Main > Series > Chapters > Fame Annual 1985 > The Stars of Fame: Gene Anthony Ray

Gene Anthony Ray was born and brought up in New York, and dancing has been an important part of his life ever since he can remember. “While I was growing up I was dancing all the time,” he says. “I didn't take any classes; I learned by watching my friends and by watching TV - I just learned to do it. I performed all the time.”

Gene did attend the School of Performing Arts (the school Fame is based on), but he was kicked out in his first year. That didn't stop him auditioning for a part in the Fame movie, though, and despite his lack of formal dance training he won out over the 3,000 others who were also trying out.

There's a lot of Gene in the part he was chosen for, Leroy Johnson. “The role in Fame was almost written for me before they even knew that I was around. Even though I didn't have any acting experience in the film it wasn't hard to play the part because most of it was me. I can really relate to the part because I have been Leroy Johnson in my younger days - though I'm not like that now!”

Gene got rave reviews for his part in the film, so he was the obvious choice to continue the role on television. “One thing I learned in dancing is that an encore is as important as the original performance,” he says. “That's why I liked the idea of reprising the Leroy role for TV. It's like putting on blue jeans and a comfortable pair of shoes . . . you know it fits.”


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