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Updated: November 08, 2023

Ray Walston started his acting career as a spear carrier with a local stock company. When the family moved to Houston, Texas, Walston's father wanted to teach him the oil business, but Walston instead joined a traveling repertory company ( selling tickets as well as acting ). He went on to associate with Margo Jones at the Houston Civic Theater for six years, then spent three seasons with the Cleveland Playhouse before arriving in New York in 1945. He has won a Tony Award for his performance as the Devil in Broadway's "Damn Yankees", two Emmy Awards for Picket Fences ( 1992 ), and become a household name playing the extraterrestrial "Uncle Martin" on My Favorite Martian ( 1963 ).

Ray Walston was born on December 2, 1914 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and began his acting career in 1939, receiving his first big break when cast as the reporter in the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur classic "The Front Page". Later, he came to the New York critics' attention with the play "The Alchemist". Prominent in Walston's career was an association with director George Abbott which included appearing in five productions over a span of 20 years. They began working together in 1949, around the time Walston was cast in "South Pacific". Then, in 1955, Walston won a Tony Award as best male musical comedy star in the Abbott production of "Damn Yankees". Walston came to Hollywood in 1957 for Kiss Them for Me ( 1957 ). Since then, his other films have included The Apartment ( 1960 ), Portrait in Black ( 1960 ), Paint Your Wagon ( 1969 ), The Sting ( 1973 ), Popeye ( 1980 ), Fast Times at Ridgemont High ( 1982 ) and O'Hara's Wife ( 1982 ). In 1963, he began the television series My Favorite Martian ( 1963 ), which ran for three years. Ray Walston died at age 86 of lupus on New Year's Day 2001 in Beverly Hills, California.

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