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George Raft Timeline

Sept. 26, 1895: Born as George Raft in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. Grows up with Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel.

1912: Leaves home at the age of thirteen.

1910s: He becomes a prizefighter, taxi-driver, ballroom dancer, but always maintains close connections with the mafia.

georgeraft.jpg1923: Marries Grace Mulrooney.

1928: Moves to Hollywood.

1929: Makes his film debut in Queen of the Night Clubs, playing Gigola.

March 31, 1932: Gets his big break with Scarface, playing Guino Rinaldo (the coin flipper) with Boris Karloff. He plays a gangster so convincingly that people make the connection between his convincing role and the fact he is good friends with gangster Bugsy Siegel. Raft doesn't deny or confirm that he's a gangster. He just lets the speculation grow. Because of this "negative" publicity, he gets all kinds of work.

Oct. 20, 1932: Plays Joe Anton in Night After Night with Mae West.

Dec. 2, 1932: Plays Eddie Jackson in If I Had a Million with Gary Cooper.

June 15, 1935: Plays Ed Beaumont in The Glass Key.

July 22, 1939: Plays 'Hood' Stacey in Each Dawn I Die with James Cagney.

Dec. 30, 1939: Plays Cliff Taylor in Invisible Stripes with Humphrey Bogart.

July 27, 1940: Plays Joe Fabrini in They Drive by Night with Humphrey Bogart.

Early 1940s: Courts Betty Grable.

1941: Turns down a role in The Maltese Falcon. Humphrey Bogart takes his role.

1941: Turns down a tole in High Sierra. Humphrey Bogart takes this role too. These two movies are credited as jump-starting Bogart's career. The refusal to star in these two movies leads to the eventual end of Raft's leading man status in Hollywood.

1942: He supposedly turns down the role in Casablanca as well. His reasoning is he doesn't want to be billed next to the unknown actress, Ingrid Bergman.

1944: Director Billy Wilder asks him to star in his movie Double Indemnity but he turns that down too. This poor decision mixed with the public being sick of his mobster lifestyle officially ends his leading man status in Hollywood.

1950s: With his career winding down he desperately tries to rekindle his career in Europe.

1953: Gets a starring role in the TV series I'm the Law which proves to be a bad decision on his part, hurting his revenue.

Sept. 17, 1954: Plays Dan Beaumonte in Rogue Cop with Janet Leigh.

1959: Castro closes his Havana casino taking another big chunk out of his income.

March 29, 1959: Plays Spats Colombo in Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis.

Aug. 10, 1960: Plays Jack Strager in Ocean's Eleven with Cesar Romero, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton, and Dean Martin.

1960s: The U.S. government nails him for back taxes.

1966: Britain forbids him entrance due to his mob connections.

1970: Grace Mulrooney, his ex-wife, dies. Even though he broke up with her ages ago, she never would officially divorce him, and they remained a good friends.

May 12, 1972: Plays Guido Scartucci in Hammersmith Is Out with Elizabeth Taylor.

1976: James Cagney publishes his autobiography Cagney By Cagney where he states that if it hadn't been for Raft using his mob ties back in the early 1940s to cancel a hit, Cagney would have been crushed by a hundred pound klieg light. At the time Cagney was the President of the Screen Actors Guild and did everything he could to prevent the mob from taking over the industry.

March 3, 1978: Plays himself in Sextette with Mae West.

Nov. 24, 1980: Dies of leukemia in Los Angeles, California, two days after his close friend Mae West's death.

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