He played in Glenn Miller"s band from 1940–1942 and appeared in the Glenn Miller movie Sun Valley Serenade before joining the United States. Navy during World War Two. After the war he formed his own group. The Ray Anthony Orchestra became very popular in the early 1950s, with "The Bunny Hop" and the "Hokey Pokey", as well as the theme music from Dragnet.
He had a #2 chart hit with a remake of the Glenn Miller tune, "At Last", in 1952, the highest charting popular version of the song in the United States.
In 1953, Anthony and his orchestra were featured when Helen O"Connell and Bob Eberly headlined a summer replacement program for Perry Como"s Columbia Broadcasting System television show.
From 1953-1954 Anthony was the musical director on the television series television"s Top Tunes, and he also appeared as himself in the 1955 film Daddy Long Legs. Their son Perry Ray was born March 18, 1956.
He then began expanding his own acting career. He starred in a short-lived television 1956-1957 variety show, The Ray Anthony Show.
Anthony also appeared in several films during the late 1950s, including The Five Pennies (where he portrayed Jimmy Dorsey), and Van Doren"s movies High School Confidential as "Bix" and Girls Town.
In the 1959-1960 television season, he guest starred in the episode "Operation Ramrod" of David Hedison"s espionage series Five Fingers on National Broadcasting Company. In 1957, Anthony and his orchestra recorded the soundtrack to the film This Could Be The Night, with vocals performed by Julie Wilson. Anthony also had a role in the film, playing himself. However, he continued his musical career and had another hit record with the theme from Peter Gunn, which reached #8 on Billboard"s popular chart.
Ray Anthony and his Bookends were active between the 1960s and 1980s, being the most notable single were "Christmas Kisses/Let Maine Walk With You", which was released in 1961 under the Capitol Records label.
Anthony was considered one of the most modern of the big band leaders. In the lyrics to "Opus One", which imagine a number of players performing the song, he is cited along with Les Brown and his Band of Renown:
Les Brown can make it renowned
And Ray Anthony could rock it for me
Anthony and his band were also featured in the movie, The Girl Can"t Help lieutenant, and were treated as one of the rockers in the line-up, but also shown in performances with Mansfield that are essential to the plot. Ray Anthony"s compositions include "Thunderbird", "Bunny Hop", "Trumpet Boogie", "Big Band Boogie", and "Mr.
In the early 1980s, Anthony formed Big Band "80s, other members including Buddy Rich, Harry James, Les Brown, and Alvino Rey.
Anthony, who has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, continues to be active as a bandleader and musician.
He is currently the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Among his pianists was Allen "Puddler" Harris, a native of Franklin Parish, Louisiana, who had been a member of the original Ricky Nelson band and Kellie Green, who also played the vibraphone.