|Gil Rogers as Ray Gardner|
|All My Children|
|Portrayed by||Gil Rogers|
|Current status||Former; Recurring|
|Duration||1977-79, 1982, 1993-94, 1999, 2001|
|Cause/reason||Appeared to Tad in spirit|
|Cause of death||Bomb exploded in his arms|
|Residence||Pine Valley, Pennsylvania (at time of death)|
Ray Gardner is a fictional character from the ABC soap opera, All My Children, portrayed by Gil Rogers.
Ray Gardner saw dollar signs when Joe Martin contacted him. He had told Dr. Martin that his wife was dead, and all that he had left was his son Tad Martin. He was willing to allow the Martins to adopt Tad for the lump sum of $10,000. Joe was insulted by Ray’s proposition and told him he would take his chances in the courts. After all, Ray had left Tad on the side of the street to die when the Martins found him. Ray got a call from Ruth Martin begging forgiveness for Joe’s hasty departure. She wanted to see if the offer still stood. She accidentally led on that they lived in Pine Valley. Ray was on the first plane there.
Ray arrived at the Martin door to claim his reward. Tad was terrified at the very site of the man who had abused and abandoned him. Ray demanded $15,000 from the Martins after seeing their home. Ruth told Ray that he was not going to get a cent from the Martins. Ray could not believe Ruth so easily stood up to him. He wanted to teach Ruth a lesson. He waited for Ruth at a deserted parking lot. With no one around, he raped her. Ray hid out at Edna Thornton’s cabin. He had convinced her that she needed protection because David was never home. He needed some cash, so he left for Center City to cash in a pendant he had stolen from Ruth. Unfortunately, he did not anticipate news from Pine Valley to travel as quickly as it did. Phil Brent arrived on the scene, but was easily incapacitated. It was Billy Clyde Tuggle who would bring Ray down with a surprise stabbing to the gut. Ray was taken into custody. With a written testimony by Ruth, Ray was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He also had to sign over his parental rights to Tad. Ray was not content in prison and quickly plotted his way out. By years end, he succeeded in escaping and made his way back to Pine Valley.
Ray made his way to Edna’s cabin. Only this time, Edna knew exactly who he was. Ray took the Thorntons hostage while he figured out how he was going to escape Pine Valley and make the Martins pay. Chuck Tyler and Donna Tyler were passing through the woods when Ray abducted them too.
Ray’s plot came apart when he sent for a doctor to help Chuck, whom he had accidentally shot. Instead of a doctor, police officer Phil Brent was sent in. He overtook Ray, and freed the hostages. Ray was taken back into custody.
Ray’s monotonous days in prison were happily interrupted with the arrival of someone he had not seen in a long time, his beloved daughter Jenny. Jenny needed to hear from Ray if what she had read in the paper was true. Did he rape Ruth Martin? Ray could not lie to her. Jenny told her father she never wanted to see him again. Ray was infuriated. The Martins had turned his own daughter against him. Ray vowed his revenge.
Ray managed an early parole. He tracked down his wife, Opal Gardner, to her new salon The Glamoramma. Ray demanded that Opal give him shelter. He then got a job with Daisy Cortlandt as a waiter for her daughter’s anniversary party. The Martins were all in attendance. Ray spotted the newest Martin, Joey Martin, at his mother’s side. He was going to take him just like the Martins had taken his own son. But, he plans were foiled when an unidentified sniper almost shot Chuck Tyler. Ray decided he needed to destroy all the Martins at once. In the backroom of the salon, he began working on a bomb. While playing with dynamite, Ray accidentally set off a small explosion that injured him severely. He was taken to the hospital where Joe discovered him. Ray feigned blindness so as to set the Martins off about his plans. He set the bomb to explode on New Year’s Eve. But, Greg Nelson discovered him. He told Ray Jenny was in the house. Ray took the bomb and ran out of the cellar. The device exploded in his arms, killing him instantly.
Ray’s spirit returned to haunt his son Tad. Tad had fallen into a coma after the ceiling in the Martin family living room fell in on him.