Gene Autry an American performer who gained fame as “The Singing Cowboy” on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s.
Autry, the grandson of a Methodist preacher, was born near Tioga, Texas, on September 29, 1907. His parents, Delbert Autry and Elnora Ozment, moved to Ravia, Oklahoma in the 1920s. After leaving high school in 1925, Autry worked as a telegraphist for the St. Louisâ€”San Francisco Railway. Talent with the guitar and his voice led to performing at local dances. After an encouraging chance encounter with Will Rogers, he began performing on local radio in 1928 as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy.”
Autry signed a recording deal with Columbia Records in 1929. His first hit was in 1932 with “That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine,” a duet with fellow railroad man, Jimmy Long. Autry made 640 recordings, including more than 300 songs written or co-written by him. His records sold more than 100 million copies and he has more than a dozen gold and platinum records, including the first record ever certified gold.
Discovered by film producer Nat Levine in 1934, Autry made his film debut for Mascot Pictures Corp. in In Old Santa Fe as part of a singing cowboy quartet. In 1935, he was given the starring role in the 12-part serial The Phantom Empire. After Mascot was absorbed by Republic Pictures Corporation, Autry went along to make a further 44 films up to 1940, all B westerns in which he played under his own name, rode his horse Champion, had Burnette as his regular sidekick, and had many opportunities to sing in each film.
Autry retired from show business in 1964. After retiring, he invested widely in real estate, radio, and television, including the purchase from the dying Republic Pictures the rights for films he had made for the company. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1969 and to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. Autry was also inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1972.
Gene Autry died of lymphoma at age 91 on October 2, 1998 at his home in Studio City, California and is interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Scope & Content Note
This collection contains one portrait publicity photograph of Gene Autry for Republic Pictures. The edges are badly damaged with tears.
Autry, Gene, 1907-1998
Republic Pictures Corporation
This collection was accessioned in 1982.
The Gene Autry Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gene Autry Photograph, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
| Series 1: Gene Autry Collection
Photographs have been cataloged in the Image Archive Database, but none have been scanned yet.
|Box/Folder #||Accession #||Folder Title/Description|
|1||1982.023.3||Republic 1942 [Gene Autry]. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in.|