Published in the March 4, 2019 edition.

AMHERST — Wakefield native Ray Girardin, 84, actor, took his final bow on Feb. 28, 2019 in Amherst after a mercifully short battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Ray is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marlene, his son Michael of Vancouver, Canada, his beloved baby sister Nancy Benjamin and her husband Gary of Newton, N.H., and brother-in-law Norton Juster, also of Amherst.

Ray was predeceased by his son Donny, sister-in-law Jeanne Juster and brothers Ronald and Allen Girardin, who were also sons of Wakefield.

Raymond George Girardin was born Jan. 23, 1935 and graduated from Wakefield High School, where he was recently honored by his induction into the WMHS Alumni Hall of Fame for the Arts. Following high school, Ray served a two-year stint in the Marine Corps, and upon his honorable discharge, attended and graduated from Boston University’s renowned Theater Department. While at B.U., Ray appeared in numerous campus productions, while spending summers performing in countless stock theaters throughout New England.

After graduation, Ray moved to New York, and then to Hollywood, where he landed a role that thrust him into living rooms and soap opera magazines everywhere… that of the ne’er-do-well Howie Dawson on General Hospital.

Ray relished that part for seven years before deciding to pursue other opportunities, and subsequently accumulated a vast and impressive list of appearances. In television, a few of his credits include “Law and Order,” multiple episodes of “The Rockford Files,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Remington Steele” and many others. On the comedy front, Ray’s appearances included “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Happy Days,” “Mork & Mindy,” and was a series regular on “The Flip Wilson Show.”

On the big screen, Ray had featured roles in films including “Dad” (with Jack Lemmon) “Love Affair” (Warren Beatty), “Loverboy” (Patrick Dempsey), as well as co-starring in the films “Gospa” with Martin Sheen, and in the burgeoning cult favorite “Hollywood Man,” which he wrote with his friend and co-star, William Smith.

Ray was an “actor’s actor” and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity for over 50 years. And though he weaned himself from performing after relocating back to the East Coast, he found great joy and a good deal of praise for mentoring and nurturing a new generation of young actors as the director of a slate of successful plays at the Academy Theater at Orleans on Cape Cod.

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