Hello once again to another walk down Memory Lane via Dead Man's Gulch, a fog-laden mire and deserted streets where the prairie weed is blowing down the road and doors creak in the wind. I hope you all survived Halloween and were out trick or treating. I was tempted to earn a few bob scaring people until I was advised in my case I could be arrested for demanding money with menaces. I had no desire to be sent down the river and be banged up, especially being a distinguished-looking stud muffin.

I am currently reading a book about Colin Clive, who starred in the first Frankenstein film opposite Boris Karloff, the superb Monster, playing the mad Baron. That was about 90 years ago and Colin made only a handful of films before his drink-related early death in the 1930s. His ashes were never collected so were later spread over a communal grave. He merits a really good book.

This week I recall a conversation with another actor who started his career in Borehamwood and who went on to become an Oscar-winning Hollywood star but is all but forgotten today. Indeed I cannot recall even seeing a biography of him, although lesser names have attracted authors.

I am speaking about Ray Milland, who enjoyed a lengthy career from the late 1920s until the 1980s. Ray told me how his career began at Elstree Studios. "I was employed to be a sharp shooter on a picture being made due to my military training. Then another film was about to go into production but the leading man broke his leg and the casting director said you would look good on screen and I was cast. I was then spotted by a talent scout from Paramount and before I knew it I was offered a contract and taken off to Hollywood. In the 1930s I was cast in leading man roles so I settled in America. It was a long way from Boreham Wood, which at that time was still very rural."

Ray went on to enjoy stardom and won an Oscar for his performance in The Lost Weekend. He told me "by the late 1940s I was losing my hair but that was a no-no for stars so I joined the likes of John Wayne and Bing Crosby and started to wear a wig on screen. After a certain time your days as a leading man start to fade so you can retire, as did Cary Grant and James Cagney, or carry on into character roles, which I chose. I removed my wig for the big box office hit Love Story in the 1970s and have enjoyed myself ever since because acting is the only career I have known."

In his private life Ray suffered the loss of his son from suicide. That may account in part for the fact that during his latter years he often played grumpy old men.

Ray told me he made a couple of films at MGM in Borehamwood in the 1950s. "In one of the films I had to jump from a plane and the plot included me taking parachute training at an RAF base. We then needed to shoot a scene in a flying aircraft and I was rigged with a parachute. The plane encountered some problems and I thought I might have to jump for real. I was ready but luckily it landed safely. I told the story to one of the prop lads and he said I am so glad you did not jump as this is a dummy parachute! "

Ray died from cancer in 1986 and his ashes were scattered at sea. Fame is a fickle thing, especially in showbiz, but I like to remember stars of yesteryear and so until next time take care as I need companions to walk down Memory Lane.