Ray English

Tap dancer, comedian

Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85.

English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra pit. He appeared at numerous nightclubs and supper clubs during his career including the Rainbow Room, the Roxy, New York’s La Conga and the Mayfair in Boston. He also opened for some of the major big bands of the era including Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw and Count Basie. During World War II, English devoted his time and energy to the USO.

He is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.

More Scene

  • Kevin Durant Lindsey Vonn

    Kevin Durant, Lindsey Vonn to Keynote Variety's Sports & Entertainment Breakfast

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Cher and Meryl Streep'Mamma Mia! Here

    How the Cast of 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Geeked Out Around Cher

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Demi MooreComedy Central's Roast of Bruce

    Demi Moore Appears as Surprise Guest at Bruce Willis' Comedy Central Roast

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Outfest Filmmakers Get Political, Issue Call

    Outfest Filmmakers Get Political, Issue Call to Action on Opening Night

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Bob Woodruff Foundation Acquires Veterans Org

    Bob Woodruff Foundation Acquires Veterans Org Got Your 6

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Tiffany HaddishTiffany Haddish at the Hollywood

    Tiffany Haddish on Future Career Plans, Taking Advice From Tyler Perry, Melissa McCarthy

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

  • Vince Gilligan Carolyn Strauss Paley Center

    'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Suggests 'Maybe It's Time for Heroes Again' on TV

    Ray English, tap dancer and comedian during the 1930s and ’40s who served as the opening act for many celebrities and popular bands, died Jan. 18 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Providence, R.I. He was 85. English was known for performing physical comedy. As an acrobatic comedian, he would take dives into the orchestra […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content