Actor, Singer. Major League Baseball Team Owner. Known by many as "The Singing Cowboy," he is best remembered for his songs "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer," and his theme song, "Back in the Saddle Again" (1941). Born Orvon Gene Autry near Tioga, Texas, he worked as a laborer for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in Oklahoma after graduating from high school. According to Hollywood lore, he was discovered by Will Rogers, singing for his own amusement in a telegraph office in Oklahoma, and Rogers suggested he go to Hollywood. In 1928, he began singing for a local radio station, and within three years had his own radio show and was making records. His first film was "In Old Santa Fe" (1934), and the following year, he was in a movie serial, "The Phantom Empire" (1935), following which he signed a contract with Republic Pictures. His films in the 1930s and 1940s literally defined the B-Western film, despite cars, airplanes and other modern devices in them. During World War II, he served as an officer in the Army Air Corps with the Air Transport Command, learning how to fly. Leaving military service in 1946, he returned to making movies, and during the 1950s, had his own television show, "The Gene Autry Show." He wrote over 200 songs, including his theme song, "Back in the Saddle Again." A shrewd businessman, Autry invested wisely and retired from show business in the late 1950s, a self-made millionaire. His gasoline company, Flying A, takes its name from his interest in flying and the letter of his last name, Autry. In 1983, he bought the California Angels baseball team. In the late 1980s, he built a museum to showcase his personal collection of authentic western memorabilia. He published his autobiography, "Back in the Saddle Again," in 1978. He has five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for Recording, Movies, Television, Radio, and Live Theater. He died of cancer in Los Angeles, California in 1998. He once stated, "I'm not a good actor, a good rider, or a particularly good singer, but they seem to like what I do, so I'll keep on doing it as long as they want."
The biggest selling country & western singer of the middle of the 20th century was born Orvon Gene Autry on September 29, 1907, in the tiny Texas town of Tioga, the son of Delbert and Elnora Ozmont Autry. He was first taught to sing at age five by his grandfather, William T. Autry, a Baptist preacher and descendant of some of the earliest settlers in Texas, contemporaries of the Houstons and the Crocketts (an Autry had died at the Alamo). The boy's interest in music was encouraged by his mother, who taught him hymns and folk songs and read psalms to him at night. Autry got his first guitar at age 12, bought from the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog for eight dollars (saved from his work as a hired hand on his uncle's farm baling and stacking hay). By the time he was 15, he had played anyplace there was to perform in Tioga, including school plays and the local cafe, but made most of his living working for the railroad as an apprentice at $35 a month. Later on, as a proper telegraph operator, he was making $150 a month, which those days was a comfortable income in that part of Texas.
13. Why aren't the Flying A Pictures television series Range Rider, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, Jr. and The Adventures of Champion on DVD or television?
Gene Autry sold the rights to these programs in the 1970s and no longer owns them. In 2014 the complete Annie Oakley was released by VCI Entertainment in conjunction with Gail Davis' daughter. Read more . Last time we checked, the Spelling Entertainment Group, Inc. owned the other programs and you'd have to contact them. Send them a letter at Spelling Entertainment Group, Inc., 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. If you get an answer, let us know!