Bill Saluga, a comedian who became known for his signature line “You can call me Ray”, has passed away. He turned 85.
Saluga spent eight months in the hospital and died March 28 at a Los Angeles hospice, his friend Bill Minkin said. The Hollywood Reporter.
Born September 16, 1937, he was from Youngstown, Ohio, and later worked as a doorman at The Bitter End in New York before taking the stage at the famed nightclub as a member of the Ace Trucking Company. The improv comedy troupe enjoyed great success in the 1960s and 1970s, with founding members including Saluga, George Memmoli, Michael Mislove, Patti Deutsch, and Fred Willard.
The Ace Trucking Company even opened for Tom Jones in Las Vegas and made jokes on the singer’s ABC variety show, which was filmed in London.
Saluga’s Raymond J. Johnson Jr. is one of his most notable characters during comedy skits where he came up with his famous catchphrase, “You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me…” and continued the play before ending it with “but you don’t have to call me Johnson.”
Saluga also played Richard Lewis’s uncle in three episodes of HBO’s Control your enthusiasm in 2005 and was an usher in 1992 Seinfeld episode “The Usher.”
Throughout his career, he performed in other shows, including Red Foxx, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The David Steinberg Show, Crazy about you, Blossom, Renovation, sisters And Murphy Brown.