McRay's first experience in front of the camera was at age 5, on Romper Room. Backstage, he was introduced to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. The family moved to the Pacific Northwest, where his parents soon divorced. Robert was raised on various hippie communes, where education consisted of "Free-School" and any adjusting back into the public system proved difficult. Outwardly happy, he learned to cope by becoming a ventriloquist, often volunteering performances at Children's hospitals and elderly care centers as a member of the entertainment group "Volunteer Varieties". Shuffled between various schools, the family moved north to live on the S'Klallam Indian reservation, outside of Poulsbo Washington. Additional moves followed before he opted on an early military enlistment. At the young age of 17, he joined the United States Navy where he excelled in the new environment and was given the award of Naval Honorman. He went through Electronics School (BEEP) at the Naval Training Center in San Diego and then continued his education at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes Illinois, where he attended and graduated "Gunnery A school". He passed the SEAL qualification tests and was transferred to B.U.D.S training in Coronado California, where a knee injury cut short his ability to continue. He served the rest of his enlistment at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado and was honorably discharged in 1981. He returned to the Pacific Northwest, where he put himself through Broadcasting school by becoming a professional dancer. He graduated in 1983, a few weeks after his mother died.
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McRay moved to Southern California in the early 1980s and took a job behind the locker desk at the Hollywood YMCA. Eventually, a series of personal setbacks left him homeless. By the end of the decade he managed to turn things around by attaining success in a wide range of artistic careers. He has been a television and movie trailer producer for Disney/Touchstone, a casting director for two series as well as independent projects, a produced writer for both television and feature films and a successful actor. As an actor he has starred in several motion pictures, including Legend of the Phantom Rider, The Mob, and Double Crossed. His television credits include many television appearances, including being a series regular, playing Zzeban, a sidekick loyal to Conan, on the television series Conan the Adventurer. The character of Zzeban was a mute, and Robert devised a unique sign language (called "hyberion sign language" which contained over 180 unique signs so as to be faithful to the period of the show). Additional achievements include being a personal trainer for the entertainment industry. As a fitness consultant he has been a dedicated spokesman against the drug and supplement industry and has assisted in formulating programs and strategies for fitness centers and corporations. His contributions to the arts have gained him the reputation of being one of the world's best figure makers, where his Bighead mechanical sculptures have been commissioned by international performers and can be found in collections around the world. His larger-scale sculptures can be seen as both landmarks and commercial displays, including a 25-foot-tall Bigfoot sculpture in the Canadian town of Creston, British Columbia.
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- Oregonian newspaper. November 15, 1975
- Vancouver sesquicentennial records
- Ron Baillie School of Broadcast
- Television archives, IMDB database and actual records for television spots and theatrical trailers
- Letters of recommendation found on the Rober McRay website
- United States Navy records.