When one thinks of movie stars one seldom thinks of the rugged Robert Ryan.

Why is that?

After all he starred, costarred and supported in some 90 movie and tv credits over more than three decades.  No one could convey coiled, pent-up physical menace better than Ryan, who toplined some of the biggest studio productions of the late 20th century.

Anti-Semites, racists, murderous stalkers, various rancid nasties — Ryan played ’em all to frightening perfection. It all cast him in an evil mold he’d spend the rest of his professional life trying to break, notes critic-author Eddie Muller

Ryan was one of classic Hollywood’s most talented actors.  He was a performer of many professional and person contradictions — and for all his onscreen menace was very much the thinking man’s favorite.  He is high on our list.

How much do you know about Robert Ryan?  We suspect not enough and thus our Monday Quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:

1) Question: Which of the following pictures established Ryan as one of the screens most convincing bad guys.  a) 1947’s Crossfire; b) 1943’s Tender Comrade; c) 1949’s The Set-Up; or d) 1951’s On Dangerous Ground.

2) Question:  1949’s The Set-Up exploited one of Ryan’s talents rarely used onscreen. What was this special talent?  a) The actor’s way of speaking French; b) His love of chess; c) His near professional skills as a boxer; d) His singing abilities.

3) Question:  Ryan was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for which movie?  (Hint: The title is one of the four cited in Question 1.) Who won the award?

4) Question: As an ex-Marine and a pal of John Wayne‘s, Ryan was a political conservative offscreen.  a) True; or b) False?

5) Question: Although one of the screen heralded villains, Ryan was Ivy-League educated and always wanted to be a writer rather than actor?  a) True; or b) False?

6) Question: When Ryan was fatally ill with lung cancer, he still managed to costar in 1969’s The Wild Bunch, one of the best westerns ever made. a) True; or b) False?

7) Question:  Which of the following musical and dance personalities did Ryan NOT costar with?  a) Harry Belafonte; b) Ginger Rogers; c) Dan Dailey; or d) Jane Powell.

8) Question: Ryan confessed to secretly admiring and envying which one of the following of his acting contemporaries?  a) John Wayne; b) William Holden; c) Cary Grant; or d) James Stewart.

 9) Question: Ryan’s personal life was tangled and involved several wives and ex-wives. a) True; or b) False?

10) Question: Ryan nursed something of grudge against Gregory Peck.  Why?


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