These are my favorite B western stars i remember as a Kid
Clayton Moore grew up in Chicago, Illinois and although his father wanted him to become a doctor, he had visions of something a little more glamorous. Naturally athletic, he practiced gymnastics during family summer vacations in Canada, eventually joining the trapeze act The Flying Behrs at 19. During the 1934 Chicago World's Fair...
Born Gordon Nance in 1904 on a farm in Pattonsburg, Missouri -- a small town about 60 miles northeast of Kansas City -- the future "Wild Bill Elliott" grew up around horses. His father was a commissioner at the Kansas City Stockyards. and at age 16 Elliott won a first-place ribbon in that city's annual "American Royal Horse and Livestock Show." After a move to California...
Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye) moved to California in 1930, aged 18. He played in such musical groups as The Hollywood Hillbillies, Rocky Mountaineers, Texas Outlaws, and his own group, the International Cowboys. In 1934 he formed a group with Bob Nolan
called Sons of the Pioneers
. While in that group he was known as Leonard Slye...
After high school Gene Autry worked as a laborer for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in Oklahoma. Next he was a telegrapher. In 1928 he began singing on a local radio station, and three years later he had his own show and was making his first recordings. Three years after that he made his film...
While on the Darmouth College football team, Charles Starrett was hired to play a football extra in The Quarterback
. Impressed by the job, Starrett got the acting bug and next went into vaudeville, then regional stage work and finally to Broadway. Spotted by a Paramount talent scout, Starrett was signed to play the romantic lead in Fast and Loose
Started working with his father on stage when he was two. Later he toured in a comedy act for Fanchon and Marco. His first screen experience was at age 14, in a Pathe production of "Adventures of Bill and Bob".
As they say, like father, like son. Cowboy hero Tim Holt avidly followed in the boots of his famous character-actor dad, the granite-jawed Jack Holt
(b. Charles John Holt), who appeared in hundreds of silents and talkies (many of them westerns) over the years. The two actually appeared together as father and son in the western The Arizona Ranger
Most western action film heroes begin and end their career in the saddle. Not so for cowboy idol Allan "Rocky" Lane, who started as a leading man in major studio dramas, only to segue into "B" serials and sagebrush sagas in later life. The Indiana native was born in 1909 (some sources claim 1904). He studied at Notre Dame University where he excelled as a varsity letter athlete in football...
American B-Western star and singing cowboy Monte Hale was born Samuel Buren Ely in 1919 in Ada, Oklahoma, to Herod and Helen Ely. He learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. In Houston and later Galveston, Texas, he played for vaudeville shows and local rodeos. During World War II a job as a...
Don 'Red' Barry
Donald Barry went from the stage to the screen. After four years of playing villains and henchmen at various studios, Barry got the role that changed his image: Red Ryder in the Republic Pictures serial Adventures of Red Ryder
. Although he had appeared in westerns for two years or so, this was the one that kept him there...
Bob Livingston's father was a newspaper editor in Quincy, Illinois. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News Bob did a story on the Pasadena Playhouse, and that got him interested in acting. In his mid-20s, he was doing bit parts for Universal and Fox and went from there to romantic roles with MGM...
Ray Corrigan was a physical culturist and very good athlete. He began working in Hollywood, as a physical fitness trainer for movie stars. Bit parts in 1932 led to action roles in the Undersea Kingdom
and The Leathernecks Have Landed
, the same year he began his role as Tucson Smith in Republic Pictures' "Three Mesquiteer" series; he did 24 films in that series before leaving in 1939...
Popular American star of silent and early sound Westerns and serials. Raised in Michigan, he went through a number of strenuous jobs (sailor, boxer lumberjack, coal miner, etc.) before landing in Los Angeles and getting work as a movie extra and stuntman. His good looks and athletic physique (he was a champion weight-lifter) led to an offer to play the lead in a series of silent Westerns...
Johnny Mack Brown
An All-American halfback while attending the University of Alabama, Johnny Mack Brown chose the silver screen over the green grass of the football field when he graduated. Signed to a contract with MGM in 1926, Brown debuted in Slide, Kelly, Slide
with William Haines
in a film about - baseball. This was followed by The Bugle Call
Buster Crabbe graduated from the University of Southern California. In 1931, while working on That's My Boy
for Columbia Pictures, he was tested by MGM for Tarzan and rejected. Paramount Pictures put him in King of the Jungle
as Kaspa, the Lion Man (after a book of that title but clearly a copy of the Tarzan stories)...
He was one of filmdom's last dying breed of "B" crooning cowpokes following WWII. Jimmy Wakely had many talents (singing, songwriting, guitar-playing) and performed in many venues (radio, film, TV, rodeos, clubs) over his career. He began life in Mineola, Arkansas in 1914, but was raised in Depression-era Oklahoma...
Eddie Dean made his name as a country-western singer on radio in the '30s. He journeyed to Hollywood to make it in western movies, debuting in Manhattan Love Song
, but he could only land bit parts in features and musical shorts. His career started to take off in the early 1940s, though, and by 1945 he was among the more popular of the cowboy stars...
An American cowboy star of "B" westerns who had a brief career in the 1940s, Sunset Carson was born with the decidedly unheroic name of Winifred Maurice Harrison (although he was generally known to his family as Michael or Mick) in Gracemore, Oklahoma. He moved to Plainview, Texas, as a boy and became a successful rodeo rider...
This movie cowboy was actually born in New Jersey just before the turn of the 20th century, the son of a Protestant minister. He sang in his father's church choir, and after graduating high school he attended the private Blair Academy and then continued his musical training at New York's famous Julliard School (then known as the Institute of Musical Arts)...