NICHOLAS RAY, American film director died (b. 1911); A bisexual and heavy user of drugs and alcohol, Ray found himself increasingly shut out of the Hollywood film industry in the early 1960s.
After collapsing on the set of 55 Days at Peking (1963), he would not direct again until the mid-1970s. In 1970 at a Grateful Dead concert at the Fillmore East, Ray ran into Dennis Hopper, who asked Ray to join him at his ranch in Taos, New Mexico, where Hopper was editing his new film, The Last Movie. Hopper helped Ray secure a position at Harper College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University in upstate New York. From 1971 to 1973, Ray taught filmmaking where he and his students produced We Can’t Go Home Again, an autobiographical film employing multiple superimpositions.
In the spring of 1972, Ray was asked to show some footage from the film at a conference. The audience was shocked to see footage of Ray and his students smoking marijuana together. An early version of the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, but Ray, never satisfied with the project, continued editing it until his death in 1979. Shortly before his death he collaborated on the direction of Lightning Over Water (also known as Nick’s Film) with German director Wim Wenders. He died of lung cancer on June 16, 1979 in NYC.