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Buck Jones Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (2) | Salary (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 12 December 1891Vincennes, Indiana, USA (some sources erroneously say 4 December 1889)
Date of Death 30 November 1942Boston, Massachusetts, USA  (fire)
Birth NameCharles Frederick Gebhart
Height 5' 11¾" (1.82 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Buck Jones was one of the greatest of the "B" western stars. Although born in Indiana, Jones reportedly (but disputedly) grew up on a ranch near Red Rock in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and there learned the riding and shooting skills that would stand him in good stead as a hero of Westerns. He joined the army as a teenager and served on US-Mexican border before seeing service in the Moro uprising in the Philippines. Though wounded, he recuperated and re-enlisted, hoping to become a pilot. He was not accepted for pilot training and left the army in 1913. He took a menial job with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show and soon became champion bronco buster for the show. He moved on to the Julia Allen Show, but with the beginning of the First World War, Jones took work training horses for the Allied armies. After the war, he and his wife, Odelle Osborne, whom he had met in the Miller Brothers show, toured with the Ringling Brothers circus, then settled in Hollywood, where Jones got work in a number of Westerns starring Tom Mix and Franklyn Farnum. Producer William Fox put Jones under contract and promoted him as a new Western star. He used the name Charles Jones at first, then Charles "Buck" Jones, before settling on his permanent stage name. He quickly climbed to the upper ranks of Western stardom, playing a more dignified, less gaudy hero than Mix, if not as austere as William S. Hart. With his famed horse Silver, Jones was one of the most successful and popular actors in the genre, and at one point he was receiving more fan mail than any actor in the world. Months after America's entry into World War II, Jones participated in a war-bond-selling tour. On November 28, 1942, he was a guest of some local citizens in Boston at the famed Coconut Grove nightclub. Fire broke out and nearly 500 people died in one of the worst fire disasters on record. Jones was horribly burned and died two days later before his wife Dell could arrive to comfort him. Although legend has it that he died returning to the blaze to rescue others (a story probably originated by producer Trem Carr for whatever reason), the actual evidence indicates that he was trapped with all the others and succumbed as most did, trying to escape. He remains, however, a hero to thousands who followed his film adventures.

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

Spouse (1)

Odille Osborne (11 August 1915 - 30 November 1942) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (9)

His daughter Maxine Jones was born in 1918; she married actor Noah Beery Jr..
His body had been so badly burned in the Cocoanut Grove fire that skin from his fingers had been pulled off onto the fingerprint card sent to the Technical Section of the FBI's Identification Division. It took nearly 48 hours to identify the prints because so many fingers had to be searched in so many different places.
In 1928 he formed his own production company but the stock market crashed the following year and took him for everything. In response, he formed his own 'Wild West' show performing on his white steed Silver. His wife, Odille Osborne, rode her own horse "Bumper" and their 11-year-old daughter Maxine rode her little pony. The tour was also a failure, and he returned to the movies after being off screen for over a year.
On the night of the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire, a large number of guests and close friends was at the club for a combination testimonial dinner in honor of Buck and a promotional event for his "Rough Rider" series for Monogram Pictures. Although the story is that Jones managed to escape the fire but returned back inside to help rescue people, the truth is that he was trapped inside along with all the others and never made it out. Monogram's studio head Scott R. Dunlap was one of those critically injured in the fire that killed over 500 people. Buck died two days later in a hospital before his wife, who luckily was out of town that night, could reach him.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1973.
On his World War I draft registration filed on May 28, 1917, he gave 24 years as his age.
He gave permission for his name to be used in a comic book series that was later taken over by the Dell Publishing House. The series ran roughly until 1953 and was a needed source of revenue for his wife Odille.
Profiled in "Back in the Saddle: Essays on Western Film and Television Actors", Gary Yoggy, ed. (McFarland, 1998).
His mother, Mrs. Eva R. McCammon, died in an Indianapolis nursing home on October 29, 1954. She was 80 years old.

Personal Quotes (2)

In my pictures we never let up on the action. They've got as much movement as the silents. In the last one I rode a horse through a plate-glass window, and that's the sort of thing pictures need.
[on songs in western movies] They use [them] to save money on horses and riders and ammunition. Why, you take Gene Autry and lean him up against a tree with his guitar and let him sing three songs and you can fill up a whole reel without spending any money.

Salary (7)

The Last Straw (1920) $150 /week
The Lone Rider (1930) $300 /week
Shadow Ranch (1930) $300 /week
Men Without Law (1930) $300 /week
The Dawn Trail (1930) $300 /week
Desert Vengeance (1931) $300 /week
The Avenger (1931) $300 /week

See also

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