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A descendant of one of California's pioneer families, American actor Ray Collins' interest in the theatre came naturally. His father was drama critic of the Sacramento Bee. Taking to the stage at age 14, Collins moved to British Columbia, where he briefly headed his own stock company, then went on to Broadway. An established theatre and radio performer by the mid-1930s, Collins began a rewarding association with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. He played the "world's last living radio announcer" in Welles' legendary War of the Worlds broadcast of 1938, then moved to Hollywood with the Mercury troupe in 1939. Collins made his film debut as Boss Jim Gettys in Welles' film classic Citizen Kane (1940). After the Mercury disbanded in the early 1940s, Collins kept busy as a film and stage character actor, usually playing gruff business executives. Collins is most fondly remembered by TV fans of the mid-1950s for his continuing role as the intrepid Lt. Tragg on the weekly series Perry Mason.

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