Signed Note by George Raft - Autographs of Famous PeopleInv# AU1759 Autograph
Autographed note by the American actor George Raft.
George Raft (born George Ranft; September 26, 1901 – November 24, 1980) was an American film actor and dancer identified with portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s. A stylish leading man in dozens of movies, Raft is remembered for his gangster roles in Quick Millions (1931) with Spencer Tracy, Scarface (1932) with Paul Muni, Each Dawn I Die (1939) with James Cagney, Invisible Stripes (1939) with Humphrey Bogart, and Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot (1959) with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon; and as a dancer in Bolero (1934) with Carole Lombard and a truck driver in They Drive by Night (1940) with Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Bogart. Raft said he never regarded himself as an actor. "I wanted to be me," he said. George Raft was born in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, to a family of German descent, the son of Eva (née Glockner), a German immigrant, and Conrad Ranft, who was born in Massachusetts to German immigrant parents. His parents were married on November 17, 1895 in Manhattan. Raft's older sister Eva, known as Katie, was born on April 18, 1896. Raft's grandfather had emigrated from Germany and worked on merry-go-rounds and prospected for gold. His father worked in carnivals before settling in New York. Most obituaries cited Raft's year of birth as 1895, which he stated was correct when he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show seven months prior to his death. However, Raft is recorded in the New York City Birth Index as having been born on September 26, 1901 in Manhattan as "George Rauft" (although "Rauft" is likely a mistranscription of "Ranft"). The 1900 census for New York City lists his sister Katie as his parents' only child, with two children born and only one living. In the 1910 census, he is listed as eight years old. Raft grew up on 41st Street and worked as an errand boy and a fishwrapper after school. His parents sent him to live at his grandparents' house on 164th Street. He left school at the age of 12, and left home at 13. He worked as an apprentice electrician for a year, then boxed professionally for two years beginning at the age of 15. As Dutch Rauft, he fought 14 bouts, with nine victories, three defeats and two draws. Another account says that Raft fought 25 bouts and was knocked out seven times. Raft played minor-league baseball, reportedly with Springfield of the Eastern League, as a utility outfielder with pitching aspirations. However, his batting was poor and he was dropped. "I was just trying to find something that I liked that would make me a living," said Raft later. "I saw guys fighting, so I fought. I saw guys playing ball, so I played ball. Then I saw guys dancing... and getting paid for it!"