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The Old Western Movie Stars

Updated on October 13, 2015

ROY ROGERS born Leonard Franlin Slye on November 5, 1911 and died on July 6, 1998 was the most prominent of all Western stars in the early B movies. His co-star for many years was his wife, Dale Evans. Roy took his successful name to the restaurant business and franchised a chain all over the country. Roy made over 100 films.

GENE AUTRY born Orvon Grover Autry on September 29, 1907 and died on October 2, 1998. Gene was one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood as owner of the Los Angeles Angels along with television and radio stations in California. Gene is best know for his song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

HOPALONG CASSIDY born William Lawrence Boyd on June 5, 1895 and died on September 12, 1972. He made 66 movies as Hopalong and then bought the rights to the Hopalong character and made himself a wealthy man from the sales of merchandise and comic books regarding his image.

THE LONE RANGER born Clayton Moore on September 14, 1914 and died on December 28, 1999. Moore only made two films as the Lone Ranger, but with many years on television in the role, he has lived on as the original masked man.

TIM HOLT born Charles John Holt III on February 5, 1919 and died on February 15, 1973. Tim would follow in his father's footsteps as a cowboy in B films. Unlike his dad, however, Tim went on to make a name for himself in A films such as Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart.

REX ALLEN born Rex Elvie Allen on December 31, 1920 and died on December 17, 1999. Rex was known as the Arizona Cowboy and like Gene Autry was a singing cowboy. Like several others, he went on to have his own television series.

JOHNNY MACK BROWN was born on September 1, 1904 and died on November 14, 1974. He played college football before becoming a western star. He made 127 B westerns that at times included stars such as Abbott and Costello.

SUNSET CARSON born Winifred Maurice Harrison on November 12, 1920 and died on May 1, 1990. Sunset was a former Texas cowboy and competed in rodeos all over the world before becoming Sunset the western star.

He was fired for arriving at the studio intoxicated with an underaged girl while his career was rising and would never attain that stardom again.

WILD BILL ELLIOTT born Gordon A. Nance on October 16, 1904 and died on November 26, 1965. Wild Bill was best know for his roles as Red Ryder in 16 movies he made. He would go on to radio and television shows like those before him.

HOOT GIBSON born Edmund Richard Gibson on August 6, 1892 and died on August 23, 1962. Hoot was second in popularity to Tom Mix before the singing cowboys came along like Gene and Roy. He was a major western actor throughout the 20's, 30's and 40's.

BOB STEELE born Robert Adrian Bradbury on January 23, 1907 and died on December 21, 1988. Bob would be a major western star for thirty years in B films and later would be a secondary actor in major films. He went on to a lucrative television career.

BUCK JONES born Charles Gebhart on December 12, 1891 and died on November 30, 1942. Buck started out as a stuntman and as a backup to Tom Mix. Buck made 160 westerns and joined Hoot Gibson and others as a top western star.

Buck died in a tragic fire along with 491 others in the 1942 Coconut Grove fire in Boston. A party was being hosted at the club for Jones.

ALLAN ROCKY LANE was born on September 22, 1909 and died on October 27, 1973. Rocky appeared in over 125 B movies and television shows. His career lasted 37 years. He was also the voice of the talking horse in Mr. Ed on television.

LASH LaRUE born Alfred LaRue on June 15, 1921 and died on May 21, 1996. Naturally, he got his name from his use of a bullwhip to disarm the villains. He started out as the Cheyenne Kid, but was so popular with his whip that he was given his own films. He was later copied by Whip Wilson.

KEN MAYNARD was born on July 21, 1895 and died on March 23, 1973. Ken started out as a stunt man and rodeo cowboy. He later worked for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He became one of the original singing cowboys and appeared in over 90 B westerns.

Like Sunset Carson before him, he was drunk and eventually was fired and never regained his status. He wound up living in a trailer and dependant upon his brother, Kermit.

TIM McCOY born Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy on April 10, 1891 and died on January 29, 1978. Tim was a decorated soldier in both world wars and was the youngest Brigadier General at 28 in the history of the U.S. Army. He would make his mark in the B western films between World War I and World War II.

TOM MIX born Thomas Hezikiah Mix on January 6, 1880 and died on October 12, 1940. Tom was Hollywood's first superstar with over 300 films to his credit. Tom would later do a radio series sponsored by Ralston-Purina that would be broadcast for over 20 years.

TEX RITTER born Woodward Maurice Ritter on January 12, 1905 and died January 2, 1974. He was both a singer and film star for over 30 years and was the father of famous television personality John Ritter. He made Trouble in Texas in 1936 with a gal called Rita Cansino that would later change her name to Rita Hayworth.

WHIP WILSON born Roland Charles Meyers on June 16, 1911 and died on October 23, 1964 was a singing cowboy who did not go over well with his singing and was handed a whip to fashion himself after Lash LaRue and it worked.

Whip would only last for three years and tried a sort of comeback in a few pictures where he was unbilled. He wound up managing apartments in Los Angeles.

The only pictures I could find of him with a whip were blurry. This photo is of him on the left with one of his sidekicks.

CHARLES STARRETT alias The Durango Kid was born on March 28, 1903 and died on March 22, 1986. He performed in over 160 films starting out in several different roles, but finish his career as The Durango Kid in all of his final films.

He was the man in white until he became the Kid and then he miraculously changed into all black clothes.


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    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I guess I did miss it. I'll have to back and read it.

    • discovery2020 profile image
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      WILLIAM EVANS 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Already in the works. Thanks for comments.

    • discovery2020 profile image
      Author

      WILLIAM EVANS 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Hi CLF. Yes, you missed it. It is in the article about John Ritter. Thanks for stopping by.

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      jeharr 5 years ago

      I remember them all and can't believe you found them all. Lash LaRue was my favorite and as a kid I would rid up a make shift bull whip in our recreation of the last movie serial that we had seen. How about a blog on famous side kicks. I know the Native American community would love to see some recognition for Tonto and Little Beaver.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I've only ever heard of the top four, and Tex Ritter. Wasn't John Ritter his son?

      Thanks for sharing!