Icon Photographer Bill Ray

Bill Ray

Born in Shelby, Nebraska, Bill Ray’s photojournalism career began at the Lincoln Journal newspaper the day after his high school graduation. By the time he was 20, he was photographing for LIFE, the world’s premier picture magazine. Based in New York, Hollywood, and Paris, he traveled the globe photographing major events in American cultural history, wars, and the world’s most fascinating personalities.

During his tenure with LIFE, Bill covered the national visit of Nikita Kruschev, Elvis Presley leaving for Germany, Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK, and the first Super Bowl. Some of the high notes of his music assignments were Bob Dylan & George Harrison at the Concert for Bangladesh, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Charlie Mingus, and many more.

After LIFE’s demise in 1972, Bill went on to photograph 46 covers for Newsweek and create many picture stories for the world’s leading publications, including Fortune, Smithsonian, and Archaeology magazines. He currently lives in New York with his wife Marlys and they continue to travel and document wonders around the world.

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