BiographyOrange, New Jersey, USA
Born in Orange, New Jersey, Conway was the son of vaudevillians -- his father was an acrobat and juggler, his mother, a singer and pianist. Conway studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School in New York. In 1937, he joined the Group Theater as an assistant stage manager and had a walk-on part as a boxing arena employee in Harold Clurman's original 1937 staging of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy." Within a year, Conway was playing a lead, as a reform school youth in "Dance Night," staged by Lee Strasberg. Read more... he played minor parts in William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Elia Kazan's interracial drama Pinky (1949), and had small roles in other films. Conway began directing in 1947 at the Actors Lab in Hollywood, and he directed the first interracial production of "Golden Boy" for the Negro Art Theater in Los Angeles. But in 1950, caught up in the Hollywood blacklist era and finding film job offers drying up, Conway returned to New York. After working as an understudy in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," during which he got to play Biff Loman "for one glorious week," Conway went on to direct "Hedda Gabler" and "La Ronde" at the Actors Lab. He subsequently directed an off-Broadway revival of "Deep Are the Roots" and made appearances with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. In addition to road company productions of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" and "On a Clear Day", he had small roles in the movies The Three Musketeers (1948), Little Big Man (1970), and The Arrangement (1969) and on TV's St. Elsewhere (1982). Conway also worked in local theater productions. With Los Angeles' Group Repertory, he had roles in Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays" and in Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!" Conway was preceded in death by his wife of 21 years, Aletta, and his brother. He is survived by a son, Robin of Mission Hills, and two grandchildren.