Ronald Graham (actor)

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Ronald Graham
Maurice John Ronald Graham

(1911-08-16)August 16, 1911
Hamilton, Scotland, United Kingdom
DiedJuly 4, 1950(1950-07-04) (aged 38)
New York City, New York, United States
EducationUniversity of California
  • Vaudevillian performer
  • musical theatre actor
  • singer
  • film actor
  • radio personality
Years active1931–1950
SpouseFlorence Sundstrom

Ronald Graham (August 16, 1911 – July 4, 1950[1]) was a Scottish born actor and singer who had a career performing in American radio, film, and theater from the early 1930s until his death in 1950. After winning a national singing competition, he became a regular performer on the radio program Blue Monday Jamboree from 1931 to 1935. He is best remembered for his many appearances in Broadway musicals from 1937 to 1944; notably creating roles in the original productions of works by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter, and Arthur Schwartz.

Life and career[edit]

Born Maurice John Ronald Graham[2] in Hamilton, Scotland, Graham moved to the United States with his family at the age of 10.[1][3] He was educated at the University of California where he was trained as a baritone, and was a member of the theatrical group The Players.[1] In 1931 he married Edna O'Keefe; they divorced in 1939.[3][4]

Graham began his career in 1931 as a singer on radio in San Francisco after winning the Atwater Kent Prize, a national singing competition.[1] He was a regular performer on the radio program Blue Monday Jamboree.[5] In 1933 he appeared in vaudeville productions at the Golden Gate Theatre.[6] He made his film debut in 1935 as Ronald in Old Man Rhythm. His other film credits include a featured singer in To Beat the Band (1935) and Dr. Hugh Mayberry in Ladies of Washington (1944).[1]

Graham made his Broadway debut in 1937 as Colonel Richard Fairfax in Arthur Schwartz's Virginia.[7] He appeared regularly in Broadway over the next decade, starring in Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's The Boys from Syracuse (1938–1939, as Antipholus of Ephesus), Cole Porter's Du Barry Was a Lady (1939–1940, as Alex Barton), Rodgers and Hart's By Jupiter (1942–1943, as Theseus), and Clay Warnick's Dream With Music (1944).[1] His other theatre performances included a portrayal of Gaylord Ravenal in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat with The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis in 1938.[8] During World War II, he volunteered his talents at the American Theatre Wing's Stage Door Canteen to entertain American troops.[9]

In 1944 Graham replaced Alfred Drake as the host of the CBS Radio program Broadway Matinee.[10] In the late 1940s he was active in regional theatre, and appeared in variety programs on American television and radio.[1]

He married the actress Florence Sundstrom on December 20, 1940.[11] He died in New York City on July 4, 1950, one week after a heart attack.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Obituaries: Ronald Graham". Variety. Vol. 179, no. 5. July 12, 1950. p. 55.
  2. ^ "Judging Atwater Kent Auditions". Pacific Coast Music Review. Vol. 56, no. 16. San Francisco. September 30, 1931. pp. 3–4.
  3. ^ a b "Legitimate: Ronald Graham Divorced". Variety. Vol. 133, no. 6. January 18, 1939. p. 49.
  4. ^ Power, Ralph L. (November 1934). "On the Pacific Airwaves". Radio Mirror. pp. 42–43.
  5. ^ Bock (August 29, 1933). "Pictures: Variety House Reviews – RKO GOLDEN GATE". Variety. Vol. 111, no. 12. p. 37.
  6. ^ "Vaudeville: Unique Bill at Golden Gate Gives Patrons Real". Billboard. Vol. 45, no. 35. September 2, 1933. p. 7.
  7. ^ Atkinson, Brooks (September 3, 1937). "The Play: Virginia Opens the Season with a Large Musical Drama at the Center Theatre Theatre Units' Plays Tonight". The New York Times. p. 13.
  8. ^ "Legitimate: St. Loo's 'Show Boat'". Variety. Vol. 131, no. 6. July 20, 1938. p. 49.
  9. ^ "American Theatre Wing". Billboard. Vol. 56, no. 6. February 5, 1944. p. 5.
  10. ^ "Radio: Ronald Graham From 'Dream' to 'Matinee'". Variety. Vol. 154, no. 13. June 7, 1944. p. 32.
  11. ^ Rigdon, Walter, ed. (1966). The Biographical Encyclopaedia & Who's Who of the American Theatre. New York: James H. Heineman. pp. 857–858.

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