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Ray Rivas lacked the funds to complete medical school, having ‘squandered’ his savings by earning a Bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry and a Master’s degree in educational psychology. To rebuild his funds he took a job teaching biology and science at a high school in New Jersey.
Part of his duties at the school included helping the students shoot a 16-millimeter classroom film on their subjects: apparently, it was so well done that an article about it appeared in the Star Ledger, their local newspaper.
For some reason still unknown to this date, the New York Times picked up the article and wrote about it… and that writing was noticed by a neighbor of Ray’s who happened to be an up-and-coming game show host named Merv Griffin… who then knocked on Ray’s door to solicit help in the filming of a play he was producing with a small local theater group.
The rest is history. Over the next few years, Ray went from working with Merv Griffin’s company (where he helped develop Wheel of Fortune and served as associate producer), to ultimately winding up as a director of films and commercials with a production company located on the Samuel Goldwyn Studios lot.