Jane Phillips: People who once walked the streets of Kinston: A talented actor and dedicated teacher
Young Ed Grady was born to Eddie and Maude Grady in Kinston on August 31, 1923. As a boy, he played with his brother Robert on the streets and school yards of the city. He attended Grainger High School where he was a star football player for the Red Devils.
The Second World War was raging when he graduated and felt a need to serve, just as many young men of that time. He entered the Air Force Cadet program and was trained as a cryptographer. While serving in the Pacific off the coast of Okinawa, he pulled a pilot from a burning P-47. He later received the Soldier’s Medal for heroism for that deed.
After the war, Grady attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied Theater and English. His love for acting took hold and he became a member of the Carolina Playmakers. After graduation, Grady enjoyed many years of being a drama and English teacher in high schools in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina. Co-workers have said, “He was an inspirational person and his students had pride in being in his classes and plays”.
Grady worked on stage, along with movie, television productions and in outdoor drama. Once the movie studio opened in Wilmington in the 1980s, it got his attention and as the years rolled by, he was no stranger to that scene. His retirement years allowed him the time to really get involved in acting and he thrived on the opportunity to fine tune his acting craft.
Among some of his many television appearances have been "Chiefs," "Cold Sassy Tree," "Dawson's Creek," "Deadly Pursuits," "Miracle in the Woods," "Night of the Hunter," "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," "Queen," "Surface," "The Lost Capone," "The Yearling," Hallmark Hall of Fame "To Dance With the White Dog," Matlock, and "William Faulkner's Old Man".
Grady was a performer in the summer outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” at Cherokee, N.C. for a number of years.
Some of his Film rolls were in "Lady Grey" (1980), "Reuben, Reuben" (1983), "D.A.R.Y.L." (1985), "From the Hip" (1987), "Chattahoochee" (1990), "The Handmaid's Tale" (1990), "Modern Love" (1990), “Not Without My Daughter (1991), "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" (1991), "Black Rainbow" (1992), "Consenting Adults" (1992), "Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice" (1993), “A Simple Twist of Fate" (1994), "Lolita" (1998), "The Closest Thing to Heaven" (1997), and "The Notebook" (2004).
Edward Louis Grady, actor and teacher, who once walked the streets of Kinston did it again during the summer in the 1990s when he came to Kinston to attend a Red Devil Reunion. While here, he visited my home. Genealogy brought us together. He is a distant cousin of mine. We share the same ancestor, Lark Hodges, who lived during the times just before the Civil War. When he came to visit, I opened my front door and there stood this tall handsome elderly gentleman with the most beautiful mane of silver wavy hair. I found him so charming as we talked. I learned he had just completed an interactive video. It was called “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and he was Capt. Nemo. At that time, I did not know what an interactive video was. He gave me pictures taken on the set. It had not been released to the public and not sure if it ever was. I was impressed with this new-found cousin but never had the opportunity to see him again. Proud to call him cousin.
Seven years ago, this December, Ed passed away in Columbia, S.C., where he had made his home for many years. Grady was preceded in death by his first wife, Jayne Elliott Grady. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Carolyn F. Ramsay of Columbia, SC; two children, Marta Grady, of Snellville, Ga. (a Facebook friend), and Sean Grady. He has many cousins living in Lenoir County today.
Source: University of South Carolina Library – Ed Grady Screenplay Collection, 1983-2001 Obituary: Cherokee One Feather
Obituary: Hickory Record
Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2012 By Harris M. Lentz III