(Orvon Grover Autry), 1907–98, American entertainer and businessman, b. Tioga Springs, Tex. Probably the most successful of the movies' singing cowboys, Autry began singing on the radio in Tulsa, Okla., during the 1920s. He later wrote or cowrote more than 250 songs, among them Back in the Saddle Again
(1939) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
(1948), and made some 600 recordings. He moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s and starred in his first film, Tumbling Tumbleweeds,
(of nearly 100) in 1935. Autry, America's top Western star during 1937–43, usually played a singing, guitar-playing hero and rode his famous horse, Champion. After serving in World War II (1942–45), he resumed his film career and starred (1950–56) in a popular television program. Autry invested the fortune he amassed with skill, becoming the owner of many properties, including the California Angels baseball team. His collection of Western art and memorabilia is housed in the Autry National Center, Los Angeles.
See his autobiography (1978); biography by H. George-Warren (2007); D. Rothel, The Gene Autry Book (1988).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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