John Emmett Raitt was an American actor and singer best known for his performances in musical theater.
Raitt was born in Santa Ana, California. He got his start in theatre as a high school student at Fullerton High School in Fullerton, California. While there, he played in several drama productions in the Plummer Auditorium. Raitt sang in the chorus of The Desert Song. A few years before he died, Raitt once again came back to the Plummer to see a rehearsal, visit students and recollect his beginnings. He is on the school’s “Hall of Fame” for his accomplishments.
He is best known for his stage roles in the musicals Carousel, Oklahoma!, The Pajama Game, Carnival in Flanders, Three Wishes for Jamie, and A Joyful Noise, in which he set the standard for virile, handsome, strong-voiced leading men during the golden age of the Broadway musical. His only leading film role was in the 1957 movie version of The Pajama Game opposite Doris Day.
On television, he was seen many times on the Bell Telephone Hour. A clip of a television performance of Raitt singing the final section of the song “Soliloquy” from Carousel is included in the documentary film. In 1957, also for television, he and Mary Martin re-created their starring roles in the national touring version of Annie Get Your Gun.