BIOGRAPHY / (Autry's Cowboy Code)
For a guitar-strummer whose seminal career moment came in an
Autry, who died Friday at 91, was a box
Still, the modesty that typified the B
They did indeed. First, there was his
looked as if he might get winded lifting a pot of campfire beans. But
with famed horse Champion and his comical sidekick Smiley Burnette,
he was a good-hearted role model personifying fairness, honesty and
Eventually, he became a key player in early '50s TV when his Flying A
Autry also was a businessman, landing for many years on Forbes
As the last survivor of the celebrated Hoppy-Gene-and-Roy
Autry was that rare individual who'll be equally missed in sports and
Gene Autry, who parlayed a $5 mail order guitar,
charm and a smooth voice into a career as
Hollywood's first singing cowboy, died Friday.
He was 91.
Autry built a multimillion-dollar fortune in broadcasting
He first sang on radio in 1928, and went on to make
He ranked for many years on the Forbes magazine list
Autry, who once turned down a chance to play in the
In the heyday of the Western, Autry was ranked top
Autry hung up his performing spurs in 1956, but
By The Associated Press Robert Dose, Elfriede Frank, Ed Krahling, Rick L. Rozar
(b. Orvon Gene Autry, 29 September 1907, near Tioga, Texas, USA).
The eldest of four children of Delbert Autry,
a poor tenant farmer, who moved
After hearing recordings of Jimmie Rodgers,
he became something of a Rod-
Jimmy Long, with whom he had co-written the song. The song eventually
became Autry's first million selling record. By 1934, he was well known as
a radio and recording personality. Having for some time been portrayed as
a singing cowboy by the publicity departments of his record companies, he
now took his first steps to make the publicity come true. He was given a
small part in the Ken Maynard film In Old Santa Fe and soon after starred in
a strange 12-episode western/science fiction serial called The Phantom
Empire. In 1935, Republic Pictures signed him to a contract and Tumbling
Tumbleweeds became his first starring western film. His previous singing
cowboy image was now reality. He sang eight songs in the film including
the title track, That Silver Haired Daddy and Ridin' Down The Canyon.
Further films followed in quick succession and by 1940 Autry ranked fourth
among all Hollywood money-making stars at the box office. In January 1940,
Gene Autry's MELODY RANCH radio show, sponsored by the Wrigley Gum
Company, first appeared on CBS and soon became a national institution,
running until 1956. Helped out by such artists as Pat Buttram, Johnny Bond
and the Cass County Boys, Autry regularly righted wrongs, sang his hits
and as a result of the program, built himself a new home in the San Fer-
nando Valley called Melody Ranch.
Quite apart from the radio shows and films,
he toured extensively with his
During the '50s, he became very successful
in business and purchased many
Many artists over subsequent years have copied
this guitar, having their own
Further reading: Back In The Saddle Again,
Gene Autry with Mickey Herskowitz.
2.He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3.He must always tell the truth.
4.He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5.He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6.He must help people in distress.
7.He must be a good worker.
8.He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9.He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10.The Cowboy is a patriot.
© 1994 Gene Autry Survivors Trust
gold record for That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine.
Autry sold over 100 million records.
Only performer to rate five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Autry was also the first artist to sell out a show in
Autry's best-known songs include "Rudolph The Red-Nosed
"He says he'd like to have made a true
``He truly was a star in the golden days of Hollywood. So
His last US country chart entry was
Old Soldiers Never Die in 1971.