Actor and writer Spalding Gray was born on this day in 1941. Gray was best known for the autobiographical monologues he wrote and performed as well as for his films including the critically acclaimed Swimming to Cambodia and Gray’s Anatomy.

Born in Providence, Gray grew up in Barrington and summered in Newport. After graduating from Emerson College, he moved to San Francisco and later New York City to begin his acting career. He was first recognized for his monologue Swimming to Cambodia, a story about his time in Thailand where he had a small role in making the film The Killing Fields.

Gray had acting roles in numerous films including Beaches, Glory Daze, and Kate and Leopold. He worked with award-winning directors Steven Soderburgh and Jonathan Demme, among others.

Gray, who had a history of depression, committed suicide in 2004, after suffering severe injuries in a traffic accident a few years earlier.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music for What'sUpNewp, SO RI, Folk Radio UK and more. He's also a DJ Tuesday night 6-9PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.