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Ann Ratray, Actress Who Becomes Coveted Theater Coach, Dies at 81 | Ap thread




NEW YORK (AP) Ann Ratray, a Broadway actor who later became a wanted youth theater coach, has died.

Ratray died on June 9 surrounded by family and friends at her New York home after a long illness, her nearly 55-year-old husband, actor Peter Ratray, said on Wednesday. She was 81 years old.

Peter Ratray said he spent his last days reading her dozens of letters from the young actors she mentored who were unable to visit her due to the pandemic, thanking her for the spark and the inspiration she had given them.

“She changed the course of so many lives,” said Peter Ratray.

Ann Willis Ratray was born in Cranston, Rhode Island to a financially troubled family of seven siblings. As Miss Rhode Island in 1958, she entered the Miss America pageant and won the Miss Congeniality Award. She used the prize money to pay for studies which would include the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

Her Broadway credits included Mame in 1964 with Angela Lansbury and the 1981 revival of Candida by George Bernard Shaw, with Joanne Woodward.

In 1990, she changed careers when her son, Devin, was cast as Buzz, Macaulay Culkin’s bully older brother, in Home Alone.

Serving as her son’s interim coach, she discovered she had a knack for the job and, in the years to come, would guide many young careers in New York City.

His students included Merritt Wever who won Emmys for Nurse Jackie and Godless, YaYa DaCosta of Chicago Med and Kaitlyn Nichol of black-ish.

Along with Peter and Devin, Ann Ratray is survived by her sister, Sue Zoglio, brothers David and Douglas Willis and grandson Riley Ratray.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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