Ratoff was born in Samara, Russia to Jewish parents, Benjamin and Sophie Ratner, and arrived in the United States in 1922. He married actress Eugenie Leontovich in 1923 (they divorced in 1949). He returned to the United States, passing through Ellis Island in July 1925. On the steerage passenger list of the SS Mauretania he was listed as Gregoire Ratoff; for next of kin he listed his mother, Mme. Sophie Ratner of Paris. Ratoff directed Intermezzo (1939) and the pro-Soviet propaganda feature film Song of Russia (1944). He was one of the two producers (with Michael Garrison) to have purchased and developed the original rights to the James Bond franchise from Ian Fleming in 1955.
^The Social Security Death Index gives Ratoff's date of birth as April 20, 1893; however his mother's naturalization papers at fold3.com give his date of birth as April 7, 1895, and other sources, including his gravestone, cite April 20, 1897.