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Gene Autry Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (3) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (29) | Personal Quotes (10) | Salary (3)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 29 September 1907Near Tioga, Texas, USA
Date of Death 2 October 1998Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA  (lymphoma)
Birth NameOrvon Grover Autry
Nickname The Singing Cowboy
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (3)

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 debut in Ken Maynard's In Old Santa Fe (1934) and starred in a 13-part serial the following year for Mascot Pictures, The Phantom Empire (1935). The next year he signed a contract with Republic Pictures and began making westerns. Autry--for better or worse--pretty much ushered in the era of the "singing cowboy" westerns of the 1930s and 1940s (in spite of the presence in his oaters of automobiles, radios and airplanes). These films often grossed ten times their average $50,000 production costs. During World War II he enlisted in the US Army and was assigned as a flight officer from 1942-46 with the Air Transport Command. After his military service he returned to making movies, this time with Columbia Pictures, and finally with his own company, Flying A Productions, which, during the 1950s, produced his TV series The Gene Autry Show (1950), The Adventures of Champion (1955), and Annie Oakley (1954). He wrote over 200 songs. A savvy businessman, he retired from acting in the early 1960s and became a multi-millionaire from his investments in hotels, real estate, radio stations and the California Angels professional baseball team.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Composer, songwriter ("Back in the Saddle Again","That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine"), actor, author and businessman, educated at Ravia (Oklahoma) High School. He was a telegrapher for the Frisco Railroad, and first appeared on radio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Later he had his own radio show on CBS. In World War he was a flight officer for the United States Army Air Force. He won the National Parents-Teachers Film Award for the films and television programs he produced. He joined ASCAP in 1939, and his other popular-song compositions include: "Here Comes Santa Claus"; "Be Honest With Me"; "Tears on My Pillow"; "Dixie Cannonball"; "Good Old-Fashioned Hoedown"; "You're the Only Star in My Blue Heaven"; and "I Wish I Had Never Met Sunshine".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Orvon Gene Autry is considered by many to be the greatest western star of all time. He earned the designation of "America's Favorite Cowboy". He was "discovered" by Will Rogers while working as a telegrapher. One of his stars on the Walk of fame is for Live Performance (including rodeo), not live theater. Also, "That Siver-Haired Daddy of Mine" sold over 500,000 copies in its first release. He is the first artist in history to have a gold record. Also, he is also the first artist to ever sell 1,000,000 copies of a record - "That Silver-Haired daddy of Mine". He was also the first artist ever to sell out Madison Square Garden. His song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is the second highest selling Christmas song of all time. It has sold over 30 million copies. In 1940, he was the 4th highest grossing box office attraction according to Theater Exhibitors of America. The only stars above him were Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy. By 1948, Dell Publishing was printing over 1,000,000 Gene Autry Comic Books per year. Gene Autry was #49 on CMT's 50 Greatest Men of Country Music, and he also had 2 songs on CMT's 100 Greatest Songs Of Country. everything Gene touched seemed to turn to gold. After he retired from acting, he had many successful business ventures, including radio and television stations. He also owned the California Angels. When he sold part of his interest to Disney, they became the Anaheim Angels. He was Vice President of The American League until his death. Sadly, he never got to see his beloved Angels win the World Series. The team even retired Gene's number "26". He has a town named after him -- Gene Autry, Oklahoma. They host a festival/celebration every year. Gene died in 1998 from lymphoma.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Robyn Garner

Spouse (2)

Jackie Autry (19 July 1981 - 2 October 1998) (his death)
Ina Mae Spivey (1 April 1932 - 20 May 1980) (her death)

Trade Mark (1)

Song: "Back in the Saddle Again", horse: Champion

Trivia (29)

His first hit record was "That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine" in 1932.
Autry was the first owner of the Los Angeles Angels American League baseball club, subsequently renamed the California Angels when the team was relocated to Anaheim in 1966. (The team has been renamed twice: the Anaheim Angels, and now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.) A radio station owner, Autry was interested in acquiring the broadcasting rights to the Angels games when he found out the team, part of the American League's first expansion, was for sale. He bought it. Autry owned the team in its entirety from its first year of play, 1961, until 1997, when he sold part of the franchise to Disney, who renamed the team the Anaheim Angels. Autry's widow sold the rest of the team to Disney after his death the next year at the age of 91.
According to a Hollywood legend, published in The Orange County Register after his death, Autry was discovered singing in a telegraph office in Oklahoma by Will Rogers. Rogers told him that he had a pretty good voice, and suggested that he go to Hollywood where he could make some money singing in the movies. Gene followed Rogers' advice and became "The Singing Cowboy." Autry himself related this story in an interview with Cecil B. DeMille on the Lux Radio Drama Hour. In the interview, Gene added that the next time he saw Rogers was in Hollywood. According to Gene, Will just nodded and said, "I see you made it, kid."
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Sheltering Hills section, Grave #1048.
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1969.
Grandson of an itinerant preacher, he became a multi-millionaire through his investments and real estate holdings.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1980.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1972.
He was the most popular of the "singing cowboys." In his heyday he was making six to eight feature westerns a year.
More than 50 years after the last Gene Autry western, he is better known to later generations as a singer. His remastered vintage recordings of "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" remain very popular holiday standards into the 21st century.
The California/Anaheim Angels franchise retired #26 in his honor.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 19-22. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Owned Golden West Broadcasters, which owned and operated San Francisco AM radio station KSFO, Los Angeles television station KTLA channel 5, and Los Angeles AM radio station KMPC.
During the war, he was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
During World War II, when he left Republic Pictures to join the U.S. Army, he was the only officer allowed to wear cowboy boots with his uniform.
In response to his millions of young fans who wanted to be like Gene Autry, he developed a code of conduct, "The Cowboy Code", which is as follows:

1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 3. He must always tell the truth. 4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals. 5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 6. He must help people in distress. 7. He must be a good worker. 8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits. 9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws. 10. The Cowboy is a patriot.
In 1940, the National Association of Theater Owners voted him the fourth biggest box office attraction, behind Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.
On January 1st, 1942, the small town of Berwyn (Carter County, Oklahoma) changed its name and became 'Gene Autry'.
In 1992 he was said to be worth $320 million.
On 8 February 1960, he was awarded 5 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for Motion Pictures at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard; Radio at 6520 Hollywood Boulevard; Recording at 6384 Hollywood Boulevard; Television at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard; and Live Performance at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. He is the only person with 5 stars on the Walk of Fame.
Gene did a lot work with preserving artifacts of the "Old West", including many Indian relics, and had a museum containing many of these articles.
Once tried to open a restaurant in Chicago. Local Mafia chieftains demanded a cut for their "permission" to start business. Autry refused to pay up. On the opening night gangsters appeared and told the staff to leave, and then destroyed the entire restaurant. Autry closed down and returned to the west coast.
Of his 92 starring features, only The Strawberry Roan (1948) and The Big Sombrero (1949) were filmed and released in color. Additionally, only the last season, 1955-56, of his long running TV series, "The Gene Autry Show"(1950) was filmed and broadcast in color.
There was an alternate version of Gene's first starring film, "The Phantom Empire"(1935), a 12 chapter serial. Though the plot and end result were the same, Gene's character(himself) is missing towards the end of the film, with not even a reference to his earlier presence. The film continues with the other cast members. Gene was temporarily unavailable and the film was almost shelved, but Gene finally returned to complete the film. That alternate version was last aired, locally in in NYC, in the early 1950s, perhaps by mistake, on a local feature program, titled "Time For Avdventure"(TV). The shows' host, Rex Marshall,possibly unaware, made no mention of Gene's sudden absence from the film. There appear to be no reported sightings of that version since.
He was a lifelong Republican and an avid supporter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
Was a Boy Scout.
The Ocotillo Lodge in Palm Springs was once owned by Gene Autry. It has been used for film location shoots. It features a Mid-Century Architectural Design.
Business address: 4383 ColFax Ave. Studio City, CA 91604
Business address: 5828 W. Sunset Blvd, Hollwyood CA 90028

Personal Quotes (10)

[in a conversation with director Frank McDonald about his career] I'm not a good actor, a good rider or a particularly good singer, but they seem to like what I do, so I'll keep on doing it as long as they want.
[on the music industry] It occurs to me that music, with the possible exception of riding a bull, is the most uncertain way to make a living I know. In either case you can get bucked off, thrown, stepped on, trampled--if you get on at all. At best, it is a short and bumpy ride.
In my day, most people thought dance hall girls actually danced.
[on Errol Flynn] He spent more time on a bar stool, or in court, or in the headlines, or in bed, than anyone I knew.
[on the difference between modern westerns and the westerns made during his day] I could never have played scenes like where The Sundance Kid kicks the guy in the nuts [in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)] or anything like Clint Eastwood does.
[about his "image" as a cowboy star] I couldn't shoot a man in the back. I couldn't take a drink at a bar. They would have run me out of town.
I think the He-men in the movies belong in the Army, Marine, Navy or Air Corps. All of these He-men in the movies realize that right now is the time to get into the service. Every movie cowboy ought to devote time to the Army winning, or to helping win, until the war is over - the same as any other American citizen. The Army needs all the young men it can get, and if I can set a good example for the young men I'll be mighty proud. (1942)
My movies were always clean. Parents didn't need a babysitter. For fifty cents they could send their kids down to see my pictures and know they would be entertained wholesomely.
I happened to come along in an era when movies were changing. That was about 1934. There was a break between the great silent screen stars - Buck Jones, Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson - and the new crop that was to come along. I was the first of the singing cowboys. If I'd come into pictures five years earlier or five years later, I might not have succeeded. As I look over my life, I'd say the most important thing is to be at the right place at the right time.
[observation, 1988] To tell you the truth, I even think there's room for a singin' cowboy today.

Salary (3)

The Phantom Empire (1935) $150 /week
Shooting High (1940) $25,000
The Gene Autry Show (1950) $12,500 /week

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