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Singing Cowboys - Star of the Month
Remind Me

Dick Foran
4 Films - Friday, July 22

Dick Foran, who began as a band singer and radio performer, was signed by Warner Bros. in 1934 as a supporting actor who could sing when the occasion demanded. His trained voice, good looks, athletic ability and easygoing personality inspired Warner Bros. to envision him as their answer to Gene Autry, and Foran became a singing star of "B" Westerns of the late 1930s. WB leading man Lyle Talbot, who also had a good singing voice and had been the studio's first choice to nurture as a crooning cowboy, gave Foran his opportunity by rejecting the offer because he hated being around horses.

Born John Nicholas Foran in Flemington, New Jersey, in 1910, Foran was the son and brother of, respectively, New Jersey senators Arthur Foran and Walter E. Foran. He attended Princeton, where he played football, before embarking on a career in entertainment.

After a few minor roles in which he was billed as Nick Foran, he made his Warners star debut as "Singing Cowboy Dick Foran" in Moonlight on the Prairie (1935), followed by such other adventures as Song of the Saddle (1936), Treachery Rides the Range (1936) and Land Beyond the Law (1937).

Foran starred in roughly a dozen WB Westerns, wrapping up his series with Prairie Thunder (1937). He continued to play supporting roles in other films, including such well-known titles as The Petrified Forest (1936) and Four Daughters (1938).

In 1940 he moved to Universal, where he often found himself cast in supporting roles in horror films (The Mummy's Hand, 1940) or comedies (Abbott and Costello's Ride 'Em Cowboy, 1942). The latter film provided Foran with his signature tune, "I'll Remember April."

In 1943 Foran took a holiday from filmmaking to star on Broadway in the Rodgers and Hart musical comedy A Connecticut Yankee. As movie roles became scarce in the 1950s and '60s, he found constant work in television series and commercials. His final appearance in a feature film came in Donovan's Reef (1963) with his friend John Wayne, with whom he had previously acted in Fort Apache (1948).

Foran was married three times and had four children by his third wife. He died in 1979.

by Roger Fristoe