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Robert Bushnell Ryan (November 11, 1909 – July 11, 1973) was an American actor from The Golden Age of Hollywood, known for his menacing and intense presence in a variety of roles.

Ryan began his acting career in 1940 with Paramount, however, his career didn't take off. In 1944, he signed a contract with RKO who would make him famous. His imposing height (he was 6’4) and rough looks made him a regular anti-hero or downright villain in many films. Crossfire was his Star-Making Role and would set the tone for his villainous characters to come. It was also the only film where he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Some departures from his rough and tumble guys include the films On Dangerous Ground and King of Kings.

Although he was to go-to bad guy for a Western or Film Noir, Ryan was a real-life pacifist, was vocal about racial equality, and was strongly against HUAC and their blacklist. He never was a huge star, but his career spanned over 30 years, and he worked with the best directors of the day including Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller, and Anthony Mann.

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He died of lung cancer in 1973, acting right to the end of his life.


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