ORVON GROVER AUTRY
Born: September 29th, 1907 (Texas)
Died: October 2nd, 1998 (lymphoma)
Marriages: Ina Mae Spivey (1932-1980 Her death), Jackie Autry (1981-His death).
Children: No children.
Awards: Nominated for the Best Music Oscar in Ridin' on a Rainbow (1941). He received two Golden Boots; One in 1983 and the other in 1995. In 1980, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and in 1972 he was Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. He is also the only performer with five stars on the Walk of Fame: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, Recording & Live Performance.
Interesting Fact: He served in the military during WWII and was the only officer allowed to wear cowboy boots.
My Favorite Movie: Though I have never seen one of his pictures from start to finish, I remember him for his musical cameos in some of the films of are day. The most notable one, for me, is Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
THE SINGING COWBOY
Gene Autry's voice has lived on more than other singers of his time. This came about from his combination of Cowboy & Christmas music. Autry was discovered by acting legend Will Rogers, while he was singing on the job at a telegraph office. Rogers encouraged him to get into show business, and Autry took his advice in the late twenties through radio. He quickly climbed the charts, and then starred in a couple of serial westerns. It wasn't long until he had his own name on the billing and from 1937-1942, he became the most popular western star at the box office. With WWII, he went into the military and was replaced by his friend and once co-star, Roy Rogers. After the war, his popularity returned and he began to record his Christmas music, including "Here Comes Santa Claus" which was written by him and Oakley Haldeman in 1946.
It was about this time that he created a code for the cowboy that his fans could live by:
He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
He must always tell the truth.
He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
He must help people in distress.
He must be a good worker.
He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
The Cowboy is a patriot.
In 1964, Autry retired from show business to return to his fruitful work as a businessman. His legend never died though, and he never changed from the soft kind man with a golden voice.
Trailer of Riders in the Sky (1949).
Gene Autry on Whats My Line?
Gene Autry and his horse "Champion"