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Ray was born in Brighton. At the age of 16 he became an ASM and spent the next five years in various repertory companies around the country and also had a spell as a Redcoat at Butlins.
He first appeared on stage in London in 1968 in Backbone at the Royal Court Theatre and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg at Greenwich. In 1974, he co-starred with Maggie Smith in Snap at the Vaudeville Theatre, and in 1975/6 was at the Garrick Theatre in Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends. In 1977 he returned to Greenwich to appear in Singles and in 1979 was at the Queen's Theatre in And a Nightingale Sang, playing opposite Gemma Jones. From the summer of 1981 through to May 1982, he was with the National Theatre in their production of On the Razzle playing opposite Felicity Kendal.
Over the years, his television credits have included Cathy Come Home, The Raging Moon for BBC/TV, The Office Party - an 'Armchair Theatre' for Thames, The Cherry Orchard - a BBC/TV Play of the Month, Softly Softly, The Expert, Doomwatch, Wittgenstein II (one of the Black and Blue series for BBC/TV), Brotherly Love for London Weekend and Couples for Thames, Two People for London Weekend, A Touch of the Tiny Hacketts for BBC/TV, one of Granada's 'Aspects of Love' series Office Romance, the Anglia TV serial Death of an Expert Witness and one of the Rumpole of the Bailey series for Thames.
He played 'Robby Box' in three series of Big Deal for BBC/TV, 'Max Wild' in Running Wild for London Weekend, 'Eddie Weary' in The World of Eddie Weary for Yorkshire Television, 'Tom' in Growing Pains (two series) for BBC/TV produced by Richard Bramall, Woof for Central Television, and six episodes of Skimp for Third Eye Productions. For Channel 4 he recorded the voice of the narrator on All Aboard the Cat Bus for the Comedy Lab. From 2005 to 2007 he appeared in the BBC Series Eastenders as Joe Macer, Pauline Fowler's husband. Ray is well known for his narration work for children's TV show Mr Benn. He has also read several short stories on Jackanory and does a considerable amount of radio work.