Gene Autry "The Singing Cowboy", was a star of radio, screen, and television. His songs Back in the Saddle Again and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer are his most well known. On his radio show, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch, he created the Cowboy Code:
Orvon's parents moved to Oklahoma where he attended school. In 1925, he became a telegrapher for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway in Missouri. During the long quiet night shifts, he would play guitar and sing to keep himself occupied and, on one of those nights, Will Rogers heard him and encouraged him to sing professionally.
|Gene with Smiley Burnett.|
Once he could save up enough money, Gene headed to New York and auditioned for Victor Records. He didn't get a contract and began singing for radio stations to get experience. In 1928, Autry was on KVOO (now KFAQ) and known as The Yodeling Cowboy. Columbia Records signed him in 1929 and had his own radio show in Chicago in 1931. It was here he met the singer-songwriter Smiley Burnett
Nat Levine, the film producer, was impressed with Gene and Smiley and, in 1934, were given their film debut in the western In Old Santa Fe. In 1936, Gene and Smiley worked together in Oh Susanna! Gene Autry and Smiley Burnett were in 44 B-Westerns together from 1934 to 1940.
Gene put his Singing Cowboy career on hold during World War II. He served in the Army Air Force and, while he was absent from films, Roy Rogers took his place as the top star for Republic Pictures. When Autry returned, he finished his contract with Republic, then, after 1951, formed his own production company.
Gene Autry purchased the 110-acre Monogram Movie Ranch in 1953 and renamed it the Melody Ranch (after his movie, Melody Ranch). He then sold most of the acreage and kept just 12 acres to set up as a western movie lot. It had a western town, adobes, ranch cabins, and some open land. In August of 1962, a brushfire destroyed most of the original sets but it was still in good enough shape to film the TV show Combat! there. Today, the Melody Ranch Museum is open year-round.
Gene Autry died of lymphoma on October 2, 1998 at his home in Studio City, California. He is buried at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. His epitaph reads:
|Gene Autry, 1907-1998.|
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On 14 Feb 2019 at 11:01 GMT Howard Rankin Jr wrote: