René Ray was a popular actress in 1930s movies who later achieved success on the stage before embarking on a writing career. Born in London in 1911, she began her professional life as a singer and made her big-screen debut (billed as Renee Ray) in 1928, in the pacifist science fiction film High Treason, directed by Maurice Elvey. That movie -- considered notable as one of the very earliest talking pictures ever made in England (although the sound source has deteriorated so severely that it has been handed down to us as a silent, in addition to an official silent version prepared at the time) -- featured Ray in a small but colorful part, as a young woman drafted into the futuristic army of 1950. She was busy throughout the decade that followed, in movie musicals such as Street Song (1935) and Beloved Imposter (1936) as well as numerous comedies and dramas, often in good supporting parts rather than leading roles. Ray made her West End debut in J.B. Priestley's play Bees on the Boat Deck, but it wasn't until the 1940s that she found much success in the theater, working in productions of The Admirable Chrichton and Claudia, among other popular plays. Ray spent most of the war years entertaining the troops, and didn't resume her screen career until 1947. That year, she received and accepted an offer to come to America to work in the Deborah Kerr/Angela Lansbury vehicle If Winter Comes. She was later directed by Sir Cedric Hardwicke on Broadway in An Inspector Calls. By the end of the 1940s, however, Ray had already discovered that she was far more stimulated by writing than by acting. She continued to do theater work and occasional screen appearances, in movies and on television, scoring a success on-stage with her performance in Women of Twilight (which she later brought to the big screen), but writing was her primary interest from the mid-'50s onward. In 1956, Ray joined the then-rarified ranks of female science fiction authors when she wrote the novel and teleplay The Strange World of Planet X, which was presented on Britain's ITV network. The latter proved so successful that it led to the publication of the book the following year and the production of a feature-film adaptation (released in America as The Cosmic Monsters). Ray spent most of the rest of her career as a writer, and in 1975 married the 2nd Earl of Middleton, which made her Countess of Middleton during the final 18 years of her life.