Ray Bolger - Wonderful Dancer, Amazing Human being
Ray Bolger was an excellent dancer, as this is surely obvious. This could also be understatement of the year. He was never given the status he deserved, but was never bothered by it, and truly enjoyed just doing what he did best - dancing, singing and acting. However, many rumors have surfaced over the years about him. I had the opportunity to work with him as an extra in many movies. We were very close, and he was never unkind to a single soul.
It has been said for example, that he bullied around other cast members in the Wizard Of Oz. This could not be farther from the truth. A fellow colleague who was in the Wizard with him remarked 'Mr. Bolger was always the first to make one of us laugh, and always helped others out when we had trouble with our scripts or we had trouble learning our dance routines. He sometimes even took extra time out just to sit down and work things out with us, or teach us our routines. He was like the big brother who was always there for everyone. In particular, he and fellow actor Buddy Epson were very good buddies, and he was saddened when Epson was hospitalized. He even came to visit Epson a few times. Bolger was switched parts soon after Epson's hospitalization,though happier to be the scarecrow, he felt terrible about taking the part from his friend [Epson].'
In addition, During the production of the great Broadway 'Where's Charley?', it has been rumored that he had tripped a fellow cast member. I was a very young extra who got to see all of Mr. Bolger's performances, and he had never intentionally tripped anyone. He apologized profusely if he so much as sneezed on someone by accident. He was the most kind and gentle creature around. He loved children, and would always be tweaking a nose or pulling pennies out of your ear, sometimes trying to teach you how to work your legs like he did (because all of us youngsters would beg so much!) He was a doll. A true dear doll.
We had also done a few more movies together later. He has never been anything but a fantastic teddy bear. Please, do not believe any disheartening rumors you may hear. Mr. Bolger will always remain dear to me, has always been a fantastic mentor and friend, and I hope that no rumor will allow you to form a false opinion about him.
"There are those who shall believe anything in what they hear or see around them, and there are those who believe what is in their hearts. Those who see with their hearts will never be blind, for they see with true honesty."