A George Raft Biography

We Shall Never See The Likes Of This Great Actor Again

                         Raft spent his childhood in the tough Hell's Kitchen area
                          of New York, then left home at 13. He went on to be a
                          prizefighter, ballroom dancer, and taxi-driver, meanwhile
                          maintaining close contacts with New York's gangster
                          underworld. He eventually made it to Broadway, then
                          went to Hollywood in the late '20s. At first considered a
                          Valentino-like romantic lead, Raft soon discovered his
                          forte in gangster roles. He was the actor most
                          responsible for creating the '30s cinema image of
                          gangster-as-hero, particularly after his portrayal of
                          coin-flipping Guido Rinaldo in Scarface (1932). He was
                          highly successful for almost two decades, but then bad
                          casting diminished his popularity. By the early '50s he
                          was acting in European films in a vain attempt to regain
                          critical respect, but he was unsuccessful. He starred in
                          the mid-'50s TV series "I Am the Law," a failure that
                          seriously hurt his financial status. In 1959 a Havana
                          casino he owned was closed by the Castro government,
                          further damaging his revenues; meanwhile, he owed a
                          great deal to the U.S. government in back taxes. In the
                          mid '60s he was denied entry into England (where he
                          managed a high-class gambling club) due to his
                          underworld associations. Most of his film appearances
                          after 1960 were cameos. He was portrayed by Ray
                          Danton in the biopic The George Raft Story (1961). --
                          All Movie Guide