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Ray was born in Williams, Arizona. He began work at Warner Bros. Cartoons in 1937. Over the first two decades of his career, he was a junior animator who received no screen credit until Destination Earth in 1956. In 1958, he became a master animator in the Robert McKimson unit. Later, he transferred briefly to the Friz Freleng unit, then Chuck Jones unit, where he co-directed Adventures of the Road-Runner and several Bugs Bunny Show episodes. He followed Jones to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1963; there, he directed two Tom and Jerry compilation shorts, Matinee Mouse in 1966 and Shutter Bugged Cat in 1967.
His later credits include animation on Pink Panther shorts, Bakshi’s Heavy Traffic and Coonskin, Chuck Jones TV Specials, numerous Filmation and Hanna Barbera series, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. Ray directed many episodes of various series including the Sunbow Productions animated series based on Hasbro properties and including he did the director for the most episodes of Bobby's World and Garfield and Friends.
After his retirement from the Los Angeles animation business in 1998, Ray founded his own animation studio, Tomstone Animation, first located in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Ray moved his studio to Virginia Beach, Virginia just before he died in Virginia on April 6, 2010 aged 90.
Ray's wife, Brenda Ellen Ray, continues to live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ray's son, Thomas G. "Greg" Ray, and daughter, Donna Mouliot, followed him into the animation business.
- "Director, Tom & Jerry animator Tom Ray dead at 90". The Big Cartoon Forum. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
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