Robert Ryan Overview:

Legendary character actor, Robert Ryan, was born Robert Bushnell Ryan on Nov 11, 1909 in Chicago, IL. Ryan died at the age of 63 on Jul 11, 1973 in New York City, NY and was cremated and his ashes scattered in unknown location.


Tall, lean, dark-haired American actor who, after a spotty early career interrupted by war service, found that his whippy, gritty performances earned him some good leading roles at RKO from 1947 to 1952. After that, often cast as embittered men, he was mostly second or third on the cast list of largely unworthy films, although working steadily. He received an Oscar nomination for his performance in Crossfire. Died from cancer.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Stars).



Although Ryan was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1947Best Supporting ActorCrossfire (1947)MontgomeryNominated

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Robert Ryan Quotes:

Joe Parkson: Just so there won't be no misunderstanding, tell him I'll be back!
Edith Enley: If you are, the police will be here to meet you.
Joe Parkson: You'd better check with your husband. I don't think he'd like that.

Ben Vandergroat: Choosin' a way to die? What's the difference? Choosin' a way to live - that's the hard part.

Sgt. Montana: You said you wanted to get one man alive out of your platoon. Well you got your wish, only double, there's you and me. Ain't that something.
Lt. Benson: Forget it. We'll never see the morning.
Sgt. Montana: Yes we will. They can't hurt us anymore now. They threw everything at us. Rifle fire, grenades, four twos, artillery. I'm telling you, they can't scratch us. If we wanted to take that hill, we could take it easy, the two of us.
Lt. Benson: With what?
Sgt. Montana: We're lucky, we're lucky. With guts we'll take 'em. We still got the flamethrower.
Lt. Benson: Yeah.
Sgt. Montana: Let's go get it.
Lt. Benson: Wait.
Sgt. Montana: You'll go with me?
Lt. Benson: Yeah, but wait.
Sgt. Montana: Wait for what?
Lt. Benson: I want to live as long as I can.

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Also a Scorpio

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1947

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Robert Ryan Facts
When he was eight years old, his younger brother died from the flu.

Originally intended to portray "Commodore Matt Decker" in the "Star Trek" (1966) (the original series) episode "Doomsday Machine", but was unable to do so. The character was intended as a Captain Ahab-type, obsessed with revenge for the loss of his crew. The role instead went to William Windom who portrayed Decker in a more tragic, sensitive light.

At the time he was diagnosed with cancer, he was scheduled to play "Don Quixote" in a film version of Miguel Cervantes' novel. It was Rex Harrison, however, who was finally seen as the Don in a 1973 made-for-television film of the book, a year after Peter O'Toole had starred in the film version (Man of La Mancha (1972)) of the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha".

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