The Santa Fe New Mixican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment, & Culture
by Paul Weideman
Ray was born in Shelby, Nebraska, in 1936, a few months before the first copy of Life magazine hit the stands. He started as a staff photographer at the Lincoln Journal Star the day after graduating from high school. At seventeen, he photographed President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon, who were visiting Nebraska. During that time, he had the opportunity to meet Gen. Curtis LeMay. It was a foreshadowing of a career full of celebrity encounters.
He went on to work for United Press International in Chicago and for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune.Then, in 1957, he turned down a job with National Geographic to begin freelancing for Life. He was soon a staffer working out of the magazine’s New York, Beverly Hills, and Paris bureaus. In his 2007 photo-filled biography, My Life in Photography, Ray says it could also have been titled “My Life With Marlys,” after the woman he met in 1956 and married in 1958. She has been an invaluable assistant — and his agent, ever since Life folded in 1972.
Natalie Wood on the set of "Sex and the single girl", with hairdressers, 1963