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Billy Gray was born William Thomas Gray on January 13, 1938, in Los Angeles. He had an early and easy "in" to Hollywood: his mother, Beatrice Gray, was a longtime leading lady in the '30s and '40s who had roles in films like Otto Preminger's "Laura," with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. In fact, she and Billy both had parts (albeit in separate scenes) in "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1943), with Boris Karloff. more...
Former child actor known primarily as Patricia Neal's son in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and teen James "Bud" Anderson in the landmark TV sitcom Father Knows Best (1954-60).
Billy was a competitive Class A Speedway motorcycle racer from 1970 to '95.
Co-owner of a company called BigRock Engineering that makes, among other products, innovative guitar accessories.
Billy Gray in a publicity still from "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
In 1951, at age 13, he appeared in the film "Jim Thorpe All-American," starring Burt Lancaster in the lead role. Gray played Thorpe as a child. Later that year, he was picked to play Patricia Neal's pre-teen son in the mesmerizing sci-fi movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Michael Rennie played the part of the alien who befriended the young boy. Sam Jaffe also starred.
In 1953, Gray was slated to play "Tag Oakley" in the hit TV western "Annie Oakley." But he opted instead to co-star alongside Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue and Lauren Chapin in one of the longest-running and arguably most white-bread situation comedies of all time, "Father Knows Best." In a 1983 interview, Gray summed up what he thought of the program:
"I wish there was some way I could tell the kids not to believe it. The dialogue, the situations, the characters they were all totally false. The show did everyone a disservice. The girls were always trained to use their feminine wiles, to pretend to be helpless to attract men. The show contributed to a lot of the problems between men and women that we see today." He added, "I think we were all well motivated, but what we did was run a hoax. 'Father Knows Best' purported to be a reasonable facsimile of life. And the bad thing is, the model is so deceitful. It usually revolved around not wanting to tell the truth, either out of embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt someone. If I could say anything to make up for all the years I lent myself to (that), it would be, 'You Know Best.'"
In 1977, the cast reunited for a television special titled, "Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas."
Bill Gray 2013
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Back in the late sixties - early seventies Rolling Stone published a bogus
review of an album titled "The Masked Marauders."
The review appeared October 18, 1969, along with a review of another
"supersession" album by a band called "Merryweather". The review was
written by "T.M. Christian" (actually Greil Marcus). The album was
supposedly produced by Al Kooper.
The record allegedly
contained the fruits of a supersession
recorded in Canada "in a small town near the
site of the original Hudson Bay Colony in Canada
with Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and others.
According to the review, the album featured McCartney singing "Mammy",
Dylan imitating early Donovan, and Jagger singing "I Can't Get No Nookie".
Although the review was fiction SOMEONE went ahead and recorded a single
album of some of the songs listed in the review. They even carried it out
to the extent of mimicking Jagger's and Dylan's vocal styles.
Greil Marcus and Langdon Winner recruited some other Berkeley musicians
and recorded it in a garage studio. Then they took it to KMPX-FM and had
it played. Motown supposedly offered $100,000 for the tape, but the
"Marauders" cut a deal for $15,000 with Warner Brothers.
The album ended with a joke monologue
revealing the scam. A classic.
Supposedly, Jann Wenner eventually got
tired of the scam, and *Rolling Stone*
exposed it themselves.
My source for all this is Robert Draper's *Rolling Stone Magazine: The
Uncensored History*. The discussion of the Masked Marauders appears at the
very end of Chapter 5 (pages 116-118 in the Harper Perennial paperback).
Beggars Day Clip