Appreciation: Aldo Ray

aldo ray

You know I have a weakness for beefy actors like Dana Andrews and Victor Mature and (more recently) Channing Tatum and Cam Gigandet. They appeal to me on a deeply hormonal level.

Here’s one I sometimes forget, until I see one of his movies: Aldo Ray.



Aldo was an Italian-American, born Aldo Da Re. His brother wanted to be an actor, so Aldo drove him to an audition; the casting director took one look at Aldo, with his football-player body and nice squint and gravelly voice, and cast him instead. (Imagine how his brother felt!)

Aldo played lots of soldiers, and a few nice guys (catch him in “The Marrying Kind” with Judy Holliday), and some tragic/romantic characters (as in “God’s Little Acre”). Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, he took whatever roles came along. He was diagnosed with cancer in the 1980s, and took any acting jobs that came along in order to pay for his health care; according to Wikipedia, he got dumped by the Screen Actors’ Guild when they discovered he was acting in non-union productions (including at least one porn film).

Aldo, in his prime, is a pleasure to watch. He’s a physical marvel: thick-bodied and strong, with a big chest and thick neck. There’s a scene in “God’s Little Acre” when he suddenly appears shirtless, just standing there, waiting for his old girlfriend to respond to him, and I always squeal with pleasure when I see it.

There’s a wonderful interview with Aldo on, from 1991. The interviewer holds nothing back, and neither does Aldo (who’s going through chemotherapy at the time). We meet his family, and everything. He’s funny and unrepentant and natural.

It’s a pity he’s gone.

Here’s the scene I mentioned: a bare-chested Aldo interacting with Tina Louise (Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, for god’s sake!) in “God’s Little Acre.”

Prepare to squeal.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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