Child actor Gary Gray, who appeared in MGM’s final Lassie movie, died of cancer April 4 in Brush Prairie, Wisc. He was 69.
Gray appeared in many Westerns as a child actor, including Randolph Scott’s “Return of the Bad Men” (1948) and “Rachel and the Stranger” (1948), a frontier drama in which he was the son of a widower played by William Holden.
Gray also appeared in “The Great Lover,” starring Bob Hope; “The Girl From Jones Beach,” starring Ronald Reagan and Virginia Mayo; and “The Next Voice You Hear,” in which he played the son of Nancy Davis and James Whitmore. He also played young David Latham in the “Latham family” B-movie comedy series, including “Leave It to Henry” and “Father’s Wild Game.”
During the 1950s, he appeared in TV shows including “Annie Oakley,” “I Love Lucy” and “The Legend of Wyatt Earp.”
The son of Hollywood business manager Bill Gray, he was born in Los Angeles. Gray made his film debut at 3, playing a boy in a sailor suit George Cukor’s “A Woman’s Face,” starring Joan Crawford.
Gray’s role in “The Next Voice You Hear” in 1950 led to a contract at MGM, where he appeared with the original Lassie in the 1951 family western “The Painted Hills.”
He retired from acting in the early 1960s and ran a swimming pool maintenance and repair business.
Gray is survived by his wife, Jean, four children and several grandchildren.