Gene Anthony Ray, a New York City dancer and actor who achieved worldwide stardom in the TV show, “Fame,” died on Nov. 14 from complications of a stroke. He was 41. Although Ray had never taken a dance class, choreographer Louis Falco cast him in the 1980 film, “Fame.”
Nov. 19, 2003 Gene Anthony Ray, who starred as Leroy, a street-smart urban teenager, in the 1980 movie ”Fame” and the later television series, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 41.
Who was Gene Ray in Fame?
Gene Anthony Ray is in the back, center. Debbie Allen is center, with sunglasses on top of her head. (1983) Gene Anthony Ray (May 24, 1962 – November 14, 2003) was an American actor, dancer, and choreographer. He was known for his portrayal of dancer Leroy Johnson in both the 1980 film Fame and …
In 1984, USA Today reports: “Ray was axed from the show after his mother was jailed for running a drug ring, and he failed to turn up for work 100 times.”. He struggled with addictions to alcohol and drugs, and worked only intermittently once the TV series ended.
Adult life. As his Telegraph obituary describes: “Ray remained a ‘frantic partygoer’ with a self-confessed weakness for drink and drugs. As his life fell apart, he slept on park benches, and during a failed attempt to launch a Fame-style dance school in Milan, shared a flat there with a porn actress.
Ray won the part of Leroy Johnson in the film Fame, which was released in 1980. Much like his Fame character, Ray had little professional training, but he possessed a raw talent that won him his role for the film. Reports USA Today: “Alan (Parker, the director) had to approach him very carefully.
Why was the show Fame canceled?
Ray said. Mr. Ray also played Leroy in the NBC television series ”Fame,” which made its debut in 1982. It was canceled by NBC because of poor ratings but was later picked up by MGM Television, which distributed it in syndication from 1983 to 1987.
By Kimetris N. Baltrip. Gene Anthony Ray, who starred as Leroy, a street-smart urban teenager, in the 1980 movie ”Fame” and the later television series, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 41.
The actors who performed in the movie and in the television series ”Fame” portrayed students at New York’s High School of the Performing Arts, which Mr. Ray attended for a year before being kicked out.
Mr. Ray was a natural fit when he was cast as Leroy in the film, which won Academy Awards for best song and original score. Like his character in the film, Mr. Ray had never had professional dance training but had a raw talent that dazzled choreographers.