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Johnnie Ray
(January 10, 1927 - February 24, 1990) U.S.A.

Johnnie Ray

Singer

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Johnnie Ray was born in The Dalles, Oregon. His name is spelled Johnnie, not Johnny, and it's said that he became enraged if anyone misspelled it.

He became partially deaf after an accident, and wore a hearing aid starting at age 14. With the help of Al Green, he signed a record contract in 1951, and Cry was a major hit that year, remaining at number one for eleven weeks. Cry was later revived by Ray Charles, and influenced many singers including Elvis.

In 1951, before he gained any real fame, Ray was arrested for soliciting an undercover vice squad officer; as was customary, he avoided a public trial by pleading guilty and paying a fine.

He was married to a Marilyn Morrison from '52 to '54, when they were divorced. In 1954, he appeared in the Irving Berlin film, There's No Business Like Show Business. Though his popularity faded in the U.S. in the late 50's, partly due to his open bisexuality, it continued in the UK.

Johnnie Ray

In 1959, Ray was again arrested for solicitation, though he took the second charge to trial and was found not guilty. In his later years, Ray maintained friendships with gay icons including Judy Garland and Charles Pierce, and Ray was friendly with members of the Los Angeles gay activist community.

In later years he had liver problems; a slave to alcohol and drugs, Johnnie died quietly and with no fanfare, in a hospital room of complications of liver failure.

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Source: http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - et alii

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