George Raft – photos and quotes

Posted on Posted in Celebrity Portraits, Male Stars

“You know, I haven’t got the pose to walk into an executive office and say ‘no’ in a dozen pretty ways like a lot of people. I’ve got to get it over with. I’ve got to blurt right out and say I don’t like it and I refuse to do it. That’s why they think I am tough.”George Raft

Source: Jeannette Meehan (1938)

 

"I had no education. I fought in the streets so I became a fighter. I played baseball, so I became a ballplayer. I saw some people dancing in a nightclub, so I became a dancer." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I had no education. I fought in the streets so I became a fighter. I played baseball, so I became a ballplayer. I saw some people dancing in a nightclub, so I became a dancer.”George Raft

Source: Dick Adler (1967)

Photo: 1930s

 

“I wasn’t the world’s best dancer but I was the quickest.”George Raft

Source: Sheilah Graham (1951)

Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)

 

 

“I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get anywhere in this racket.  When we made ‘Scarface’ I happened to snap my fingers in a way I have when I’m nervous. The director saw me and put a buffalo nickel between my fingers and told me to flip that! I did! It was easy. I’ve always been flipping something. When they saw the stunt in the projection room they wrote my part bigger and gave me more to do. I was made in Hollywood on the flip of a coin! Everything else that matters in life is about as trivial as that!”George Raft

Source: Edith Dietz (1934)

Photo: Scarface (1932)

 

Ann Dvorak George Raft ScarfaceAnn Dvorak‘s pre-Code dance in front of Raft was a highlight in Howard Hawk’s Scarface: the Shame of a Nation (1932). Here is the story behind the classic scene:

Dvorak, a dancer who had appeared as a chorus girl in a few films, attended a Hollywood party at Howard Hawks’ home. Raft, who had just been cast in a supporting role in Scarface, was also in attendance, but looking ill-at-ease. 

I’ll let Hawks tell the rest of the story:

Ann was attracted to George, who looked magnificent in his evening clothes. George was just sitting there, minding his own business. He doesn’t drink, and he didn’t look as if he was having a good time.

Ann asked him to dance with her but he said he’d rather not. She was a little high and right in front of him starts to do this sexy undulating dance, sort of trying to lure him on to dance with her. She was a knock-out. She wore a black silk gown almost cut down to her hips. I’m sure that was all she had on. After a while, George couldn’t resist her suggestive dance and in no time they were doing a sensational number which stopped the party.” — Howard Hawks

Dvorak‘s dance was so memorable that the next day, Hawks cast her as Paul Muni‘s sister in Scarface, and later, her dance in front of Raft was recreated for the movie. Another source claims that Joan Crawford had introduced Dvorak earlier to Howard Hughes, which could explain why she was at Howard Hawks’ party.

 

 

"That was the best picture where I got my best tip on acting. Paul Muni told me never to let anyone change my type. I never have." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“That was the best picture where I got my best tip on acting. Paul Muni told me never to let anyone change my type. I never have.”George Raft

Source: H.H. Niemeyer (1932)

Photo: Scarface (1932). With Paul Muni.

 

“I didn’t want to do that. It looked dumb on the set. I thought the audience would groan and say, ‘here comes that mug with the four bits!’ But I guess Hawks knew his business.”George Raft

Source: John C. Moffitt (1932)

 

"My movie hoodlums were always well-dressed, soft-spoken and underplayed. Some of my my critics say that limited me as an actor - but I patterned these characters on people I really knew. The top gangsters were as quiet and efficient as bank presidents. The only loudmouths I remember were Dutch Schultz and Larry Fay." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“My movie hoodlums were always well-dressed, soft-spoken and underplayed. Some of my my critics say that limited me as an actor – but I patterned these characters on people I really knew. The top gangsters were as quiet and efficient as bank presidents. The only loudmouths I remember were Dutch Schultz and Larry Fay.”George Raft

Photo: Scarface (1932). With Paul Muni.

 

"Do I look like a gangster? Do I now, honest? You know it's no compliment to an Italian to tell him he looks like one of these mugs that go around shootin' babies. I always try to dress nice and be polite and nice. I don't want to be like these gangsters. Then what happens? I come in here, perfectly quiet and respectable, and everybody starts tellin' me how much I look like a gangster! I got sore at first. Who wouldn't?" -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“Do I look like a gangster? Do I now, honest? You know it’s no compliment to an Italian to tell him he looks like one of these mugs that go around shootin’ babies. I always try to dress nice and be polite and nice. I don’t want to be like these gangsters. Then what happens? I come in here, perfectly quiet and respectable, and everybody starts tellin’ me how much I look like a gangster! I got sore at first. Who wouldn’t?”George Raft

Source: John C. Moffitt (1932)

 

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George Raft and Constance Cummings in "Night After Night" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

 

Art Prints

 

George Raft in "If I Had a Million" (1932). Bizarre Los Angeles

“When he’s angry he can cuss with the best of them. In a free-for-all fight he’s pretty nifty with his fists. He sleeps in the raw and tosses about in bed. Before going to bed he carefully combs his hair. He wants to look his best at all times. And this tough guy sprays himself with sweet smelling perfumes.”

Source: Sidney Skolsky (1932)

Photo: If I Had a Million (1932)

 

George Raft

“It began with my first picture. The second I saw myself, I said, ‘Is that me! Holy — ! I frighten babies.’ I ran right out of the studio.”George Raft

Source: Earl Wilson (1944)

 

George Raft in semi-profile. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

"I like it out here now and I guess I'll stay." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I like it out here now and I guess I’ll stay.”George Raft

Source: John C. Moffitt (1932)

 

"I'm not afraid to flop at anything and fame doesn't scare me, either." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I’m not afraid to flop at anything and fame doesn’t scare me, either.”George Raft

Source: H.H. Niemeyer (1932)

 

"I can't go on the screen wearing a $40 suit. I have to be wearing the latest and the best, and that costs money." -- George Raft in 1933 (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I can’t go on the screen wearing a $40 suit. I have to be wearing the latest and the best, and that costs money.”George Raft

Source: 1933

 

George Raft candid 1933

“I was afraid. I was afraid that people might discover that George Raft was mysterious and stayed away from Hollywood parties only because he was ignorant and could barely write his own name. Ridicule was and is a popular Hollywood weapon, and I thought that alongside me anyone with a high school diploma would sound like Professor Einstein himself.”George Raft

Raft at his Malibu beach house, circa 1933.

 

"I got it [gonorrhea] from either from Gary Cooper or George Raft… do you think I’ve learned my lesson now?” -- Tallula Bankhead (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I got it [gonorrhea] from either from Gary Cooper or George Raft… do you think I’ve learned my lesson now?”Tallula Bankhead

 

 “I always played the guy with the gun, or something like that." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 “I always played the guy with the gun, or something like that.”George Raft

Photo: Midnight Club (1933)

 

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Picture Show Magazine, featuring "Midnight Club" with George Raft and Helen Vinson. Bizarre Los Angeles.

Picture Show Magazine, Feb. 1934. With Helen Vinson.

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“Nattiness. George makes me think of ‘natty,’ a word long since gone out of style.”Joan Blondell

Source: Donald Freeman (1968)

 

 

"I don't claim to be an actor. I just do my best. If they like it, okay. If they don't, that's that." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles) Bizarre Los Angeles

“I don’t claim to be an actor. I just do my best. If they like it, okay. If they don’t, that’s that.”George Raft

Source: 1933

Photo: The Bowery (1933)

 

"The Bowery" with George Raft Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery (Bizarre Los Angeles)

The Bowery with co-stars Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery.

 

George Raft and Jackie Cooper from "The Bowery" (1933)

The Bowery (1933). With Jackie Cooper, who later described Raft as being “warm and friendly.”

 

 

George Raft in "The Bowery" (1933)

The Bowery (1933)

 

All of Me (1934)

All of Me (1934). With Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins and Helen Mack.

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Mrs. George Raft Asks $1,200 Weekly Alimony

New York – AP – March 27, 1934 – George Raft, screen star, was called “cruel and inhuman” by his wife today in a separation suit in which she asked $25,000 counsel fees and $1,200 a week alimony.

Raft’s cruelty, she said, consisted of “constantly associating in public with other women.” She married Raft in 1923, the affidavit states, when he was a comparatively obscure vaudeville performer. His present income is reputed to be in the neighborhood of $300,000 a year.

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

George raft Carole Lombard Dance Lesson

 

Dance lesson with George Raft and Carole Lombard. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

Gloria Swanson, George Raft and Carole Lombard on the set of "Bolero" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

Gloria Swanson, George Raft and Carole Lombard on the set of "Bolero" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

With Gloria Swanson and Carole Lombard on the set of Bolero (1934).

 

Bolero Carole Lombard George Raft

“One day I found out Carole wasn’t a natural blonde. We’re sitting and chatting in her dressing room, and as we’re talking she starts undressing. She had one of the sexiest, most sensational figures I’ve ever seen in my life.

“I didn’t know what the hell to do after she undressed. She’s talking away and mixing peroxide and some other liquid in a bowl. Still talking casually, with a piece of cotton she begins to apply the liquid to dye the hair around her honeypot.

She glanced up, saw my amazed look, and smiled, ‘Relax, Georgie, I’m just making my collar and cuffs match.” — George Raft

Source: George Raft by Lewis Yablonsky, 1974.
Photo: Bolero (1934)

 

 

"I don't know what to say half the time. I get in trouble every time I make a personal appearance. And yet I try to be a right guy." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I don’t know what to say half the time. I get in trouble every time I make a personal appearance. And yet I try to be a right guy.”George Raft

Source: Marjory Adams (1934)

Photo: 1934

 

"People are always telling me to save my money. Well, I save a little, but I spend more. I'm not afraid of life and I'm not afraid of Hollywood. What the - excuse me - I earned my living before I ever went into pictures and I can earn it again. I like to make my friends happy. I don't squander money, but I don't squeeze it either." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“People are always telling me to save my money. Well, I save a little, but I spend more. I’m not afraid of life and I’m not afraid of Hollywood. What the – excuse me – I earned my living before I ever went into pictures and I can earn it again. I like to make my friends happy. I don’t squander money, but I don’t squeeze it either.”George Raft

Source: Edith Dietz (1934)

Photo: 1934

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“Don’t try to crash the studio gates with wild tales that you a relative of some star or executive. Studio gatement are notoriously hard-boiled about such things. And don’t try to think up freak stunts to get get onto the lots. They don’t work.”George Raft

 

George Raft and Frances Drake in "The Trumpet Blows" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

“As far as women are concerned, they’re my private life.”George Raft

Source: 1934

Photo: The Trumpet Blows (1934). With Frances Drake.

 

 

George Raft in "The Trumpet Blows" (1934) Bizarre Los Angeles

“Anybody else who tried to be a Valentino is licked before he starts, He puts himself in the imitator class, and imitators are second raters. That’s why I don’t want to play in a talkie version of ‘Blood and Sand.’ No matter what I did people’d say, ‘Well, he ain’t Valentino,’ and they’d be right.”George Raft

Source: John C. Moffitt (1932)

Photo: The Trumpet Blows (1934)

"If they want me in a new bullfight picture, that's okay, but I don't want to beat the record of something that was perfect. I don't want set-ups, but I don't want to be licked before I start." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“If they want me in a new bullfight picture, that’s okay, but I don’t want to beat the record of something that was perfect. I don’t want set-ups, but I don’t want to be licked before I start.”George Raft

Source: John C. Moffitt (1932)

 

George Raft and Aldolphe Menjou in "The Trumpet Blows" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

The Trumpet Blows (1934). With Adolphe Menjou.

 

George Raft Limehouse Blues candid

“I can’t act. I simply must be myself, do the things that seem natural to me. When I get with a director who wants me to act, I’ll be lost.”George Raft

Source: Charles Grayson (1932)
Photo: Limehouse Blues (1934)

 

George Raft in "Limehouse Blues" (1934)

“The press has always been nice to me, and I’ve always been nice to the press. If I was lousy in a role they had a right to give me a bad review. But at times I wondered why it was always the actor who took the rap. Why didn’t the critics blame the script or the director?”George Raft

 

George Raft and Jean Parker in "Limehouse Blues" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

Jean Parker and George Raft in "Limehouse Blues" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

Limehouse Blues (1934). With Jean Parker.

 

George Raft and Anna May Wong in Limehouse Blues (19334). Bizarre Los Angeles

Limehouse Blues (1934). With Anna May Wong.

 

 

Jean Parker, George Raft and Anna May Wong in "Limehouse Blues" (1934). Bizarre Los Angeles

With Jean Parker and Anna May Wong.

 

Art Prints

 

 

 

George Raft and Carole Lombard on the cover of "Screen Pictorial" in 1935. Bizarre Los Angeles.

Sharing the cover of Screen Pictorial with Carole Lombard  in 1935.

 

Carole Lombard and George Raft in "Rumba" (1935). Bizarre Los Angeles

“What was the sense in it? I had nothing to offer her. By then I had signed over ten percent of my earnings to Grayce, and she refused to divorce me. I was trapped. Regardless of my personal feelings, I was happy for her when she married Clark Gable.”George Raft

Rumba (1935). With Carole Lombard.

 

Carole Lombard and George Raft in "Rumba" (1935). Bizarre Los Angeles

George Raft is Off Payroll in Fight

Fred MacMurray May be Given Post

HOLLYWOOD, Feb. 12, 1936 – (U.P.) – Paramount Studio today prepared to replace George Raft in a picture he was scheduled to make with Carole Lombard as the sleek actor refused to work until another cameraman had been assigned to photograph the picture.

Raft objected to assignment of Teddy Tetzlaff as cameraman on “Concertina” because he believed Tetzlaff gave Miss Lombard all the breaks while photographing their co-starring features.

The quarrel between Raft and Tetzlaff reached a climax during filming of “Rhumba,” and the actor vowed he would not appear in another picture unless some other cameraman were assigned.

Paramount officials ordered Raft to work with Tetzlaff or face suspension from the payroll. The actor accepted the challenge, and did not appear at the studio yesterday, going to the horse races instead. The studio removed him from the payroll and reported Fred MacMurray would be given the Raft role if he did not return.

 

George Raft singing

“I always cooperated, but I never got as much as a handkerchief for all the posing I did. I did anything I was asked to do. I played any part they gave me. I realized I wasn’t an actor. I thought other people knew more about this business than I did, so I did what I was told.”George Raft

 

George Raft in "Every Night at Eight" (1935). Bizarre Los Angeles

Alice Faye and George Raft in "Every Night at Eight" (1935). Bizarre Los Angeles

George Raft‘s pals say he no longer appears at cafes, because Paramount made the suggestion…” — Hollywood Ticker Tape in 1935.

Photo: Every Night at Eight (1935). Co-stars Alice Faye.

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I’m not very smart. I’m not intelligent, either. You heard that guy from the Harvard paper that asked me what I thought of a college education. Say, I didn’t know what to answer him. I went to school only two years. I went to work when I was 14. I know I’m not much on intellect, and I don’t know what to say when other people talk to me.”George Raft

Source: Marjory Adams (1934)

 

George Raft is another actor who has been hauled into court three times on charges – mostly that he has struck people. Raft says most of these were by persons who deliberately started fights, hoping he would strike back.” — Mollie Merrick in 1935

 

George Raft in "Stolen Harmony" (1935)

Stolen Harmony (1935)

 

"Stolen Harmony" starring George Raft (1935)

“With George Raft, I had to use a different method of approach than I had used in the past. He is the star, but past experience had taught me the folly of letting the star dominate the film. So, I appealed to him by making him feel responsible for the film. I talked over everything with Raft, consulted him on all points, and so established the feeling of cooperation that he afterwards acceded to most of my requests.” — Alfred Werker, director of Stolen Harmony

Stolen Harmony (1935)

 

George Raft smiling

“I’ve been afraid to smile…You see, I used to dance with a girl who had a glorious smile. Her husband kept telling me I must not smile, that I looked funny when I did. So, with that ringing in my ears, for four years I never smiled while dancing. I just danced. When I came to pictures I was still afraid. I didn’t want to look funny.”George Raft

Source: Maude Cheatham (1934)

 

George Raft

“I may have played a lot of tough characters but I never accepted a picture in which I wasn’t the nice guy at the the finish. That’s why I still hold the suspension record at Paramount — 22 times off salary – because I refused to play out-and-out heels.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1959)

 

George Raft and Joan Bennett

She Couldn’t Take It (1935). With Joan Bennett.

 

Lloyd Nolan and George Raft in "She Couldn't Take It" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Lloyd Nolan gets socked by George Raft in "She Couldn't Take It" (1935). Bizarre Los Angeles

“He wasn’t a stage-trained actor. I remember he didn’t like a lot of dialogue and had trouble interpreting lines. George? Maybe a little insecure as an actor. But at the time I first worked with him he was probably the biggest star on the lot next to Cooper.” Lloyd Nolan

Source: George Raft: The Man Who Would be Bogart by Stone Wallace.

Photo: She Couldn’t Take It (1935). With Lloyd Nolan.

 

She Couldn’t Take It (1935). With Lloyd Nolan.

 

Photography Prints

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

 

"He's a white guy through and through. I don't know why he took the wrong road or why I didn't take one just as bad. Things just happen and sometimes a man is pushed into a way he never intended to take. Owney always seemed okay to me and I never saw the things in him I read about in the papers." -- George Raft on his crime boss friend Owney Madden. Bizarre Los Angeles

“He’s a white guy through and through. I don’t know why he took the wrong road or why I didn’t take one just as bad. Things just happen and sometimes a man is pushed into a way he never intended to take. Owney always seemed okay to me and I never saw the things in him I read about in the papers.”George Raft on his crime boss friend Owney Madden.

Source: James Arswell (1936)

 

Art Prints

 

George Raft at his penthouse at the El Royale in Los Angeles, circa 1936. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“Can you realize that this penthouse is the end of the rainbow for me? It represents the seemingly unattainable pot of gold. That is quite natural, I suppose, considering that I came up from the streets of New York. I heard about penthouses in those days; I dreamed about them and so, to me, a penthouse would be the symbol of success.”George Raft

Source: Harry T. Brundidge (1937)

Photo: Taken at his El Royale penthouse in 1936.

 

Dolores Costello and George Raft in "Yours for the Asking" (1936). Bizarre Los Angeles

“It’s an odd fact, but true, that fans think you, personally, are the same sort of guy that they see you interpret on the screen. That’s why I much prefer the sort of role I am doing now with Dolores Costello Barrymore in Yours for the Asking.  — George Raft

Source: Mollue Merrick (1936)

Photo: Yours for the Asking (1936)

 

George Raft and Dolores Costello in Yours for the Asking (1936). Bizarre Los Angeles

RAFT SAYS ‘NO’

Dolores Costello, on a set, was reading a Spanish newspaper. Its headlines proclaimed: Dolores Costello Amo El Romantissimo.

Dolores Costello loves romances,” murmured George Raft, translating, then turned to mutter, “She’s as cold as a Siberian icicle.”

Source: McNaught Syndicate (1936)

Photo: Yours for the Asking (1936)

 

Ida Lupino and George Raft in "Yours for the Asking" (1936). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I am playing the type of character that I’m suited for, and yet fans aren’t going to hate me on account of it. And that’s very important to me.”George Raft discussing his film Yours for the Asking.

Yours for the Asking (1936). With Ida Lupino.

 

Rosalind Russell and George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I don’t try to put ‘something’ into a line of dialogue. I try to find out the meaning of the line and the reason for it and then I speak it as I feel it. All I want people to say is that I give a characterization the feeling of reality.”George Raft

Photo: With Rosalind Russell in It Had to Happen (1936).

 

Art Prints

 

Rosalind Russell and George Raft in "It Had to Happen" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Photo: With Rosalind Russell in It Had to Happen (1936).

 

George Raft in 1937. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

“Changing Raft has really been a job. One of the first steps was to get more spontaneity into Raft‘s speeches. This we did by not allowing him to spend too much time studying his lines. All I wanted him to do was get the idea, and if he wanted to ad lib here and there, he could. On the set he became a new man – utterly without restraint, free and easy. He gives a grand perfomance in ‘Souls at Sea.'” — director Henry Hathaway in 1937

Photo: George Raft, Gary Cooper and Henry Hathaway on the set of Souls at Sea (1937).

 

"Souls was a helluva good adventure movie about the slavery days. My hair was marceled and I wore a ring in my ear - like some sailors did in those days." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)“Souls was a helluva good adventure movie about the slavery days. My hair was marceled and I wore a ring in my ear – like some sailors did in those days.” — George Raft

Source: George Raft by Lewis Yablonsky

Photo: Souls at Sea (1937)

 

“In one scene Coop and I are drinking rum together. Both of us were quiet actors. You know, we didn’t take a lot of dialogue. Mainly, we looked at each other. Finally, he said to me, ‘You know I love you.’ The script had ‘look at him, pause, and then say “I know I love you, too.'” The director yells, ‘Print!’ After we both stopped laughing, Coop jokingly told Hathaway, ‘You can’t put that in the movie. People are going to think Cooper and Raft are a couple of fags.’ I guess he figured we were right because he cut it.”George Raft

Source: George Raft by Lewis Yablonsky

Photo: Souls at Sea (1937). With Gary Cooper.

 

 

George Raft, Frances Dee and Gary Cooper on the set of "Souls at Sea" (1937). Bizarre Los Angeles.

With Frances Dee and Gary Cooper.

Photo: Souls at Sea (1937)

 

 

Olympe Bradna and George Raft in "Souls at Sea." Bizarre Los Angeles

With Olympe Bradna

"A guy can't be a heel all his life. Not all his screen life, anyway. You'd be surprised how deeply most of the fans feel about actors who are typed. If a guy is always a bad one, the public begins hating him and his fans fade away." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“A guy can’t be a heel all his life. Not all his screen life, anyway. You’d be surprised how deeply most of the fans feel about actors who are typed. If a guy is always a bad one, the public begins hating him and his fans fade away.”George Raft

Source: Paul Harrison (1937)

Photo: Souls at Sea (1937)

 

 

"I was really very pleased with the picture. That's the kind of role I have been begging for ever since I came to Hollywood. But you know how it is here." -- George Raft discussing "Souls at Sea" (1937). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I was really very pleased with the picture. That’s the kind of role I have been begging for ever since I came to Hollywood. But you know how it is here. The first part an actor portrays types him. After that, no matter what he can really do, the producers, directors and others in on the say think that that’s the only role he can carry.”George Raft

Source: Jackie Martin (1938)

Photo: Souls at Sea (1937)

 

A Photoshop assimilation.

“You take fellows like Colman and Cooper. They stick around this racket as long as they do because those fans see ’em die a hero’s death and do big brave things. They never play the scoundrel or the skunk. So now they’re talking about putting me in ‘Beau Geste.’ And I say if I’m in ‘Beau Geste’  I’m gonna be Beau – Beau or nothin.'”George Raft

 

 

"There's another little matter I may well tell you, now that I'm talking out of turn about myself. I get a terrific boot when people introduce me as 'Mr. Raft.' I'm never sure whether to laugh out loud or continue enjoying the little goose pimples that run up and down my spine when that happens. That's something I've got to make up my mind about." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“There’s another little matter I may as well tell you, now that I’m talking out of turn about myself. I get a terrific boot when people introduce me as ‘Mr. Raft.’ I’m never sure whether to laugh out loud or continue enjoying the little goose pimples that run up and down my spine when that happens. That’s something I’ve got to make up my mind about.”George Raft

Source: Harry T. Brundidge (1937)

 

George Raft James Cagney Baseball

At a celebrity baseball junket with James Cagney.

 

George Raft was one of several celebrities promoting Nunn-Bush shoes in 1938. According to shoemaker Emidio Spezza, he had small feet and wore size 7.5 B.  In this photo he is admiring the "Gotham." Bizarre Los Angeles.

Raft was one of several celebrities promoting Nunn-Bush shoes in 1938. According to shoemaker Emidio Spezza, he had small feet and wore size 7.5 B.  In this photo he is admiring the “Gotham.”

 

George Raft in "Spawn of the North" (1938). Bizarre Los Angeles.

“It’s a fighting philosophy and that’s what it should be. Don’t think you get anything for nothing in Hollywood because you don’t. Not even if you’re a star. You’ve got to keep fighting.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1938)

Photo: Spawn of the North (1938)

 

George Raft in "Spawn of the North" (1938)

“I fought for five years to prevent myself from being typed on the screen as a heel. Now at least I’m holding my own. In ‘Spawn of the North’ I play a sympathetic character and the audience is with me instead of against me.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1938)

Photo: Spawn of the North (1938)

 

Cecil b demille George Raft

Posing with Cecil B. DeMille and his wife, Constance Adams, at Los Angeles’ newly opened Union Station prior to DeMille’s departure on a nationwide promotional tour for his film, Union Pacific (1939).

 

The Lady's From Kentucky (1939). With George Raft and Ellen Drew. Bizarre Los Angeles.

“In ‘The Lady’s from Kentucky,’ there’s a horse named Roman Son, supposedly owned my Ellen Drew and myself. The horse’s real name in Mickey O’Boyle, and take it from me, he’s an amazing equine Charles Laughton. He has to be, in order to fill the role. That horse practically runs the gamut of emotions, so far as it’s possible for a horse, and it’s inevitable that he’ll steal a good many scenes from me. Alexander Hall, the director, tells me how he expected me to complain about the acting horse and his scene-stealing long ago. But as a matter of fact, I’m as grateful for that horse as I was for Slicker, the seal.”George Raft

Source: Fan-Fare (1939)

Photo: The Lady’s From Kentucky (1939). With Ellen Drew and Mickey O’Boyle.

 

George Raft says he is making more money on his winning horses than with movie work – which is plenty.” — Sheilah Graham in 1939.

 

 

"I don't mind playing that sort of part, but I won't ever again be an unfair killer and a louse and a heel. I've done too many of those." -- George Raft. Photo: "Each Dawn I Die" (1939). Bizarre Los Angeles.

“I don’t mind playing that sort of part, but I won’t ever again be an unfair killer and a louse and a heel. I’ve done too many of those.”George Raft

Source: John Stokes (1939)

Photo: Each Dawn I Die (1939)

 

 

"I worked in many roles as a gambler - but I'm not a gambler." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I worked in many roles as a gambler – but I’m not a gambler.”George Raft

Source: Howard Hertel (1967)

Photo: The House Across the Bay (1940)

 

Lloyd Nolan and George Raft in "The House Across the Bay" (1940). Bizarre Los Angeles

The House Across the bay (1940). With George Raft and Joan Bennett. Bizarre Los Angeles

The House Across the Bay (1940).

 

Art Prints

 

George Raft, Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart in "They Drive by Night" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

George Raft, Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart in They Drive by Night (1940).

 

Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan and George Raft in "They Drive by Night" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I could drive a car blindfolded. I learned how when I was helping to move booze, and the associate producer of the movie and my old pal, Mark Hellinger, must have known that when he assigned me to They Drive by Night. Some people say I got nothing from Owney Madden but a bad reputation – but the driving skills I acquired when I worked for him in New York years before undoubtedly saved my life and those of the people in the picture with me.

“In this scene, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, and I are highballing down a long hill in an old beat-up truck. Halfway down, the brakes really went out – a situation that wasn’t in the script. Bogart saw me press the pedal and when nothing happened, he began to curse. ‘We’re going to get killed!’ he yelled. Ann screamed and turned her eyes away from the road as I fought the wheel. I couldn’t have been more scared myself. The speedometer hit eighty when I saw a break on the right where a bulldozer had started a new road. I pulled hard on the wheel and the truck went bouncing up the embankment. Thank God – it finally stopped.

Ann was too upset to talk, but Bogart said, ‘Thanks, pal,’ with definite appreciation.

“‘Don’t thank me,’ I thought to myself, because I didn’t have the breath to answer. ‘Write a letter to Owney Madden or Feets Edson.'”George Raft

Source: George Raft by Lewis Yablonsky

 

Photography Prints

 

 

Photography Prints

Ann Sheridan and George Raft in "They Drive by Night." (Bizarre Los Angeles)

With Ann Sheridan  in They Drive by Night (1940).

 

High Sierra George Raft Ida Lupino
A Photoshop assimilation.

According to a couple of George Raft biographies, High Sierra (1941) was originally intended to be a Raft vehicle, designed to reunite him with Ida Lupino after the success of They Drive By Night.

However, Humphrey Bogart, who was lower in star ranking at Warner Bros. at the time, wanted the role and may have duped Raft into turning it down so that he could play the lead.

Prior to High Sierra, Bogart and Raft had been chummy. In fact, they had worked together in Invisible Stripes (1939) and They Drive By Night (1940). However, Bogart may have still felt the sting of being replaced by Raft in Each Dawn I Die (1939).

As the story goes, Bogart read the script for High Sierra and knew that it was very good. He also knew that Raft didn’t like to read, so he approached Raft and confidentially told him that it was a terrible script, that the dialogue was too wordy, and that having Raft play such a ruthless, unlikable gangster may typecast him permanently. Raft trusted his advice and turned down the part without reading the script. This infuriated Jack Warner, who then handed the part to Bogart. The film became a huge box-office success. Adding to Raft‘s humiliation, a few people at the studio had overheard Bogart boasting about how he had gotten the role. When word got back to Raft, he never spoke to him again and used his influence to kick Bogart off the film  Manpower (1941)

 

James Cagney George Raft cartoon

James Cagney and George Raft in an early animation cell from “Hollywood Steps Out,” a 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon that takes place inside a cartoon Ciro’s. Following the success of High Sierra (1941), animators added Humphrey Bogart.

 

 

 

George Raft, Marlene Dietrich and Edward G Robinson in "Manpower" (1941)

Manpower (1941). With George Raft, Marlene Dietrich and Edward G. Robinson. Bizarre Los Angeles Manpower (1941). With George Raft, Marlene Dietrich and Edward G. Robinson. Bizarre Los Angeles

“Cast as rivals for the affections of Marlene Dietrich in the Warner Brothers film ‘Manpower,’ Hollywood’s reigning gangsters were smitten with genuine jealousy.”Los Angeles Times in 1987

Photo: Manpower (1941). With George Raft, Marlene Dietrich and Edward G. Robinson

 

"Raft was touchy, difficult and thoroughly impossible to play with." -- Edward G. Robinson, in his posthumous autobiography. Bizarre Los Angeles

Raft was touchy, difficult and thoroughly impossible to play with.”Edward G. Robinson, in his posthumous autobiography.

Photo: Manpower (1941)

 

George Raft and Edward G Robinson in "Manpower" (1941). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I never thought Robinson was right for the role, which was written to be played by a big guy. I’m not sure why I got mad at Robinson. I resented his trying to put me down with advice, you know, how to handle lines and business. He made me madder and madder.”George Raft

 

George Raft and Marlene Dietrich in "Manpower." Bizarre Los Angeles

“I had top billing for the movie, but I was willing to co-star to get Marlene in the film. I was always nuts about her.”George Raft

 

George Raft Marlene Dietrich

George Raft is the gentlest man I ever knew – at least with girls.”Marlene Dietrich in 1941.

 

Raft was simply wonderful throughout the shooting…His unique lovable kindness belied his appearance and his tough roles.”Marlene Dietrich

Photo: Manpower (1941), With Marlene Dietrich.

 

Marlene Dietrich and George Raft in "Manpower." Bizarre Los Angeles

Photo: Manpower (1941), With Marlene Dietrich.

 

 

 

Art Prints

“His eyes were tight shut when he hit me, and Mack Grey (Raft’s bodyguard and close friend) tells me George was almost in tears.”Marlene Dietrich talking about the hard slaps she took while making Manpower (1941).

According to biographer Stone Wallace: George wasn’t comfortable hitting a woman, but Miss Dietrich assured him it was all right. When George let loose with his slap, he connected so hard that she tumbled down the stairwell and broke her ankle. The shot remained in the movie.” (Source: George Raft: The Man Who Would Be Bogart).

The next morning, Raft made sure that Dietrich‘s dressing room was filled with roses.

Sell Art Online

 

 

"I've been getting a lot of letters from people who want to put on shows for the servicemen. So I'm going to try to start something and need some help and advice. What do you think of the idea of getting a group of boxers and wrestlers together and - well, I'll foot the bills if we can get a show to the boys in some camp in California every Monday night." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)“I’ve been getting a lot of letters from people who want to put on shows for the servicemen. So I’m going to try to start something and need some help and advice. What do you think of the idea of getting a group of boxers and wrestlers together and – well, I’ll foot the bills if we can get a show to the boys in some camp in California every Monday night.”George Raft

 

George Raft and Janet Blair in "Broadway" (1942)

Janet Blair and George Raft in "Broadway" Bizarre Los Angeles

Broadway (1942). With Janet Blair.

 

Photography Prints

 

Art Prints

 

Movie Life with Betty Grable and George Raft, c. 1942. Bizarre Los Angeles

“I would have married George a week after I met him.I was so deeply in love with him. But when you wait two-and-a-half years, there doesn’t seem a future in a romance with a married man.”Betty Grable

Source: Louella Parsons (1943)

Photo: 1942

 

Vera Zorina and George Raft in "Follow the Boys" (1944)

“He was so icky.” Vera Zorina

Source: George Raft: The Man Who Would Be Bogart by Stone Wallace

Photo: Follow the Boys (1944). With Vera Zorina.

 

Photography Prints

 

George Raft in "Nob Hill" (1945)

“I’m not in this business to make all the money in the world, but to make pictures I think are good. Anything I do I like. Some day I’d like to win an Academy Award.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1945)

Photo: Nob Hill (1945)

 

 

"I'm not in this business to make all the money in the world, but to make pictures I think are good. Anything I do I like." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I’m not in this business to make all the money in the world, but to make pictures I think are good. Anything I do I like.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1945)

Photo: Johnny Angel (1945). With Claire Trevor

 

 

Because he insists on good scripts and good directors, George Raft often has been called “difficult.” He’s still burning over stories that he turned down such films as “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca.”

“I didn’t refuse to do these pictures,” he said. “But I did turn down a lot of others at Warner Bros. that turned out to be awful B’s.” 

Source: Erskine Johnson (1945)

Photo: Johnny Angel (1945)

 

"Johnny Angel" with George Raft and Claire Trevor. Bizarre Los Angeles

Johnny Angel (1945). With Claire Trevor.

 

George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

George Raft has increased his asking price per picture from $100,000 to $125,000.” — Jimmie Fidler in 1946

 

George Raft and Sylvia Sidney in "Mr. Ace" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

Art Prints

 

George Raft in Nocturne (1946). Bizarre Los Angeles

$300,000 Assault Suit Is ‘Silly,’ George Raft Says

December 14, 1946

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Actor George Raft says a $300,000 suit alleging assault and obstruction of justice, filed by Edward Raiden, 50, Hollywood attorney, is “silly and ridiculous.”

A girl in the case, Miss Betty Doss, 19, aspiring film actress, told reporters she had never retained Raiden as her attorney; knew nothing of his claim that he was beaten in her behalf; is still a “very good friend” of Raft.

In the complaint filed yesterday, naming Raft, bodyguard Mack Gray, the latter’s brother, Joe, and Agent Ben Platt as defendants, Raiden made these allegations:

That Miss Doss retained him to recover $6,000 worth of gifts Raft had given her, then taken back by “trick and device.”

That he met Raft a year ago at Miss Doss’ apartment; that while talking to the actor Joe Gray entered and pinioned Raiden’s arms; that Raft “assaulted and battered” the lawyer about the face, eyes, nose, neck, arms, hand and body with his fists, “then kicked plaintiff in the groin and stomach with his knee.”

That Platt and Mack Gray previously threatened him.

He wants $50,000 for personal injuries, the rest for obstruction.

Miss Doss showed newsmen a gold charm bracelet which she said was the only gift she ever received from Raft.

Raft said he was consulting his attorney, Lloyd Wright. Wright made no comment.

 

 

George Raft Benjamin Siegel
(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

“Over the years I had many business deals with Benny Siegel. Once I lent him $20,000 to buy shares in the gambling ship ‘Rex,’ anchored offshore in Santa Monica Bay, and he returned the money two weeks later.

“Another time, at his request, I met him on a street corner on Sunset Blvd. and gave him $100,000 in cash – a loan made without a note or interest. I don’t know why he wanted the money, and I didn’t ask. I gave it to him in cash, because I didn’t want any notes or other documents that might connect me with his not always legal enterprises.

“It certainly never occurred to me then that the police authorities in the Los Angeles area were slowly compiling a file on my association with Siegel, and that it could be very damaging to me.

“Two or three days after I attended the opening of Benny‘s Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Benny drove to Beverly Hills and stopped by my house. He was sulking because so few Hollywood celebrities showed up for opening night.

“‘You look terrible,’ I said. ‘Get sun and some sleep.’

“‘That’s why I’m here,’ he said. ‘Why don’t you have dinner with me at Jack’s Restaurant tonight?’

“It was the first time in our long friendship he had asked me to have dinner with him alone, and he must have had something serious in mind. But I had another engagement and had to decline.

“‘Okay, Georgie,’ he said. ‘I’m going to be at Virginia Hill’s house later on, so why don’t you come by when you’ve finished your business? She’s in Europe, and we can talk there without interruptions.’

“I said I would. But I was delayed and didn’t get to Virginia’s house. I’m a fatalist, and I guess it wasn’t my time to go. Benny was sitting on the divan in the living room that June evening in 1947, and a killer blew his head off with nine shots from a carbine.

“The men from the district attorney’s office were ringing my doorbell, of course, even while newspaper trucks were rushing extras all over town.

“‘What do you know, Georgie?’ they asked.

“‘I don’t know anything,’ I said. ‘But I can tell you this: When they shot Benny they shot me.’ They say you can’t take it with you, but Benny did. My $100,000, I mean.” — George Raft

Source: “The Years Unwind – – The Memory Is a Scrapbook” 1958

 

June Havoc and George Raft in "Intrigue" (1947). Bizarre Los Angeles.

Intrigue (1947). With June Havoc.

 

George Raft Behind the Scenes "Intrigue" (1947)

 

Art Prints

 

George Raft in "Christmas Eve"

“I’m an actor, not a mobster.”George Raft was said to have told police in 1947 when questioned about his financial ties to Benny “Bugsy” Siegel.

Photo: Christmas Eve (1947).

 

Dolores Moran and George Raft in "Christmas Eve" (1947). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I’m no Barrymore.”George Raft

Source: Armand Archer (1947)

Photo: Christmas Eve (1947). With Dolores Moran.

 

Bizarre Los Angeles Store: George Raft Lighting Up Mug

 

George Raft and Marie Windsor "Outpost to Morocco" (1949)

Outpost to Morocco (1949). With Marie Windsor.

 

Akim Tamiroff and George Raft in "Outpost in Morocco" Bizarre Los Angeles

Outpost in Morocco (1949). With Akim Tamiroff

 

“I help everybody but myself. Everybody else gets a break but me. Maybe I’m not any good.”George Raft

Source: Gene Handsaker (1949)

Photo: Johnny Allegro (1949)

 

Johnny Allegro - Nina Foch and George Raft

 

 

 

Nina Foch and George Raft in "Johnny Allegro" (1949). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I have plenty of jobs offered me. But I’m like you – you like to get a big assignment, don’t you?”George Raft

Source: Gene Handsaker (1949)

Photo: Johnny Allegro (1949). With Nina Foch.

 

 

George Macready, Nina Foch and George Raft in "Johnny Apollo" Bizarre Los Angeles

 

 

Sell Art Online

 

"A Dangerous Profession" (1949), starring George Raft, Ella Raines and Pat O'Brien. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

A Dangerous Profession (1949). With Ella Raines and Pat O’Brien.

 

Photography Prints

 

George Raft in "A Dangerous Profession" (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

George Raft in "Red Light" (1949). Bizarre Los Angeles

George Raft Linked With Cohen Gang

August 23, 1949

Excerpt:

Pertinent excerpts from a transcript dated Mar. 20, 1948, indicate that Mickey, and some of his henchmen were on friendly terms with George Raft at whose home they visited and dined.

In fact, the transcript indicated that when Mickey visited Raft, he just stayed and stayed. The excerpt follows:

“11:25 p.m. – Lavon (Mickey’s wife, Lavonne) told Willa (unidentified) that Mickey, Neddie (Edward Herbert, slain in the July 20 Sunset Strip ambush in which Mickey and two others were wounded) and a couple of other fellows were out at George Raft‘s last night. They had a grand dinner and the boys enjoyed themselves very much. She told Willa that they really have a grand time when they go out there and they think nothing of staying up all night. ‘I never knew when to expect him in when he goes out there.'”

Photo: Red Light (1949)

 

Red Light, 1949, Barton MacLane /George RaftRed Light (1949)

 

"Red Light" with George Raft and Virginia Mayo (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

George Raft in "Red Light" (1941)

“What puts Raft over except for his rememblance to Valentino? When I watched Raft dance years ago, I said, ‘Why doesn’t he capitalize on his resemblance to Valentino?’ … And now that’s his only claim to fame. He stinks as an actor. I’ll tell him so to his face.” — Rudy Vallee

Source: Earl Wilson (1949)

 

Photography Prints

 

George Raft and Coleen Gray in "Lucky Nick Cain"

 

"Lucky Nick Cain" with George Raft. Bizarre Los Angeles

Photography Prints

 

"My life is an open book. I'm still married. But I haven't seen my wife for more than 20 years, although I'm still paying her. I wouldn't mind the payments if I could see where they were going to - if I could see a face. Or have a few minutes with a woman I have paid money to for so long. If she were in love with me, it would be different. But she can't be." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“My life is an open book. I’m still married. But I haven’t seen my wife for more than 20 years, although I’m still paying her. I wouldn’t mind the payments if I could see where they were going to – if I could see a face. Or have a few minutes with a woman I have paid money to for so long. If she were in love with me, it would be different. But she can’t be.”George Raft

Source: Sheilah Graham (1951)

 

Photography Prints

 

"I know that I said I was retiring. I wanted to. I don't know what pursuaded me to make more pictures. I didn't want to." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I know that I said I was retiring. I wanted to. I don’t know what pursuaded me to make more pictures. I didn’t want to.”George Raft 

Photo:  Loan Shark  (1952)

 

"I dunno. The thing's disgraceful. I doubt if they ever get it put together. Making pictures in Europe for an independent is definitely not like working in the United States." -- George Raft (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“I dunno. The thing’s disgraceful. I doubt if they ever get it put together. Making pictures in Europe for an independent is definitely not like working in the United States.”George Raft

Source: 1954

Photo: The Man From Cairo (1953)

 

Photography Prints

 

 

George Raft, Gene Tierney and Van Heflin in "Black Widow" (1954)

Black Widow (1954). Also with Gene Tierney and Van Heflin.

 

Black Widow (1954). With Van Heflin, Ginger Rogers, George Raft and Reginald Gardiner.

 

Black Widow - George Raft - Gene Tierney - Ginger Rogers - Van Heflin - Reginald Gardiner (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“Funny thing about Hollywood, but unlike other people we have to sandwich our liesure time between known and hoped-for assignments. When I finished my last picture, Black Widow, I asked the other principals what their liesure time plans were. Gene Tierney said she was going to her family home in Connecticut with her daughter, Tina. Ginger Rogers and her husband, Jacques Bergerac, left for an Oregon ranch. Van Heflin told me he and his wife, Frances, were ‘getting away from it all’ on a trip to Hawaii. And they all left very soon after the picture was completed, because in the acting profession you never know. Tomorrow we may be traveling to Europe, Asia, Africa or Broadway for a new picture. Me? I’ll take the ponies and the ring right here at home.”George Raft (more than likely a publicist) in 1954.

Photo: Black Widow (1954). With Van Heflin, Ginger Rogers and Reginald Gardiner.

 

“His range was limited. He always played George Raft. but that character - there was no other like it - always evoked a sympathetic response and identification from a mass audience.” – Edward G. Robinson (Bizarre Los Angeles)

“His range was limited. He always played George Raft. but that character – there was no other like it – always evoked a sympathetic response and identification from a mass audience.”Edward G. Robinson

Source: Lewis Yablonsky, George Raft (1974)

Photo: A Bullet for Joey (1955)

 

 

Guy Madison, George Raft and Virginia Mayo in "Jet Over the Atlantic" (1959) Bizarre Los Angeles

“I’ll admit that I was never really a good actor – but I was never that bad.”George Raft

Source: Erskine Johnson (1959)

Photo: Jet Over the Atlantic (1959). With Guy Madison and Virginia Mayo.

 

Jet Over the Atlantic (1959). With Guy Madison, Virginia Mayo and George Raft. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

 

 

 

George Raft in "The Upper Hand" (1965). Bizarre Los Angeles

“I’ve never been locked up in my life. All I’ve had is income tax evasion, and I guess about everybody has that.”George Raft

Source: Phil Casey (1970)

Photo: The Upper Hand (1965)

 

George Raft in The Upper Hand (1965). Bizarre Los Angeles

The Upper Hand (1965)

 

George Raft

“I live the life of a hermit. If, as some of them say, the FBI is really watching me all the time, those guys must be leading an awful dull life.”George Raft

Source: Dick Adler (1967)

 

"I can see someday in the future the newspaper headlines saying, 'George Raft dies.' And I can hear people's voices saying, 'Yeah? Who cares?'" -- George Raft

“I can see someday in the future the newspaper headlines saying, ‘George Raft dies.’ And I can hear people’s voices saying, ‘Yeah? Who cares?'”George Raft

 

“I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.”George Raft

 

George Raft and Ida Lupino in Deadhead Miles (1972)

Ida Lupino, George Raft and Alan Arkin on the set of Deadhead Miles (1972)

 

“There would been no trouble at all, see, if this mug Peter hadn’t been messing around in the wolf’s territory where he didn’t belong in the first place…the wolf was framed.” — excerpt of George Raft‘s narration of “Peter and the Wolf” in 1972.

 

 

George Raft painting

Artist: Nicholas Volpe. Pastel. 16″ x 20.” The portrait used to hang inside the Beverly Hills Friars Club when the building was still around. It sold for $1,075.50 in 2008.

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