Autry, Gene, 1907-1998

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Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998), nicknamed the Singing Cowboy, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician, rodeo performer, and baseball owner who gained fame largely by singing in a crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than three decades beginning in the early 1930s. Autry was the owner of a television station, several radio stations in Southern California, and the Los Angeles/California Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997.

From 1934 to 1953, Autry appeared in 93 films, and between 1950 and 1956 hosted The Gene Autry Show television series. During the 1930s and 1940s, he personified the straight-shooting hero—honest, brave, and true—and profoundly touched the lives of millions of Americans. Autry was also one of the most important pioneering figures in the history of country music, considered the second major influential artist of the genre's development after Jimmie Rodgers. His singing cowboy films were the first vehicle to carry country music to a national audience. In addition to his signature song, "Back in the Saddle Again" and his hit "At Mail Call Today", Autry is still remembered for his Christmas holiday songs, most especially his biggest hit "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" as well as "Frosty the Snowman", "Here Comes Santa Claus", and "Up on the House Top".

During World War II, Autry enlisted in the Army Air Corps voluntarily on July 26, 1942 in a broadcast of his Wrigley sponsored CBS radio series, Melody Ranch. Melody Ranch ran from 1940 through 1956 and was interrupted only during Autry’s service in the Army Air Corps Holding a private pilot certificate, he was determined to become a military pilot and earned his Service Pilot rating in June 1944, serving as a C-109 transport pilot with the rank of flight officer. Assigned to a unit of the Air Transport Command, he flew as part of the dangerous airlift operation over the Himalayas between India and China, nicknamed the Hump.

Autry is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance. The town of Gene Autry, Oklahoma, was named in his honor, as was the Gene Autry precinct in Mesa, Arizona.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn United States. Architect of the Capitol. Certificate presented to Gene Autry, 1997, Sept. 22. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 - 2003. Photographic File of the Paris Bureau of the New York Times, ca. 1900 - ca. 1950. Gene Autry Arrives at the Hospital in a Taxi With "Little Champion"., 10/11/1948. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Atcher, Randy (Randall I.), 1918-2002. Randy Atcher Collection, ca. 1890-ca. 2000. Kentucky Historical Society, Martin F. Schmidt Research Library
referencedIn Flogge, Albert J.,. Memorabilia collection, 1920-1990, bulk 1940-1970. Kent State University
referencedIn Gene Autry in film collection Ag1986. 0600x., ca. 1935-1950 DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University
referencedIn Dick Stout and Gene Autry in the Houston Coliseum Arena, Houston, Texas, on Feb. 4, 1942, prior to the opening of the Gene Autry Rodeo, in connection with the 1942 Houston Fat Stock Show [graphic]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, 1900 - 2003. Official Military Personnel Files, 1947 - 1998. National Archives at St. Louis
referencedIn Western movie film still collection, 1931-1957. Museum of the Great Plains
referencedIn Gray, Louis. Louis Gray papers, 1944-1971. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn The Railroad hour, radio program [sound recording], 1948-1954 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Harmon Pritchard Papers, 1933-1940 Autry National Center. Institute for the Study of the American West
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection artist name files, 1940-2005 (artists A-C). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 - 2003. Photographic File of the Paris Bureau of the New York Times, ca. 1900 - ca. 1950. Gene Autry and Champion Performing at N.Y. at World Champion Rodeo Event, 1946. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Gene Autry scrapbooks [graphic]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Gene Autry collection, [ca. 1978-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Courtney Hicks Hodges Papers. 1904 - 1965. Photographs Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
creatorOf Nichols, Jack C. (John Conover), 1896-1945. Congressional papers, 1934-1949, bulk 1935-1943. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archive 2004-167., ca. 1932-1998 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Play-Rite Music Rolls Company. Piano Rolls Collection, 1979, 1982. University of Southern California, USC Libraries
referencedIn [Autographed publicity photographs of Gene Autry] [picture]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
creatorOf House of Representatives Papers. 1900 - 1974. Correspondence Files. 1937-1948. Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
creatorOf Autry, Gene, 1907-1998. Correspondence : from RCA, 1962. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Dodd (Jimmie A. ) Photograph Collection, 83-176; 2011-152., 1937-1966. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Eugene Swarzwald, Pictorial California and the Pacific, Collection of Photographs, 1909-ca.1968, bulk ca. 1925-1968 The Huntington Library
creatorOf Autry, Gene, 1907-1998. Reminiscences of Gene Autry: oral history, 1971. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Pritchard, Harmon, 1890-1938. Harmon Pritchard papers, 1933-1984 [manuscript materials] : at the Autry National Center. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961, Papers, 1822, 1831, 1845, 1903-2007 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn [Dean Armstrong photographs] [picture]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
creatorOf Howell, Robert Boyte Crawford, 1878-1955. R.B.C. Howell family papers, 1838-1963, bulk 1912-1939. Tennessee State Library & Archives, TSLA
referencedIn Pre-Presidential Papers of Richard M. Nixon, 1946 - ca. 1963. General Correspondence, 1946 - 1963. Autry, Gene, Mr. Richard Nixon Library
referencedIn Western film lobby card and poster collection, 1916-1980. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities, 1947 - 1984. GENE AUTRY VISITS TAKHLI AB, THAILAND, 5/28/1967. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Western film lobby card and poster collection, 1916-1980 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Autry, Gene, 1907-1998. Recording contract documentation between Gene Autry, Melody Ranch and RCA. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn University of Washington Collection, ca. 1931 - ca. 1977. Audio Recordings Forming the Milo Ryan Phonoarchive of Radio Newscasts Relating to World War II and Special Coverage of Other Historical Events, ca. 1931 - ca. 1977. KVI SPECIAL - AUDIO BIOGRAPHY OF RADIO (4-5 PM), 1/30/1971. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Bob Bailey Studios. Bob Bailey Studios photographic archive, 1932-1998. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives Collection. 1931 - 1968. Famous Names Correspondence Files Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
referencedIn John Eldon Thayer collection of motion picture memorabilia, 1916-1979. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Cohen, Norm. John Edwards memorial collection, 1971. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Gilbert, Estelle, 1912-2003. Estelle Gilbert papers, 1923-2003. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Bob Bailey Studios Photographic Archive 2004-167., ca. 1942-1987 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Film mss., 1933-1986 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn [Gene Autry scrapbook]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Marvin, Johnny, 1897-1944. Johnny Marvin papers, 1928-1944. Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Cody Scouts. [Certificate presented to Gene Autry, 1983 June 16]. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Eugene Earle Collection, 1939-1980s University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection song folios, circa 1882-1983. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Rao, John, Jr. John Rao, Jr. western entertainers collection, 1900-1972. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
creatorOf Gilbert Louey Country Music Film Collection National Museum of American History (U.S.). Archives Center
referencedIn Piano Rolls Collection, 1979, 1982 USC Libraries Music Library
referencedIn Williston, Samuel, 1861-1963. Papers, 1927-1951. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Lucchese Boot Company. Lucchese Boot Company Records, 1910-1968 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Lucchese Boot Company Records 72-022., 1910-1968 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn University of North Texas. Gene Autry's honorary diploma from the University of North Texas, December 8, 1994. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Papers, 1927-1951 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Children's letters to Gene Autry. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Greer, Joseph R., 1883-1946. Papers, 1895-1948. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Morris, Toby. Toby Morris photograph collection, 1947-1961. Museum of the Great Plains
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection transcription discs, 1940-1968. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Relation Name
associatedWith Atcher, Randy (Randall I.), 1918-2002. person
associatedWith Bailey (Bob) Studios corporateBody
associatedWith Bailey (Bob) Studios corporateBody
associatedWith Bob Bailey Studios. corporateBody
associatedWith Bullock, W. W. person
associatedWith Cody Scouts. corporateBody
associatedWith Cohen, Norm. person
associatedWith DeGolyer Library corporateBody
associatedWith Dodd, Jimmie A. person
associatedWith Earle, Eugene. person
associatedWith Flogge, Albert J., person
associatedWith Gilbert, Estelle, 1912-2003. person
associatedWith Graham, Richard Harper. person
associatedWith Grau, George M. person
associatedWith Gray, Louis. person
associatedWith Greer, Joseph R., 1883-1946. person
associatedWith Higham, Charles, person
associatedWith Holbrook, Pat. person
associatedWith Howell, Robert Boyte Crawford, 1878-1955. person
associatedWith Lucchese Boot Company corporateBody
associatedWith Marino, June. person
associatedWith Marvin, Johnny, 1897-1944. person
associatedWith Miller, Bernie. person
associatedWith Morris, Toby. person
associatedWith Nichols, Jack C. (John Conover), 1896-1945. person
associatedWith Play-Rite Music Rolls Company corporateBody
associatedWith Plumb, Neely. person
associatedWith Pritchard, Harmon, 1890-1938. person
associatedWith Radio Corporation of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Radio Corporation of America. RCA Victor Division. person
associatedWith Railroad Hour Radio Program corporateBody
associatedWith Rao, John, Jr. person
associatedWith Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Sholes, Steve. person
associatedWith Swarzwald, Eugene. person
associatedWith Terr, Irwin. person
correspondedWith Thayer, John Eldon, 1899-1980 person
associatedWith United States. Air Force corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army Air Forces person
associatedWith United States Information Agency corporateBody
associatedWith Williston, Samuel, 1861-1963 person
associatedWith Williston, Samuel, 1861-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California CA US
Tioga TX US
Subject
World War II, 1939-1945
Actors
Air transport
Contracts
Cowboys
Motion picture industry
Popular music
Rodeo performers
Rodeo performers
Trick riding
Western films
Occupation
Actors, American
Aircraft pilots
Airforce personnel
Army officers
Country Singer
Military personnel
Rodeo performers
Songwriter
Activity

Person

Birth 1907-09-29

Death 1998-10-02

Birth 1907

Male

Americans

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6b679pb

SNAC ID: 87229555