Renowned Broadway singer John Raitt (father to blues-rock singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt) was born on January 19, 1917, in Santa Ana, CA, and began his singing career with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. From there, Raitt was signed by MGM, which led to appearances in stage productions of Flight Command, Billy the Kid, and Ziegfeld Girl.
But it was his role as Curly in a national company of the musical Oklahoma! that brought Raitt to the attention of Rodgers and Hammerstein, who cast Raitt in perhaps his best-known role in 1945: the star of the long-running Carousel on Broadway. Raitt's performance (which included such now-Broadway standards as "If I Loved You" and "Soliloquy") led to numerous accolades, including being voted Best Performance of the Year By an Actor in a Musical by the New York Drama Critics. Subsequently, Raitt remained a star on Broadway, acting in numerous other productions, in addition to acting in film and TV and appearing on several soundtrack albums from his Broadway shows (Carousel, The Pajama Game, Annie Get Your Gun, Show Boat, etc.). Raitt's contributions to musical theater didn't go unnoticed, as he has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.