Robert Ryan was already a grizzled veteran of the screen when I was a kid – and I missed most of his earlier work of the 40’s and 50’s. And to me he always seemed to be one of those actors that somehow were never young – even in his early movies – with a presence, stature and persona that moved past his years and youth.
Rugged and somewhat gruff in his portrayals – even his smile was often more like a sardonic smirk – he often played the heavy – a villain. Yet he surely played strong and well along side the likes of:
Gary Cooper (North West Mounted Police / 1940
Rock Hudson (Horizons West / 1952
James Stewart and Janet Leigh (The Naked Spur / 1953
Clark Gable and Jane Russell (The Tall Men / 1955
Burl Ives and Tina Louise (Day of the Outlaw /1959
John Dehner and Torin Thatcher (The Canadians / 1961,
Lancaster, Marvin, Palance, Strode, Bellamy and Cardinale (The Professionals / 1966
James Garner and Jason Robards (Hour of the Gun / 1967
Robert Shaw (Custer of the West /1968
Arthur Kennedy (A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die / 1968
William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson … (The Wild Bunch / 1969
Burt Lancaster, Lee J. Cobb (Lawman / 1971 …
and more …
A heck of an actor. And these are just his Westerns !
But what Westerns they were ! At least 3 easily rising into the heights of Western Classics: The Wild Bunch, The Professionals, Naked Spur, Hour of the Gun … plus others of worthy note.
A true Western Star.
Ride on Robert …