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George 'Gabby' Hayes Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 May 1885Stannards, New York, USA
Date of Death 9 February 1969Burbank, California, USA  (heart ailment)
Birth NameGeorge Francis Hayes

Mini Bio (1)

American character actor, the most famous of Western-movie sidekicks of the 1930s and 1940s. He was born May 7, 1885, the third of seven children, in the Hayes Hotel (owned by his father) in the tiny hamlet of Stannards, New York, on the outskirts of Wellsville, New York. Hayes was the son of hotelier and oil-production manager Clark Hayes, and grew up in Stannards. As a young man, George Hayes worked in a circus and played semi-pro baseball while a teenager. He ran away from home at 17, in 1902, and joined a touring stock company. He married Olive Ireland in 1914 and the pair became quite successful on the vaudeville circuit. Retired in his 40s, he lost much of his money in the 1929 stock market crash and was forced to return to work. Although he had made his film debut in a single appearance prior to the crash, it was not until his wife convinced him to move to California and he met producer Trem Carr that he began working steadily in the medium. He played scores of roles in Westerns and non-Westerns alike, finally in the mid-1930s settling in to an almost exclusively Western career. He gained fame as Hopalong Cassidy's sidekick Windy Halliday in many films between 1936-39. Leaving the Cassidy films in a salary dispute, he was legally precluded from using the "Windy" nickname, and so took on the sobriquet "Gabby", and was so billed from about 1940. One of the few sidekicks to land on the annual list of Top Ten Western Boxoffice Stars, he did so repeatedly. In his early films, he alternated between whiskered comic-relief sidekicks and clean-shaven bad guys, but by the later 1930s, he worked almost exclusively as a Western sidekick to stars such as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Randolph Scott. After his last film, in 1950, he starred as the host of a network television show devoted to stories of the Old West for children, The Gabby Hayes Show (1950). Offstage an elegant and well-appointed connoisseur and man-about-town, Hayes devoted the final years of his life to his investments. He died of cardiovascular disease in Burbank, California, on February 9, 1969.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (1)

Olive E. Ireland (4 March 1914 - 5 July 1957) (her death)

Trade Mark (3)

Catchphrases "yer durn tootin" and "young whipper snapper"
"Old Prospector" style
Roles in westerns

Trivia (11)

Though a long-time western star, he didn't learn to ride a horse until he was 50 years old.
The hero of "Gabby Hayes Western" comics, published by Fawcett Publications from November 1948 until January 1957.
In real life he was the exact opposite of the characters he played on film. He was well read, well-groomed, serious and highly philosophical.
Western sidekicks Hayes and Smiley Burnette were so popular with audiences that they consistently placed in "top 10" box-office cowboy star polls alongside Gene Autry and Roy Rogers..
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2000.
Married one time, to Olive E. Ireland, from 1914-57. She performed in vaudeville under the name Dorothy Earle and thus is often mistaken for film actress/writer Dorothy Earle, and Earle is often mistakenly listed as one of Hayes' wives. For the record, Dorothy Earle the actress/writer was never married to Hayes.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 1724 Vine St.
The Gabby Hayes Show (1956) featured weekly live "Western teleplays" with a different cast each week. Unique even to this day.
He hosted a local 15-minute late afternoon show in New York City in the early 1950s, aimed at school aged children (WNBT Ch. 4). This show presented western feature films from the '30s and '40s. Each film would be presented in five installments Monday through Friday. The final installment , or "the showdown", on Friday would coincide with the last day of the school week--a double treat for fans.
Although Hayes publicly claimed Wellsville, New York, as his birthplace, he was actually born in the Hayes Hotel (owned by his father) in Stannards, New York, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Wellsville.
The character of Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles (1974) is a tribute to Hayes.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on John Wayne] He's my boy. He's the best. Couldn't think more of him if he was my own son.
[on westerns] I hate 'em. Really can't stand 'em. They always are the same. You have so few plots--the stagecoach holdup, the rustlers, the mortgage gag, the mine setting and the retired gunslinger.

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