We've had a few earlier entries here on Carole Lombard's relationship with George Raft (here both shown with Gloria Swanson). Well, imagine you had an uncle who was a close friend of Raft and knew Lombard, too. The good news is, you don't have to imagine.
A man named Robert is an occasional visitor to this site (calling it "very thorough"), and his uncle was a man named Mack Gray (1905-1981). Gray, who hailed from Brooklyn, was a longtime friend of Raft's and played bit parts in films from 1929's "Applause" to "Sergeants 3" and "Who's Got The Action?" in 1962, usually playing gangsters or bartenders. He appears, unbilled, in the two Lombard-Raft films, as a club patron in "Bolero" and as an assistant dance director in "Rumba." In fact, here's a picture, courtesy of Robert, of Lombard and Raft in "Bolero":
Robert writes, "That's Mack under the camera boom seat in what looks like a white tie and the guy in front of him in the dark sports jacket with the white handkerchief is the director, Wesley Ruggles."
A year later, Raft dropped by the set of Lombard's film "Hands Across The Table," and you can see Mack on the left:
Mack Gray's nickname was "Killer"...and it was supplied by Lombard. As Robert notes, "he had a hernia once and the Jewish word for it is killa so she started calling him Killah and it became an inside joke for decades." In fact, Lombard reportedly had extras with toy pistols stand guard outside his hospital room while he recuperated.
Mack dated his share of actresses, including a player under contract to Columbia in the mid-thirties. Her name? Lucille Ball, who soon became a good friend of Carole's.
We thank Robert for forwarding us these fascinating images and giving us an added glimpse of Lombard (and golden-age Hollywood) in action. We only hope that more people who have rare Lombard photos or stories, relayed through relatives and friends who worked with her, come to light.