John Gray was born at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire [Wales] on 1 October 1936, the son of Myrddin Gray and Elsie Irene (née Jones), of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. He was educated at Blundell's School, then Christ's College, Cambridge (MA; Scholar and Tancred Student), the Middle Eastern Centre, Oxford, and finally the American University in Cairo [Egypt]. In 1957 he married Anthoula, eldest daughter of Nicolas Yerasimou, of Nicosia, Cyprus; they had one son and two daughters.
After his National Service (1954-56), Gray joined the Foreign Service in 1962, and his diplomatic career included: MECAS [Middle East Centre of Arabic Studies] (1962); Bahrain Agency (1964); Foreign Office (1967); Geneva [Switzerland] (1970); Sofia [Bulgaria] (1974); Counsellor (Commercial), 1978, Counsellor and Head of Chancery, 1980, Jedda [Saudi Arabia]; Head of Maritime, Aviation and Environment Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1982-85); Ambassador to Lebanon (1985-88); Ambassador and UK Permanent Representative to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), Paris [France] (1988-92); Ambassador to Belgium (1992-96). After retiring from the diplomatic service, Gray served as Chairman of the OECD Information Policy Working Group (1980-82) and Rapporteur on the Study Team on Performance of OECD's Centre for Co-operation with European Economies in Transition (1994).
Sir John Gray died in October 2003.