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John Raitt

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Biography

John Emmett Raitt (19 January 1917 – 20 February 2005) was a star of the musical theater and stage.

Raitt was born in Santa Ana, California. He got his start in theatre as a high school student at Fullerton High School in Fullerton, California. While there, he played in several drama productions in the Plummer Auditorium. Raitt sang in the chorus of “Desert Song.” A few years before he died, Raitt once again came back to the Plummer to see a rehearsal, visit students and recollect his beginnings. He is on the school’s “Hall of Fame” for his accomplishments.

He is best known for his stage roles in the musicals Carousel, Oklahoma!, The Pajama Game, Carnival in Flanders, Three Wishes for Jamie, and A Joyful Noise, in which he set the standard for virile, handsome, strong-voiced leading men during the golden age of the Broadway musical. His only leading film role was in the 1957 movie version of The Pajama Game opposite Doris Day.

On television, he was seen many times on the Bell Telephone Hour. A clip of a television performance of Raitt singing the final section of the song “Soliloquy” from Carousel is included in the documentary film Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There. In 1957, also for television, he and Mary Martin re-created their starring roles in the national touring version of Annie Get Your Gun.

In addition, Raitt made several studio cast recordings of Broadway musicals, including Oklahoma! (as Curly), and Show Boat (as Gaylord Ravenal).

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  • suzqs

    I remember seeing John Raitt in summer stock when I was a kid. This is Bonnie Raitt's father--it's where she gets her talent. He did a lot of theatre and had a wonderful stage presence and he was also always very nice to me.

    13 Sep 2008 Reply

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