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Raymond Massey

Raymond Massey

Although born a Canadian and serving in the Canadian Army in both world wars, he later became an American citizen.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 554-555. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

Died the same day as his The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) and Stairway to Heaven (1946) co-star David Niven.

During the 1964 presidential race, he endorsed Republican candidate Barry Goldwater.

Father of Anna Massey, Daniel Massey and Geoffrey Massey. Grandfather of the producer Raymond Massey and Alice Massey.



He is buried in the Ludington family plot in Beaverdale Cemetary, in the suburb of Hampden area, which is in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Massey said that the British thought he was American and the Americans thought that he was British. He was actually Canadian. But his mother and paternal grandmother were both Americans and his branch of the Massey family migrated from England to Canada via the United States.

Massey's divorce from his ex-wife Adrianne Allen was the inspiration for the 1949 film Adam's Rib (1949). Each was represented by one half of a famous husband-and-wife team of divorce lawyers, Dorothy Whitney and her husband William Dwight Whitney. After the trial was over, the Whitneys divorced. The ex-Mrs. Whitney married Massey, and the ex-Mrs. Massey married the ex-Mrs. Whitney's ex-husband.

Played Abraham Lincoln four times on TV and in the movies as well as in the stage play "Abe Lincoln in Illinois.".

Portrayed Abraham Lincoln in both Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) and How the West Was Won (1962).

Portrayed Abraham Lincoln yet again in the 1950s "Du Pont Show of the Month" television drama "The Day That Lincoln Was Shot", opposite Lillian Gish as Mary Todd Lincoln.

Scion of the Massey family whose farm implement manufacturing business merged with the Harris company in 1891 to form Massey-Harris. Then in 1953, it merged with the Ferguson company to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson, shortened to Massey-Ferguson in 1957. Massey-Ferguson, now an AGCO (formerly Varity) subsidiary, is the largest selling farm tractor brand in the world. Vincent and Raymond Massey were the last Masseys to have a direct role in the company. Each elected to pursue other careers.

Spoke the lines given to Abraham Lincoln in the staged dramatic reading of Stephen Vincent Benet's "John Brown's Body", in which he also spoke John Brown's lines.

There was much dissatisfaction among the public when it was learned that Massey, a Canadian with clear diction and a fine speaking voice, had been selected to play Abraham Lincoln in the stage production of "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" - until he received rave reviews for his performance. His subsequent reprise of the role in the 1940 film version (Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)) earned him an Oscar nomination.

Was a two-time Wound Badge winner, having been wounded in both world wars.

Was a veteran of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force (CSEF) composed of 4,000 soldiers that were sent to Russia to combat the Bolshevik menace. This was authorized on August 12, 1918. Massey announced his participation during the airing of The Lux Radio Theater:Action in the North Atlantic broadcast on May 15, 1944.

Younger brother of Canadian politician Vincent Massey (1887-1967), who was the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada (1952-59).


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