Ray Teal (January 12, 1902[note 1] – April 2, 1976) was an American actor who appeared in more than 250 films and some 90 television programs in his 37-year career. His longest-running role was as Sheriff Roy Coffee on NBC's western series Bonanza (1960–1972). He also played a sheriff in the film Ace in the Hole (1951).
|Ray Elgin Teal|
January 12, 1902|
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
April 2, 1976 (aged 74)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
He had a recurring role as a police officer in the 1953–1955 ABC sitcom with a variety show theme, Where's Raymond?, renamed The Ray Bolger Show. Ray Bolger played Raymond Wallace, a song-and-dance man who was repeatedly barely on time for his performances. Others on the series were Richard Erdman, Allyn Joslyn, Betty Lynn, Sylvia Lewis, Gloria Winters, and Verna Felton.
In 1955, Teal portrayed a ruthless cattle baron in the episode "Julesburg" of the ABC/Warner Bros. Western series, Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker in the title role. Altogether, Teal appeared five times on Cheyenne, the first hour-long Western series on a major network. In 1950, he appeared in the episode of The Lone Ranger titled "Never Say Die" as Matt Dooley. In 1955, he appeared in episode 175 of The Lone Ranger. He later appeared in a guest-starring role in another ABC/WB Western series, The Alaskans, starring Roger Moore. From 1957 to 1962, Teal was cast three times in different roles on another long-running Western series, Wagon Train. He also appeared in an episode of The Rifleman and later in Green Acres.
In 1957, Teal played a lawman, Captain McNelly, in the episode "Sam Bass" of NBC's Tales of Wells Fargo, with Dale Robertson as agent Jim Hardie and Chuck Connors in the role of the outlaw Sam Bass. Teal was cast as Fenster in "The Bounty Hunters" (1957) on the ABC Western series, Broken Arrow, starring John Lupton and Michael Ansara.
In 1958, Teal guest-starred with Beverly Washburn in "No Tears for the Dead" on the CBS Western series, The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun. He appeared too in the CBS sitcom, Dennis the Menace, starring Jay North. Also in 1958, Teal was cast as Yotts Meyer in the episode "Hangtown" of the NBC Western series, The Californians, and played a crooked sheriff in the episode "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick" opposite James Garner in the Warner Bros. series Maverick.
Teal appeared twice in another ABC/WB Western, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. In the series finale entitled "The Trespassers" (1960), Teal played Mike O'Tara. Others in the guest cast were Pamela Duncan, Lee Van Cleef, Gary Vinson, and Arthur Space, as Belle O'Tara, the Indian Red Feather, Lieutenant Sims, and Colonel Tomkin, respectively.
In 1960, he was cast as Sheriff Clay, along with other guest-stars Charles Bronson, William Fawcett, and Stella Stevens, in the episode "Zigzag" of Darren McGavin's NBC Western series, Riverboat, with Darren McGavin.
In 1962, Teal portrayed Mr. Todd in the episode entitled "The Tall Shadow" of the NBC modern Western drama, Empire, starring Richard Egan as New Mexico rancher Jim Redigo. That same year, he was cast as Sam Thorpe in the episode "Step Forward" of the NBC police drama set in New York City, 87th Precinct. He portrayed in 1962 the character Alvin Greaves in "Unwanted: Dead or Alive" of the syndicated adventure series The Everglades, starring Ron Hayes. In 1962 and 1963, he was cast four times, three as the character Frank Higgins, on the Earl Holliman Western series about the rodeo, Wide Country.
In 1963, Teal appeared as murder victim Joe Downing in the CBS courtroom drama series Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Shifty Shoebox".
Teal was a bit-part player in Western films for several years before landing a substantial role in Northwest Passage (1940). Another of his roles was as Little John in The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946). Notable film roles include playing one of the judges in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) with Spencer Tracy and an indulgent bar owner to Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in The Wild One (1953). This was the second of three times that Teal appeared with Brando, having done so already as a drunk in Brando's debut in The Men (1950) and later in Brando's only directorial effort, One-Eyed Jacks (1961), as a bartender.
He died of undisclosed causes at age 74 in Santa Monica, California.