Conflict Period:
Other Service 1
20 Mar 1922 1
24 Mar 1990 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Raymond Walter Goulding 2
Also known as:
Ray Goulding Bob & Ray 2
Raymond Goulding 1
Gender: Male 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-2160 1
20 Mar 1922 1
Lowell MA 2
Male 2
24 Mar 1990 1
Cause: Unknown 1
Manhasset, New York, USA 2
Cause: Kidney Failure 2
Mother: Mary Goulding 2
Father: Thomas 2
Mary Elizabeth Leader 2
1945 2

Other Service 1

Organization Code:
A 1
Comedian 2

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Raymond Walter Goulding (March 20, 1922 – March 24, 1990) was an American comedian, who, together with Bob Elliott formed the comedy duo of Bob and Ray. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the fourth of five children of Thomas Goulding, an overseer in a textile mill, and his wife Mary. Upon graduation from high school at age 17, Ray Goulding was hired as a $15-a-week announcer on local station WLLH,[1] using the name 'Dennis Howard' to avoid confusion with his older brother Phil, an announcer in Boston radio at the time.[2] A year later Ray was hired by Boston radio station WEEI under his own name.[3]

His career was interrupted in 1942 by World War II. After graduating from US Army OCS he was posted to Fort Knox, KY as an instructor,[4] attaining the rank of captain. While stationed there he met his wife, then-Lt. Mary Elizabeth Leader, likewise attached to the base as a dietitian. They married in 1945 and would eventually have four sons and two daughters.

Upon his discharge in 1946, Goulding was hired on at Boston station WHDH, where he served as newsreader for the morning program hosted by Bob Elliott. The two men soon discovered an extraordinary comedic rapport and found themselves in-demand as a team. Standing six-foot-two, heavyset and possessing a distinctive baritone voice, Goulding made an effective contrast to his partner both physically and vocally, usually taking on similarly outsize roles in their skits.[5] His dead-on impersonation of Senator Joseph McCarthy inspired a pointed series of Bob & Ray sketches at the height of the Army-McCarthy hearings. He also played all the female roles (using a coloratura soprano), most notably cooking expert Mary Margaret McGoon. In 1949, Goulding as Mary recorded a novelty cover of "I'd Like to Be a Cow in Switzerland", which became a local hit.

Away from the studio, his hobbies included photography and sport shooting. He was a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. Ray Goulding died of kidney failure at his home in Manhasset on New York'sLong Island in 1990 at the age of 68.

Ray Goulding, 68, Genial Satirist As Part of Bob and Ray, Is Dead

Ray Goulding, who was half of the Bob and Ray comedy team that delighted radio and television audiences for more than four decades with low-key humor and gentle satire, died of kidney failure on Saturday at his home in Manhasset, L.I. He was 68 years old.

Although he and his partner, Bob Elliott, were seen frequently on television beginning in the 1950's and had a run on Broadway in 1970 as ''The Two and Only,'' radio was their first medium and their real home. They performed together until ill health overtook Mr. Goulding two years ago. In the early 1980's, they were heard on National Public Radio in an updated version of the original ''Bob and Ray'' show they had created in Boston in 1946.

In 15-minute and half-hour broadcasts they produced, wrote and delivered on the air, the team created a stable of improbable yet totally recognizable characters, all played by the two men. Among the most memorable were Wally Ballou, the bumbling interviewer of subjects famous and obscure; Mary McGoon, a cooking authority who wandered into dispensing all-purpose advice; the Piel brothers, Harry and Bert, in a series of commercials for Piel's beer, and a writer named O. Leo Leahy.

'Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife'

Perhaps the pair's best-remembered routine was a sendup of radio soap operas, ''Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife,'' which spoofed the highly popular 1940's serial ''Mary Noble, Backstage Wife.'' Mr. Goulding, who had a booming, baritone voice but could produce a coloratura falsetto, played the heroine, as well as the playwright Gregg Marlowe and assorted other characters, and Mr. Elliott, in a soft, nasal voice, took the parts of Harry Backstayge and the stage doorman Pop Beloved.

In this as in other sketches, Bob and Ray used an exquisite sense of timing to produce laughs. Their voices often seemed to be crossing each other, now cutting into a sentence never finished, now simply tailing off into silence, giving the impression that the entire sequence was improvised, which sometimes it was.

A specialty of the team was the interview of an expert in an exotic or unlikely field of endeavor by an often perplexed radio reporter. One of Mr. Goulding's favorites, members of his family said yesterday, had him playing the owner of a factory that produced handmade paper clips.

When Bob, as the interviewer, elicited the fact that workers took home only one cent a day in pay and remarked that the amount seemed to make it awfully hard for them to make ends meet, Ray, as the owner, replied with only a touch of defensiveness: ''We don't like to get into prying. That's not our style.''

'We Had No Rivalry'

Mr. Elliott, who is currently performing on Garrison Keillor's ''American Radio Theater of the Air'' on public radio, said yesterday that although his partner's death was not unexpected, ''I have a terrible feeling of loss.''

''I think the main reason we worked well together was that we really appreciated each other, as opposed to some comedy teams,'' he said. ''We had no rivalry, just great mutual respect. We always got along well.''

Bob and Ray were known as hard workers, for many years being entirely responsible for producing, writing and performing in a live five-days-a-week broadcast and sandwiching in other appearances as well.

One of Mr. Goulding's six children, Bryant, said yesterday, ''I think Dad spent as much time over the years with Bob as with my mother.''

From Banter, a Career

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