Friday, February 8, 2013

Ray Sharkey

Like so many gifted actors before him, Ray Sharkey traded in a promising career for the demon known as drug addiction. His sickness cost him his reputation in Hollywood and eventually led to his death in 1993 from AIDS.

Had he taken a different path, Ray Sharkey could have rewritten the history books when it came to Oscar and Emmy nominations. Instead, we're left with a few brilliant performances, a handful of really good ones and the sad reality of what could have been.


In the 1970's he started appearing in movies like Who'll Stop the Rain, with Nick Nolte and television shows like Barney Miller, but it wouldn't be until 1981 before he would get the role that would really put him on the map - that of the driven rock promoter, Vinnie Vacarri  in The Idolmaker. That role earned him a Golden Globe, and should have gotten him an Oscar nomination, but sadly that didn't happen.

Ray Sharkey  proved once again that he was the real deal in the made-for-television movie, The Ordeal of Bill Carney, were he played a man paralyzed from the neck down trying to be a single father, as well as probably his most famous role - the gangster, Sonny Steelgrave,  in the television hit, Wiseguy.

It was his reckless reputation, though, that made Hollywood leary of giving him good roles in A-list movies, making his resume misleading to the talent that he possessed. Ray Sharkey could have gone far, but his legacy is now more of a lesson to be learned, instead of an artist who should have contributed more.

31 comments:

  1. Marco A. S. FreitasMarch 21, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    He is excellent in a little-seen Bmovie named THE RAIN KILLER, photographed by future Spielberg collaborator J. Kaminsky...the film has other ´not-so-famous´ yet talented thesps, like Rob Miano and Dave Beecroft.

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  2. He is a monster. In 1987 he learned he had HIV, he told no one. For the next six years he continued to have unprotected sex with hundreds of women. Two women have sued his bankrupt estate for infecting him, how many more do we not know of?

    I can't believe you are praising this serial killer.

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    1. Anonymous - I am praising his work as an actor. Nothing more. That's what this blog is about. There are several actors that I have written about that are/were not good people, but they have contributed good performances. That's what I write about here.

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  3. Ray Sharkey did some great work in Idolmaker and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately he was a self absorbed schmuck from Gowanus that thought of absolutely nothing but himself. He will remain a forgotten dick.

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  4. Does anyone remember the movie Ray Sharkey carried a woman over to the balcony and dropped her to her death? I want to watch that again and I can't remember what movie it was from.

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  5. I'd have to agree with the earlier comment describing Starkey as a serial killer as he was. I really liked Idolmaker and Wiseguy at the time but now they are unwatchable for me. I don't think the drugs give him an excuse either. For some it might be but given his egotistical, self indulgent way he treated having AIDS and his subsequent infecting of at least 2, and probably, more women it's likely he thought he was invincible with regards to drugs also and that is how he got hooked. Not only did he have sex with 100s of women after becoming infected he also married and fathered a child.

    This isn't a question of being a good person. There's is no question Ray Starkey was not a good person. It's very likely he was a reckless murderer. His performances deserved to die with him.

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    1. His performances deserve to remain for all to seer. He was hired as an actor to do a job, which he did exceptionally well. He was not hired for his private life. EVERYONE has some redeeming qualities.

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    2. Ray was awesome in The Idolmaker. He was a psychopathic narcissist - which is basically what you find in Hollywood. To the point of this blog - he was a good actor, but also a subhuman reptile as a person. Sadly, he negatively affected dozens of people, mostly women.

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  6. My first real boyfriend was a dead-ringer for Ray, and was also a less-than-stellar individual. No matter what I ever watched him in, I could never get past how much he reminded me of my ex and it would ruin it.

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  7. It needs to be pointed out that the woman who claimed she was infected with HIV by Ray is still alive. Elena Monica is now known as Elena Garofalo. She is alive and well and living in Vero Beach. She has four young children. Ray denied that he infected her and it should also be pointed out that his wife and daughter both tested negative for HIV.

    To those calling Ray a murderer, he wasn't. He was a fantastic actor and his work should be seen.

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  8. @Anonymous: OMG! This is baffling to me? Regardless of whether Monica is still alive or has children or is 6 feet under, how can you say Sharkey was NOT a murderer? He admittingly infected 2 women and one has died. Saying that his work is good is fine, but denying he's a murderer makes one wonder what kind of denial has taken hold of you.

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  9. Elena Monica is one of the two women in question and she's still alive. I have found absolutely no evidence whatsoever online that anyone died because of Sharkey. You say one did. Name please?
    If I was wrong then I'm sorry and I take it back but I haven't seen any evidence of this yet. His ex Carole Graham and his daughter were HIV negative. His manager said any others in question were fine and HIV free. Sharkey denied infecting anyone.

    I'll back down on defending him too much but a number of people have spoken very positively about Sharkey since he died including Ken Wahl, Jonathan Banks, Michael Chiklis and Taylor Hackford.
    I'm still a fan of his acting work.

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  10. It’s too late to comment fullly on this, but what an absolute joke.
    An article came out in which Herbie Nannas, Ray’s manager, finally admitted he knew that Ray had AIDS and was sleeping w/ a lot of women, but he lied for Ray for many years.
    Carol probably was either immune from getting the virus (as some people are) and they also stopped sleeping together when he found out years before he died. Cecilia probably never got it b/c they conceived her before he was infected or in early stages, which they now know the virus as being less transmittable early on. Plus, harder for a man to pass on in that situation, than a woman, for obvious reasons.
    Jeez, all of you “anonymous” geniuses really need to get your facts straight.
    BTW-The name of the girl that died from getting AIDS from Ray was Gail Silna.

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    1. The only women that I see that accused Ray of infecting them with HIV were Elena Monica and a woman who said her name was Joyce, giving no last name. I feel that Ray Sharkey was a sociopathic person as well as a brilliant actor so I am not defending him. I just want to know where you got this information.

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    2. BTW I found a Gail Silna who died of AIDS online but there is no mention of who infected her.

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    3. @Anonymous-What information are you referring to that you want to know where it came from?

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    4. Where online do you find the information that Gail Silna was infected by Ray Sharkey?

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    5. I don't believe I ever said that I got the information about Gail online? I wouldn't normally believe personal information like this about someone online. As it seems you too are being careful not to do, good going. What do they say, believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see!

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  11. OK, I was wrong. I fully admit that. I take back everything previously said. I give a full and utter retraction.

    I had genuinely never, ever heard about Gail. This is the first time I had ever heard about her.

    Yes, Sharkey was a scumbag piece of dogshit. I'm glad he's dead and I hope it was painful. Good riddance.

    Looks like Ken, Jonathan, Chiklis and Hackford were wrong too. They're respectable and good men though so I don't think any less of those guys.

    Too bad such a great actor was also such a bad guy.

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  12. "The Idolmaker" is an EXTREMELY underrated movie!!! It depicts so well how fame is fleeting.

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  13. As I read this bio w/whatever lifetime achievements he did have be4 his untimely death, the name Ray Sharkey, sparked my memory for some Barney Miller episodes I watched recently w/my tv window antenna. I remember Ray Sharkey in Barney Miller and I do indeedy agree that he was well-talented, as well as tall and handsome. I guess the owner of this site wanted very badly to let Hollywood, etc. know they muffed up. GOOD JOB! I do know that this site is for actors stories and this section is about Ray Sharkey & I should still be speaking @ him, but one thing actually troubles me: It is saying "NOT SECURE" up top in the address bar right around where the "www" usually is. I am hoping that this does not wreck my computer. I welcome any replies or informing me about that this unsecure part of this webpage was unintentional and was or is being worked on to secure things. Thank you and happy Hollywood hunting.

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  14. Where online do you find the information that Gail Silna was infected by Ray Sharkey?

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  15. I didn't have to read it online. I knew Gail Silna quite well. She was excited about dating Ray Sharkey. She also confided in me, after she got sick, that Ray Sharkey was the person who infected her. I will not name the others who can corroborate this, but they definitely exist. Gail forgave this guy for killing her, although I must admit, almost 30 years later, I haven't the grace to do that. It's a completely true story

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  16. Not sure if anyone knows,but in 1991(?) Sharkey was in a music video for the song Mary and Willie by Country singer K.T. Oslin who passed away a few days ago.

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  17. He was a dirt bag. Good riddance.

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  18. "he could have gone far" but, with AIDS, at that time, it wasn't very possible.

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  19. Damn. People still angry 28 years after his death.

    And one person still following this after 8 years?

    I saw him in Idolmaker and loved the movie. Forgot about him until just seeing something about him on YouTube.

    And then somehow came across this after hearing he died of Aides.

    Couldn’t find out much about him but it appears “Anonymous” has spent a long time trashing him.

    Seems like his manager is as guilty, if not more so than he.

    Doesn’t matter, I’ll forget about him tomorrow, but I don’t form opinions about people from ‘anonymous’ comments.

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