Ray Sharkey: Wikis


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Ray Sharkey
Born Raymond Sharkey, Jr.
November 14, 1952(1952-11-14)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died June 11, 1993 (aged 40)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–1993
Spouse(s) Rebecca Wood (m. 1981–1986) «start: (1981)–end+1: (1987)»"Marriage: Rebecca Wood to Ray Sharkey" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Sharkey)
Carole Graham (m. 1988–1992) «start: (1988)–end+1: (1993)»"Marriage: Carole Graham to Ray Sharkey" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Sharkey)

Raymond "Ray" Sharkey, Jr. (November 14, 1952 – June 11, 1993) was an American actor best known for his role as Sonny Steelgrave in the television series Wiseguy.


Early life and career

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sharkey's father, Ray Sr., a professional drummer, abandoned the family when Sharkey was just five years old. He was raised by his mother, Cecelia, with assistance from her parents in Brooklyn's rough Red Hook neighborhood. After seeing the Broadway production of Hair at 17, Sharkey decided to become an actor and started studying acting at the H.B. Studio in New York City. In 1974, he made his film debut in The Lords of Flatbush. Sharkey would go on to appear in more than forty motion pictures and dozens of guest appearances on various television series.

In 1981, he won a Golden Globe Award for his performance in The Idolmaker. The following year, he was nominated for another Golden Globe for his role in The Ordeal of Bill Carney. In 1987, Sharkey landed the role of Sonny Steelgrave in the series Wiseguy.

Personal life

In 1981, Sharkey had a brief relationship with Italian actress Ornella Muti while filming the 1982 drama, Love and Money. The same year, he married actress Rebecca Wood. The union would end in 1986, reportedly due to Sharkey's drug abuse. In 1988, he married actress Carole Graham. That marriage would produce one daughter, Cecelia Bonnie Sharkey, in 1989. Again, the union ended in divorce in 1992. In 1991, Sharkey began a seven month relationship with model and actress, Elena Monica.[1]

Later years

Sharkey struggled with an addiction to cocaine and heroin throughout his career. He was involved in four drug-related car wrecks, two requiring microsurgery on his eyes. On July 30, 1992, while filming a guest spot on the tv series, The Hat Squad, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he was arrested for drug possession. Canadian customs officials, making a routine inspection of incoming cargo at the airport, discovered small amounts of cocaine and heroin in a black envelope being sent from Los Angeles, California to Sharkey. Police searched his hotel room and found an additional supply of drugs. He was jailed and later released on bail. He was promptly fired from The Hat Squad and replaced by actor Kim Coates.

Sharkey reportedly contracted the AIDS virus through his indiscriminate drug use and was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987. Despite his diagnosis, Ray remained in denial about his HIV positive status. Sharkey convinced himself he harbored a strain of HIV that would never endanger himself or anyone else. He told no one of his condition, and reportedly did not disclose the fact that he was HIV positive to women he was in intimate relationships with. [1]


In 1992, former girlfriend, Elena Monica, sued Sharkey for $52,000,000 for knowingly infecting her with the AIDS virus. Sharkey, still denying he had the virus despite rapidly deteriorating health, declined to challenge the suit. By default judgment, Monica won the suit, but received no money from Sharkey's estate because the actor had little.[1]

In 1993, Sharkey died of AIDS at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.[2] He is interred in Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York.


Year Film Role Notes
1974 The Lords of Flatbush Student
1976 Trackdown Flash
Hot Tomorrows Louis
1977 Stunts Paul Salerno Alternative title: Who Is Killing the Stuntmen?
1978 Who'll Stop the Rain Smitty Alternative title: Dog Soldiers
Paradise Alley Legs
1980 Heat Beat Ira
Willie & Phil Phil D'Amico
The Idolmaker Vincent "Vinnie" Vacarri
1982 Regina Roma Alternative title: Regina
Love and Money Byron Levin
Some Kind of Hero Sgt. Vinnie DiAngelo
1984 Du-beat-e-o duBEAT-e-o Alternative title: We're All Crazy Now
Body Rock Terrence
1985 Hellhole Silk Alternative title: Hell Hole
1986 Wise Guys Marco
No Mercy Angles Ryan
1987 P.I. Private Investigations Ryan
1989 Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills Frank
Wired Angel Velasquez
1990 27 Wagons Full of Cotton Silva Direct-to-video release
The Rain Killer Capra
Act of Piracy Jack Wilcox
1992 Zebrahead Richard Alternative title: The Colour of Love
Dead On: Relentless II Kyle Valsone
Round Trip to Heaven Stoneface
Caged Fear Warden Hayes
1993 Cop and a 1/2 Vinnie Fountain
Year Title Role Notes
1975 All in the Family Man at clinic 1 episode
Barney Miller Hold-Up Man
David Salas
2 episodes
The Jeffersons Robert Phelps 1 episode
1977 The Streets of San Francisco Benny Lester 1 episode
1981 The Ordeal of Bill Carney Bill Carney Television movie
1983 Rage Television movie
1985 Miami Vice Bobby Profile 1 episode
The Equalizer Geoffery Dryden 1 episode
Behind Enemy Lines Sgt. Max Zierman Television movie
1986 Faerie Tale Theatre Grand Vizier 1 episode
Crime Story U.S. Atty. Harry Breitel Television movie
1986-1987 Crime Story U.S. Atty. Harry Breitel 5 episodes
1987-1989 Wiseguy Sonny Steelgrave 10 episodes
1989 The Neon Empire Junior Molov Television movie
The Revenge of Al Capone Scarface Television movie
The Hitchhiker 1 episode
1990 The Take Dennis Television movie
Good Cops, Bad Cops Capt. Gerry Clemente Television movie
1991 The Man in the Family Sal Bavasso Unknown episodes
Riders in the Sky Spongehead 1 episode
1992 Chrome Soldiers Gabe Ricci Television movie
Jake and the Fatman Michael "Mickey" Daytona Da Silva 1 episode
In the Line of Duty: Street War Det. Victor Tomasino Television movie
The Ray Bradbury Theater The Father 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1981 Golden Globe Award Won Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy The Idolmaker
1982 Nominated Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV The Ordeal of Bill Carney
1988 Viewers for Quality Television Awards Won Founder's Award Wiseguy


External links

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