond Castellani bio". Frontline Foundation. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- "Raymond Castellani's acting career". Frontline Foundation. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- Raymond J. Castellani (2008). The End Was But A Beginning: A True Story. Dog Ear Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 1-59858-805-2.
- "The End Was But A Beginning: A True Story". Amazon. Retrieved November 28, 2011.