Title: Director, Actor, Producer
Company: Reiss Productions
Location: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Raymond J. Reiss, Producer, Actor and Director at Reiss Productions, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the entertainment industry.
Fondly recalling watching “The Wizard of Oz” while seated on his mother’s lap as a child, Mr. Reiss has loved film for as long as he can remember. He embarked on his career in entertainment between his sophomore and junior year of high school, traveling the carnival circuit during this time as well as while he studied at Wichita State University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and anthropology in 1968. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1970 as a vault librarian with Navy Intelligence before entering the U.S. Navy Reserves, where he would serve a total of nine years. In 1971, he completed a film course from Lance Hayes at Wichita State University. Under the guidance of Mr. Hayes, Mr. Reiss had the opportunity to make the sort of film that he wouldn’t have been able to make under another instructor. It propelled him headfirst into his career in entertainment. In 1971, Mr. Reiss returned to San Francisco to finish his studies in parapsychology at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California, which he completed in 1978.
In 1975, Mr. Reiss co-hosted a cable TV show in San Francisco. From 1976 to 1979, he created “Holograms” under Laseray, alongside Vincent DiBiase, an innovative holographer. Mr. Reiss also possesses an original, early multiplex, moving hologram created by Lloyd Cross and Michael Conn. In 1980, he returned to Kansas and tried his hand at governmental service. He helped found the city of Park City, Kansas and was elected the city’s first mayor, serving for three terms between 1981 and 1989. After leaving that position, he was awarded a Certificate of Recognition and The Key to the City. He also had a street and a court named in his honor in Park City.
Presently a director, actor and producer with his own company, Reiss Productions, Mr. Reiss has been involved with a number of films, television shows and documentaries. He has had notable roles in “Insecurity” as a chief executive officer of an oil company that is running for governor, and also, a German TV production as a redneck in 2018. Attributing much of his success to his enthusiasm and love of the creative process, he is deeply grateful for the influences and guidance from Lance Hayes, Leif Jonker and Fritz Robinson. Mr. Reiss has directed and produced three documentaries with Mr. Robinson: “New Cinema: Reflections of Ol’ Flick and a Few Friends,” “Lights, Camera, Wichita,” and “Encounter with Burt Lancaster,” which were released in 2020. Other work of Mr. Reiss includes a 40 minute documentary that he directed and produced in 2006/2007.
In order to keep abreast of developments in his field, Mr. Reiss maintains his professional affiliation with the Tallgrass Film Alliance, which is associated with the Tallgrass Film Festival that runs annually for five days in Wichita, Kansas. The Doc Sunback Film Festival of 2021, in Mulvane, Kansas, showcased Mr. Reiss’ film “Lights, Camera, Wichita” as the opening film of its festival.
Mr. Reiss is a licensed magician through the International Brotherhood of Magicians; originally joining the organization in 1981. He shares these talents whenever he is able.
Mr. Reiss believes life is to be lived to the fullest and one should enjoy the ride. His guilty pleasures over the years have been numerous. They include managing the Crown Uptown Theatre in Wichita, Kansas for a few years; had a part as an orderly in “Mars Attacks!”; worked with Monique Gabrielle, Kane Hodder (Jason), Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface), and Linda Blair; was Cloris Leachman’s chauffeur for a few days; been on the Wichita Business Journal twice; and played Dracula for over 20 years. The best thing is that Mr. Reiss is still in love with “the little girl from next door” from the mid-1950s, Jane Reiss…forever and always.
Mr. Reiss hopes to be the person that when he dies, he didn’t want to have missed anything, and at this point, he doesn’t think that he has missed much!
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