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Roy Rogers Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (33) | Personal Quotes (6) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 5 November 1911Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Date of Death 6 July 1998Apple Valley, California, USA  (congestive heart failure)
Birth NameLeonard Franklin Slye
Nicknames Buck
King of the West
King of the Cowboys
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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, then Dick Weston. Their songs included "Cool Water" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds". They first appeared in the western Rhythm on the Range (1936), starring Bing Crosby and Martha Raye. In 1936 he appeared as a bandit opposite Gene Autry in "The Old Coral". In 1937 Rogers went solo from "The Sons Of The Pioneeres", and made his first starring film in 1938, Under Western Stars (1938). He made almost 100 films. The Roy Rogers Show (1951) ran on NBC from October 1951 through 1957 and on CBS from 1961 to September 1964. In 1955, 67 of his feature films were released to television.

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

Spouse (3)

Dale Evans (31 December 1947 - 6 July 1998) (his death)
Grace Arline Wilkins (11 June 1936 - 3 November 1946) (her death) (3 children)
Lucile Ascolese (8 May 1933 - 8 June 1936) (divorced)

Trivia (33)

His dog's name was Bullet and appeared in almost as many of his films as did Trigger. Bullet DID NOT appear in "almost as many" of Roy Rogers films as did Trigger. Trigger was in every feature film and every TV episode, while Bullet was only in a few (very, very few)feature films. Consequently, Bullet didn't come close to appearing as much as Trigger...much less anywhere close to "almost as many.".
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers and elected again in 1988 as Roy Rogers.
Nicknames: Roy Rogers "King of the Cowboys", Dale Evans "Queen of the West", Trigger "Smartest Horse in the Movies"
There is a Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Museum at Branson, Missouri.
Roy got his horse Trigger in 1938 and rode him in every one of his films and TV shows after that. He had appeared in one earlier movie, ridden by Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Trigger died in 1965 at age 33.
Roy's theme song, "Happy Trails", was written by Dale Evans.
He had two children and 1 adopted daughter with Arlene Wilkins.
He and wife Dale Evans adopted four children, one of whom--Cheryl Rogers--later became an actress. One of his and Dale's daughters died in a bus wreck in Aug. 1964. One adopted son choked to death in Nov. 1965.
The little town of Portsmouth, Ohio (USA) also claims to be the hometown of Roy. They also have a little museum with mementoes and hoofprints of Trigger, handprints of Roy and Dusty in the sidewalk in front of the museum. Every year they had a Roy Rogers Day and Roy or Dusty would make an appearance.
Once received 78,852 fan letters in a single month.
Star of Mutual (1944-1951) and NBC Radio's (1951-1955) "The Roy Rogers Show."
His guest appearance on Wonder Woman (1975) in 1977 reflected his real life, as the character he played was a western man who had adopted several children. Roy's conservative side showed through, though, when he insisted to the show's producers that, in order for him to agree to do the episode, series star Lynda Carter needed to wear more clothing than the "bathing suit" type of costume she normally wore. Rogers won out and Carter wore a sleeved solid red top and white chino pants.
Inducted (with his wife Dale Evans) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1976.
Inducted (as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1995.
Was a Master Mason. In other words, he became a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
Was a strong opponent of gun control, and once appeared in TV commercials put out by the National Rifle Association opposing a proposed ban outlawing certain types of guns in California.
Once lived next door to actor Val Kilmer (when Val was a child). When Roy moved, the Kilmers later moved into to his old ranch. Then, in 1999, Val led a Trigger lookalike on stage at the 1999 Academy Awards in honor of Roy Rogers.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 522-525. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
In his autobiography, "Happy Trails: The Story of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans," the former Leonard Slye stated that his stage name of Roy Rogers was given to him by executives at Republic Pictures when he became their new singing cowboy to replace Gene Autry. The Rogers came from Will Rogers, the beloved western comic and storyteller who had recently died in a plane crash in Alaska and Roy was made the first name because it is the French word for "king," as in "Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys." Roy said he had no input at all in the renaming decision.
Arline Wilkins, his second wife, died a few days after giving birth to their son, Roy Rogers Jr. (Dusty). She had complications from the cesarean--a blood clot formed, traveled to her brain and killed her. Dale Evans, his third wife, became his children's mom when Dusty was 15 months old. He and Arline had three children: two girls and Dusty.
Childhood home was on real estate that later included second base in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.
His adopted daughter is Little Doe Rogers.
Besides his most famous role as Roy Rogers himself, "King of the Cowboys", Roy may be one of the few actors, if not the most famous one, to have played three of the West's greatest legends: Wild Bill Hickok, William F. Cody (aka Buffalo Bill) and Jesse James. Also, in Billy the Kid Returns (1938), he played the slain gunslinger as well.
Profiled in "Back in the Saddle: Essays on Western Film and Television Actors", Gary Yoggy, ed. (McFarland, 1998).
Rogers was asked to run for Congress on the Republican ticket at one time. He replied, "I have both Democrat and Republican fans and I can't afford to lose any of them!".
He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1752 Vine Street; for Radio at 1733 Vine Street; and for Television at 1620 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
The Sons of the Pioneers were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6843 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Godfather of Robbie Lee.
The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Museum has closed. All the memorabilia was sold at auction in April and May of 2011.
In 1951, several years before the airing of his feature films on TV and just months before the premiere of his long running TV series "The Roy Rogers Show"(1951-57), Roy did TV Ads for "Quaker Oats" and "Mother's Oats" oatmeal. These commercials carried the then unusual slogan, "Quaker and Mother's Oats (oatmeal) are the same". However, things wouldn't remain the same. Following the TV success of "Hopalong Cassidy" feature films,"The Lone Ranger" (1949) and "The Gene Autry Show"(1950), "The Roy Rogers Show" debuted on Dec.30, 1951. "Post Cereals" was the sponsor and Roy's association with "Quaker" and "Mother's Oats" was soon forgotten.
His horse, Trigger, would often receive second billing, even above his wife and co-star, Dale Evans.
Son of Andrew Slye.
He and his third wife Dale Evans were one of three married couples to make guest appearances in The Muppet Show (1976). The other two were Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge and Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell Jansson.

Personal Quotes (6)

If there were no valleys of sadness and death, we could never really appreciate the sunshine of happiness on the mountain top.
When I die, just skin me out and put me up on old Trigger and I'll be happy.
[in 1982] Another thing that burns me up is that California voted in capital punishment and they haven't electrocuted anyone yet.
[in 1982, when asked about Republic Pictures owner Herbert J. Yates, his boss for many years] I don't want to talk about Yates. Let's just say he wasn't very flexible.
[in 1982] Not long after Will Rogers died, they turned his ranch into a museum. And it didn't have anything in it. So I made up my mind I was gonna keep everything.
[Advice to his son, Roy Jr. regarding the Roy Rogers Museum] If the museum starts costing you money, then liquidate everything and move on. [The museum closed its doors in December, 2009. The assets were auctioned off at Christie's in July 2010.]

Salary (1)

Under Western Stars (1938) $75 /week

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