Trained as an opera singer, John Raitt signed an MGM stock player contract in 1940, appearing in a series of unmemorable bit roles. He rose to stardom in the mid-'40s as Curley in the touring company of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Broadway smash Oklahoma. This led to his being cast in his most famous stage role, reckless carnival barker Billy Bigelow in the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Carousel (1945). The highlight of this production was Billy's eight-minute "Soliloquy," which Raitt would later claim was not as difficult as pretending to be dead for five minutes in the second act. In 1954 he starred with Janis Paige in the Ross-Adler Broadway musical The Pajama Game, introducing the Top 40 favorite "Hey There." He went on to co-star opposite Doris Day in the film version of Pajama Game in 1957, but didn't care for the experience and returned to his first love, the stage. For the rest of his lengthy career he would appear in straw hat and road show productions of Oklahoma, Carousel, Pajama Game, 1776, Show Boat, and Man of La Mancha, not to mention his countless one-man concerts and occasional TV appearances. John Raitt is the father of recording artist Bonnie Raitt.