Gene Raymond born Raymond Guyon was an American film, television, and stage actor of the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to acting, Raymond was also a composer, writer, director, producer, and decorated military pilot.
Raymond was born Raymond Guyon on August 13, 1908 in New York City. He attended the Professional Children’s School while appearing in productions like Rip Van Winkle and Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. His Broadway debut, at age 17, was in The Cradle Snatchers which ran two years.
His screen debut was in Personal Maid. Another early appearance was in the multi-director If I Had a Million with W. C. Fields and Charles Laughton. With his blond good looks, classic profile, and youthful exuberance ? plus a name change to the more pronounceable “Gene Raymond” ? he scored in films like the classic Zoo in Budapest with Loretta Young, and a series of light RKO musicals, mostly with Ann Sothern. He wrote a number of songs, including the popular “Will You?” which he sang to Sothern in Smartest Girl In Town. His wife, Jeanette MacDonald, sang several of his more classical pieces in her concerts and recorded one entitled “Let Me Always Sing”.
His most notable films, mostly as a second lead actor, include Red Dust with Jean Harlow, Zoo in Budapest with Loretta Young, Ex-Lady with Bette Davis, Flying Down to Rio with Dolores del Río, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, I Am Suzanne with Lilian Harvey, Sadie McKee with Joan Crawford, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, and The Locket with Laraine Day, Brian Aherne, and Robert Mitchum. MacDonald and Raymond made one film together, Smilin’ Through, which came out as the U.S. was on the verge of entering the World War II. After the war, Raymond both directed and starred in the suspense drama Million Dollar Weekend .