Remains of Alaska Native actor Ray Mala buried in Anchorage cemetery
He was a Hollywood actor who was born in the Northwest Alaska village of Candle in 1906. But Ray Mala didn't let his unlikely start-stop him from becoming a star.
Mala moved to Hollywood in the late 1920s where he became the first Alaska Native actor to make it big in the movie business. He worked in front of the camera but also behind.
He acted in over 27 films, including a starring role in the movie Eskimo in 1932. The film would later go on to earn the first Academy Award for film editing.
Mala died in 1952 and his wife, Galina died the following year. For 65 years, the couple's remains rested in a Hollywood cemetery. That changed on Monday.
Their son, Dr. Ted Mala, succeeded in a three-year fight to bring his parents home from California to Alaska. On Monday, their cremated remains were interred at the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery. A place Ted Mala said, where they belonged.
"It just feels good to have a sense of place and know that one of our own came home," said Mala. "That a person can come from a village without even a high school education and change the world, is amazing, so he needs to be here."
The ceremony was attended by family and friends, many of whom flew down from Northwestern Alaska to take part. They expressed pride in a man who had walked in two worlds but had finally come home to rest.
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