Ann Willis Ratray, the renowned acting coach and mother of Home Alone actor Devin Ratray, died on June 9 at her New York City home. Her family, including her husband, actor Peter Ratray, was by her side. She was 81.
"Ann Willis Ratray, actress, artist, model, Miss America pageant winner, teacher, wife, and mother, passed away June 9, approximately 8:42 p.m.," Devin wrote on Instagram on June 9. "She was in her bed surrounded by her family. The family requests privacy until a memorial service can be announced, and appreciates your sentiments in advance." In addition to Devin and Peter, she is also survived by her son, photographer Luke Ratray; sister Sue Zogilo; brothers David Willis and Douglas Willis; and her grandson, Riley Ratray.
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Ratray was born in Cranson, Rhode Island, and had six siblings. Her family struggled financially, but she found money for schooling after winning the Miss Rhode Island title in 1958. She competed in the Miss America pageant, winning Miss Congeniality. She used the prize money to fund her education at the Rhode Island School of Design and New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1964, Ratray earned her first major stage role, starring in a production of Separate Rooms in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. During the production, she met Peter, whom she married in 1966. Her death came just days before the couple would have marked their 55th wedding anniversary, reports The Los Angeles Times. Ratray's biggest stage role was in Mame opposite angela Lansbury on Broadway. After the show's success, Ratray and Peter moved to Hollywood, where they worked in television and theater. She only appeared in a handful of movies and TV shows while in Hollywood. In 1975, Ratray and Peter played Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in Train Ride to Hollywood.
The Ratrays continued acting together throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The family moved back to New York when Peter was cast in the daytime TV series Another World. Ratray appeared on Broadway in a 1981 production of George Bernard Shaw's Candida and in the 2003 play Bobbi Boland with Farrah Fawcett.
Ratray's second career as an acting coach began in 1990 when Devin was cast as Macaulay Culkin's on-screen brother in Home Alone. Ratray was Devin's acting coach on the set, and she was inspired to make this her new career. She became a sought-after acting coach for young talent. Some of her students included Merritt Weaver (Nurse Jackie), YaYa DaCosta (Chicago Med), Kaitlyn Nichol (Black-ish), Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris), and David Alvarez, who stars in the upcoming West Side Story remake.