Gene Autry


Actor
Gene Autry

About

Also Known As
Orvon Gene Autry
Birth Place
Tioga, Texas, USA
Born
September 29, 1907
Died
October 02, 1998
Cause of Death
Lymphoma

Biography

The only entertainer to have five stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, one each for radio, records, movies, television and live performances including rodeo and theater appearances, Gene Autry parlayed an $8 mail order guitar, charm and smooth voice into a career as Hollywood's first singing cowboy, debuting in Ken Maynard's "In Old Santa Fe" (1934). "John Wayne had made an earlier movie i...

Family & Companions

Ina Mae Spivey
Wife
Schoolteacher. Married from 1932 until her death in 1980; Autry co-wrote "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine" with Spivey's uncle, Jimmy Long; terms of her will required Autry to sell off her portion of their community property and put her share of the money in a charitable trust, The Autry Foundation.
Jackie Ellam
Wife
Former banker. Married in 1981; born c. 1942; survived him; instrumental in opening the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.

Bibliography

"Back in the Saddle Again"
Gene Autry with Mickey Herkowitz (1978)

Notes

In 1998, Autry was honored with a bronze statue at the California Angels stadium in Anaheim.

"Back in the Saddle" [the 1978 book] frankly discussed the star's onetime drinking problem: "Without knowing it, I had grown dependent on liquor to relax. Drinking was a way to celebrate ... I was always on the go, fighting another deadline, racing to another studio or a business meeting. The more tired one gets, the easier it is to look for energy in a bottle."

Biography

The only entertainer to have five stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, one each for radio, records, movies, television and live performances including rodeo and theater appearances, Gene Autry parlayed an $8 mail order guitar, charm and smooth voice into a career as Hollywood's first singing cowboy, debuting in Ken Maynard's "In Old Santa Fe" (1934). "John Wayne had made an earlier movie in which he played a singing cowboy, but he didn't do his own singing," Autry once said. The singer, who had first made his mark on the radio with his pleasant tenor voice and modest, genial personality, caught on quickly in films as the star of dozens of enjoyable B-films for Republic Studios through the 1940s with his horse Champion and sidekick Smiley Burnette. Autry's popularity was largest in small towns, the Midwest, the West and South, and even though Republic was not one of the eight "major" Hollywood studios (it WAS the biggest studio on Poverty Row), he actually made the annual exhibitors' poll of top ten box-office stars an impressive three years in a row in 1940, 1941 and 1942.

Autry was working as a railroad telegrapher on the Oklahoma to Texas line when Will Rogers heard him singing and encouraged him to pursue a career in radio. Using his railroad pass, he visited NYC and knocked unsuccessfully on the doors of radio stations and record companies, returning to Tulsa to acquire experience as 'Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy' on station KVOO. He had his first gold record ("That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine") in 1931 and went on to star on the "WLS Barn Dance" in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles in 1934. In 1939 P K Wrigley, who at the time was looking for a radio show for Doublemint gum to sponsor, saw Autry's live show in Dublin and went back to his advertising department, saying he had just seen a singing cowboy draw 200,000 people in Ireland. What followed was "Melody Ranch," which aired on CBS Radio from 1939-1956. His best-selling record (and first single ever to go platinum) was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," a song then-wife Ida Mae convinced him to record in 1949, and he also enjoyed sales of over a million for "South of the Border" and "You Are My Sunshine" (two other songs he did not write), as well as for five that he did ("Peter Cottontail," "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Mexicali Rose" and his signature song, "Back in the Saddle Again").

World War II interrupted his momentum and income of $600,000 a year, and true to his white-hat tradition, Autry enlisted in the Army Air Corps (during one of his "Melody Ranch" broadcasts) and went off to fly supply planes in the Far East. Finding himself supplanted at Republic by friend Roy Rogers on his return from the service, he eventually switched to Columbia ("The Last Round-Up" 1947) where he made features with new partner Pat Buttram (starting with "The Strawberry Roan" 1948). Autry then became one of the first movie stars to move into TV as star of "The Gene Autry Show" (CBS, 1950-56) and later purchased stations, first in Phoenix (KOOL) and later in Los Angeles (KLTV), to go with Phoenix and Los Angeles radio stations he had bought in the 40s and 50s (Golden West Broadcasters also included radio stations in San Francisco and Seattle). His radio station KMPC in Los Angeles had aired the Los Angeles Dodgers' games, but when the Dodgers moved to another station, the former semi-pro baseball player (once offered a chance to play in the minor leagues) bought the expansion Los Angeles Angels for $2.5 million in 1960, providing broadcast product for KMPC beginning with their inaugural season in 1961.

After more than 20 years in the saddle, Autry hung up his spurs in 1956 to concentrate on his business empire, which at the time included hotels, real estate and oil investments, in addition to his media holdings. He had never played any character but Gene Autry, a clean-cut, clean living hero who subscribed to his own Cowboy Code. Handsome, approachable and even a bit ordinary, he had also never kidded himself about his abilities, recognizing that his strengths were his very likable charm, a good sense of humor, fine horsemanship and pleasing tenor voice. His "Cowboy Code" served him just as well in business where his handshake and word stood for the integrity of his dealings. Autry considered his baseball Angels' inability to make it into a World Series the biggest disappointment of a life that knew few failures. Throughout his career, he had collected Western memorabilia and art, and when the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum opened in Los Angeles' Griffith Park in December 1988, he called it a gift to the world rather than a monument to himself.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

It's Showtime (1976)
Himself
Goldtown Ghost Riders (1953)
Gene Autry
Pack Train (1953)
Gene Autry
On Top of Old Smoky (1953)
Gene Autry
Last of the Pony Riders (1953)
Gene Autry
Winning of the West (1953)
Gene Autry
Saginaw Trail (1953)
Gene Autry
Barbed Wire (1952)
Gene Autry
Blue Canadian Rockies (1952)
Gene Autry
Wagon Team (1952)
Gene Autry
Night Stage to Galveston (1952)
Gene Autry
The Old West (1952)
Gene Autry
Apache Country (1952)
Gene Autry
Texans Never Cry (1951)
Sgt. Gene Autry
Valley of Fire (1951)
Gene Autry
Whirlwind (1951)
Gene Autry, also known as The Whirlwind
Hills of Utah (1951)
Gene Autry
Silver Canyon (1951)
Gene Autry
Gene Autry and the Mounties (1951)
Gene Autry
The Blazing Sun (1950)
Gene Autry
Sons of New Mexico (1950)
Gene Autry
Cow Town (1950)
Gene Autry
Mule Train (1950)
Gene Autry
Indian Territory (1950)
Sgt. Gene Autry
Beyond the Purple Hills (1950)
Gene Autry
The Big Sombrero (1949)
Gene Autry
Loaded Pistols (1949)
Gene Autry
Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949)
Gene Autry
Riders in the Sky (1949)
Gene Autry
Rim of the Canyon (1949)
Gene Autry/Steve Autry
The Cowboy and the Indians (1949)
Gene Autry
The Strawberry Roan (1948)
Gene Autry
Twilight on the Rio Grande (1947)
Gene Autry
The Last Round-Up (1947)
Gene Autry
Saddle Pals (1947)
Gene Autry
Trail to San Antone (1947)
Gene Autry
Robin Hood of Texas (1947)
Gene Autry
Sioux City Sue (1946)
Gene Autry
Bells of Capistrano (1942)
Gene Autry
Heart of the Rio Grande (1942)
Gene Autry
Call of the Canyon (1942)
Gene Autry
Home in Wyomin' (1942)
Gene Autry
Stardust on the Sage (1942)
Gene Autry
Cowboy Serenade (1942)
Gene Autry
Sierra Sue (1941)
Gene Autry
Sunset in Wyoming (1941)
Gene Autry
Back in the Saddle (1941)
Gene Autry
Down Mexico Way (1941)
Gene Autry
Under Fiesta Stars (1941)
Gene Autry
Ridin' on a Rainbow (1941)
Gene Autry
The Singing Hill (1941)
Gene Autry
Shooting High (1940)
Will Carson
Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride (1940)
Gene
Rancho Grande (1940)
Gene Autry
Men with Steel Faces (1940)
Gene [Autry]
Gaucho Serenade (1940)
Gene
Carolina Moon (1940)
Gene
Melody Ranch (1940)
Gene Autry
Mexicali Rose (1939)
Gene
Mountain Rhythm (1939)
Gene
Blue Montana Skies (1939)
Gene
In Old Monterey (1939)
Gene
Home on the Prairie (1939)
Gene
South of the Border (1939)
Gene [Autry]
Colorado Sunset (1939)
Gene
Rovin' Tumbleweeds (1939)
Gene [Autry]
Gold Mine in the Sky (1938)
Gene Autry
The Man from Music Mountain (1938)
Gene Autry
Western Jamboree (1938)
Gene Autry
Prairie Moon (1938)
Gene Autry
The Old Barn Dance (1938)
Gene Autry
Rhythm of the Saddle (1938)
Gene Autry
Boots and Saddles (1937)
Gene Autry
Springtime in the Rockies (1937)
Gene Autry
Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge (1937)
Gene Autry
Round-Up Time in Texas (1937)
Gene Autry
Public Cowboy No. 1 (1937)
Gene Autry
Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm (1937)
Gene Autry/Apache Kid
Git Along Little Dogies (1937)
Gene Autry
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937)
Himself
The Old Corral (1936)
Gene
Oh, Susanna! (1936)
Gene Autry
Guns and Guitars (1936)
Gene Autry
Comin' Round the Mountain (1936)
Gene Autry
Ride, Ranger, Ride (1936)
Gene Autry
The Big Show (1936)
Gene Autry/Tom Ford
The Singing Cowboy (1936)
Gene Autry
Red River Valley (1936)
Gene Autry
Melody Trail (1935)
Gene Autry, also known as Arizona
The Sagebrush Troubadour (1935)
Gene Autry
Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935)
Gene Autry
The Singing Vagabond (1935)
Captain Tex Autry
The Phantom Empire (1935)
In Old Santa Fe (1934)
Gene Autry

Music (Feature Film)

First Man (2018)
Song
First Man (2018)
Song Performer
Office Christmas Party (2016)
Song
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Song
Krampus (2015)
Song Performer
42 (2013)
Song Performer
42 (2013)
Song
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Song Performer
Public Enemies (2009)
Song Performer
W. (2008)
Song Performer
Wind Chill (2007)
Song
Snow Angels (2007)
Song Performer
Snow Angels (2007)
Song
Wind Chill (2007)
Song Performer
Fred Claus (2007)
Song
The Polar Express (2004)
Song
Man on the Moon (1999)
Song
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
Song
The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1995)
Music
Radioland Murders (1994)
Song
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Song
Robocop 3 (1993)
Song
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
Song Performer
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
Song
Robocop 3 (1993)
Song Performer
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Song Performer
Great Balls Of Fire (1989)
Song Performer
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Song
Better Off Dead (1985)
Song
Some Kind Of Hero (1982)
Song
Semi-Tough (1977)
Music
Winning of the West (1953)
Composer
Pack Train (1953)
Composer
On Top of Old Smoky (1953)
Composer
Last of the Pony Riders (1953)
Composer
Goldtown Ghost Riders (1953)
Composer
Wagon Team (1952)
Composer
Blue Canadian Rockies (1952)
Composer
Barbed Wire (1952)
Composer
Valley of Fire (1951)
Composer
Texans Never Cry (1951)
Composer
Silver Canyon (1951)
Composer
Whirlwind (1951)
Composer
Sons of New Mexico (1950)
Composer
The Cowboy and the Indians (1949)
Composer
Rim of the Canyon (1949)
Composer
Loaded Pistols (1949)
Composer
Song of Idaho (1948)
Composer
The Strawberry Roan (1948)
Composer
Under California Stars (1948)
Composer
Robin Hood of Texas (1947)
Composer
Saddle Pals (1947)
Composer
Trail to San Antone (1947)
Composer
Flaming Bullets (1945)
Composer
Cowboy from Lonesome River (1944)
Composer
Saddle Leather Law (1944)
Composer
Cyclone Prairie Rangers (1944)
Composer
Cowboy in the Clouds (1943)
Composer
The Man from Music Mountain (1943)
Composer
Robin Hood of the Range (1943)
Composer
Heart of the Rio Grande (1942)
Composer
Shepherd of the Ozarks (1942)
Composer
Stardust on the Sage (1942)
Composer
Ridin' Down the Canyon (1942)
Composer
Strictly in the Groove (1942)
Composer
Home in Wyomin' (1942)
Composer
Prairie Pals (1942)
Composer
Ridin' on a Rainbow (1941)
Composer
The Singing Hill (1941)
Composer
Sunset in Wyoming (1941)
Composer
Sierra Sue (1941)
Composer
Back in the Saddle (1941)
Composer
Under Fiesta Stars (1941)
Composer
Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride (1940)
Composer
Gaucho Serenade (1940)
Composer
Rancho Grande (1940)
Composer
Shooting High (1940)
Composer
In Old Monterey (1939)
Composer
Mexicali Rose (1939)
Composer
Rovin' Tumbleweeds (1939)
Composer
South of the Border (1939)
Composer
Border G-Man (1938)
Composer
The Man from Music Mountain (1938)
Composer
Under Western Stars (1938)
Composer
Gold Mine in the Sky (1938)
Composer
The Old Barn Dance (1938)
Composer
Western Gold (1937)
Composer
Boots and Saddles (1937)
Composer
Round-Up Time in Texas (1937)
Composer
Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge (1937)
Composer
Springtime in the Rockies (1937)
Composer
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937)
Composer
Red River Valley (1936)
Composer
Guns and Guitars (1936)
Composer
Oh, Susanna! (1936)
Composer
Melody Trail (1935)
Composer
The Singing Vagabond (1935)
Composer
Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935)
Composer
The Sagebrush Troubadour (1935)
Composer
In Old Santa Fe (1934)
Composer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Blazing Sun (1950)
Company
Cow Town (1950)
Company
Loaded Pistols (1949)
Company
Riders in the Sky (1949)
Company
Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949)
Company
Rim of the Canyon (1949)
Company
The Cowboy and the Indians (1949)
Company
The Last Round-Up (1947)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

It's Showtime (1976)
Other

Cast (Special)

The 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (1997)
Performer
The Life and Times of Marty Robbins (1995)
Gene Autry: Melody of the West (1994)
Gene Autry: The Singing Cowboy (1993)
Cliffhangers! Adventures From the Thrill Factory (1993)
A Tribute to the Singing Cowboy (1993)
A Celebration of Eddy Arnold (1992)
The Republic Pictures Story (1991)
Grammy Living Legends (1989)
Performer
The Hollywood Christmas Parade (1988)
The Statler's Christmas Present (1986)
The Academy of Country Music's 20th Anniversary Reunion (1986)
Texas 150: A Celebration Special (1986)
Roy Acuff -- 50 Years the King of Country Music (1982)
The Singing Cowboys Ride Again (1982)

Cast (Short)

Screen Actors (1950)
Himself
Rodeo Dough (1940)
Himself

Music (TV Mini-Series)

Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
Song

Life Events

1923

Went to work as a railroad baggage handler at the Ravia, Oklahoma depot, where he learned telegraphy from the station master

1927

Heard singing by Will Rogers who advised Autry to pursue a career in radio (date approximate)

1928

Debut as radio singer ("Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy") in Tulsa; also made first of 635 career recordings, 200 of which he wrote or co-wrote

1930

Began singing on Sears-owned Chicago station WLS for $35 a week, appearing on such programs as "National Barn Dance" and the "National Farm and Home Hour"

1931

Recorded "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine", a song he co-wrote; sold more than a million copies, many of which went out via the Sears, Roebuck mail-order house; record executive devised a special award that became an industry standard: the gold record

1934

Moved to Los Angeles for film acting debut in "In Old Santa Fe"; first film with Smiley Burnette who had teamed with him previously on radio

1935

First major role in films, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"; gave a youngster named Roy Rogers his big break with a small role in the film

1937

Voted the top Western star in Hollywood

1939

Wrote signature song, "Back in the Saddle Again"

1940

Starred in quintessential Autry film, "Melody Ranch", with Jimmy Durante, Ann Miller and George 'Gabby' Hayes; became the fourth-biggest box office attraction behind Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy

1941

Town of Berwyn, Oklahoma officially changed its name to Gene Autry

1941

Received Oscar nomination for Best Song for "Be Honest With Me" from the film "Ridin' on a Rainbow"

1946

Returned to films after military service

1947

Wrote "Here Comes Santa Claus"

1947

Original movie horse Champion (Champion I) died

1948

First film with Pat Buttram as his sidekick, "The Strawberry Roan"

1949

Had hit record with "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer"; second best-selling single in history, runner-up to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas"

1950

Recorded "Peter Cottontail", which went on to sell two million copies

1952

Bought KMPC Radio (Los Angeles) for $800,000

1952

When Monogram Studios folded, purchased the 110-acre Santa Clarita ranch where he had made his early movies in the 1930s; renamed it Melody Ranch and continued it as a working movie set, hosting the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper ("High Noon" 1952), "Lone Ranger" Clayton Moore and James Arness in the long-running "Gunsmoke"

1953

Retired from films after appearing in 93 features

1960

Bought the Los Angeles Angels professional baseball team for $2.5 million; in 1965 team renamed California Angels; became Anaheim Angels in 1997

1962

Spectacular fire destroyed more than a $1 million worth of movie sets, including 54 buildings and countless items Autry had collected; Autry then sold all but 10 acres (reserved for Champion III, the last of his movie horses) of "Melody Ranch" to developers

1964

Bought KTLA (Los Angeles TV station) for $12 million

1966

Hosted the syndicated TV series "Gene Autry's Melody Ranch"

1969

Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

1981

Orange County (California) Sports Hall of Fame presented him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award

1981

Sold his interest in KOOL Radio-TV Inc (Phoenix) for $35 million

1982

Sold Golden West's television division (Los Angeles TV station KTLA) for $245 million, acquiring full interest in the Angels baseball team, the radio broadcast division and KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City

1982

California Angels retired uniform No. 26, signifying Autry's presence as an extra player on the club's 25-man roster

1987

Became the only person to receive five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one each for his work in movies, TV, radio, music and theater

1988

The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, built largely with funds from Autry's foundations, opened in Los Angeles' Grifith Park; estimated worth of collection at the time of Autry's death was $54 million

1989

Unveiled replicas of his five Hollywood Walk of Fame stars on the sidewalk in front of the Angels' stadium

1990

Champion III died (born c. 1950), Autry sold the remaining ten acres to a movie production company

1991

City of Anaheim named a street running into the Angels' stadium Gene Autry Way

1993

Signature song "Back in the Saddle Again" returned to the charts as part of the soundtrack for Nora Ephron's "Sleepless in Seattle"

1994

Sold KMPC Radio for $18 million

1995

After years on the FORBES magazine list of the richest 400 Americans, fell to the magazine's "near miss" category with an estimated net worth of $320 million

1995

Sold one-quarter ownership of the California Angels to Disney for $30 million; Disney had agreement to acquire Autry's remaining share of the team at his death; Walt Disney had, in fact, sat on the original Angels board when the franchise began in 1961

1998

Attended his final California Angels game in September, less than a month before his death

Videos

Movie Clip

In Old Santa Fe (1934) - Gene Autry, Title Song Not known in the long run for his yodeling, and only a featured act in his first film, Gene Autry, supported by sidekick Smiley Burnette, delivers the title tune in the Ken Maynard vehicle In Old Santa Fe, 1934.
Back In The Saddle (1941) - I'm An Old Cowhand Taffy (Jacqueline Wells) is sending a telegram when Gene (Autry) bumps into her little sister Patsy (Mary Lee), leading to their offering of Johnny Mercer's I'm An Old Cowhand, and his apology for an earlier misunderstanding, in Back In The Saddle, 1941.
In Old Santa Fe (1934) - Autry And Burnette In his first movie appearance, Gene Autry has been calling a square dance, begins a song, but surrenders the stage to sidekick Smiley (Burnette), for a tune they composed together, from In Old Santa Fe, 1934.
In Old Santa Fe (1934) - Ken Maynard Opening scene, cowboy hero Ken Maynard with "Cactus" (George, not yet known as "Gabby" Hayes), encountering motorist Lila (Evalyn Knapp), from In Old Santa Fe, 1934, featuring Gene Autry's first movie appearance.
Wagon Team (1952) - Back In The Saddle Again Stage-coach line detective Gene Autry (using his own name as usual), steps up to front the band with his signature song (co-written with Ray Whitley), drama surrounding "The Kid" (Dick Jones) continuing, in Wagon Team, 1952.
Wagon Team ((1952) - In And Out Of The Jailhouse Marshal Taplan (Gordon Jones) is chasing escapee Dave "The Apache Kid" Weldon (Dick Jones), when Gene Autry (this time, a detective for a stage-coach line) rides up singing, with sidekick Cyclone (Pat Buttram), in Wagon Team, 1952.
Texans Never Cry - Title Song Nancy (Gail Davis) has just dismissed a rival suitor when she notices Gene Autry (as himself, as a Texas Ranger) delivering the title song, which he co-wrote, after which they reconcile, in Texans Never Cry, 1951.
Texans Never Cry - Take His Gun First scene of exposition and action, Texas Ranger Gene Autry dispenses economic justice on behalf of a rancher (Harry Tyler), beats up crooked Wyatt (Richard Powers) and impresses Nancy (Gail Davis), in Texans Never Cry, 1951.
Texans Never Cry - Ride Rangers Opening scene, Gene Autry (this time playing a sergeant with the Texas Rangers) rides in with pals (including sidekick Pat Buttram as "Pecos") to Ride Rangers Ride by Tim Spencer, in Texans Never Cry, 1951.

Family

Veda Autry
Sister
Survived him.

Companions

Ina Mae Spivey
Wife
Schoolteacher. Married from 1932 until her death in 1980; Autry co-wrote "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine" with Spivey's uncle, Jimmy Long; terms of her will required Autry to sell off her portion of their community property and put her share of the money in a charitable trust, The Autry Foundation.
Jackie Ellam
Wife
Former banker. Married in 1981; born c. 1942; survived him; instrumental in opening the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.

Bibliography

"Back in the Saddle Again"
Gene Autry with Mickey Herkowitz (1978)

Notes

In 1998, Autry was honored with a bronze statue at the California Angels stadium in Anaheim.

"Back in the Saddle" [the 1978 book] frankly discussed the star's onetime drinking problem: "Without knowing it, I had grown dependent on liquor to relax. Drinking was a way to celebrate ... I was always on the go, fighting another deadline, racing to another studio or a business meeting. The more tired one gets, the easier it is to look for energy in a bottle."

"When I grew up on the [railroad] line between Texas and Oklahoma, X was not a rating for dirty movies. It was the the legal signature of about a third of the population ...""I was 12 when I ordered my first guitar out of the worn and discolored pages of the Sears and Roebuck catalog. The story that I bought it on the installment plan is untrue, the invention of a Hollywood press agent. Local color. I paid cash, $8, money I had saved as a hired hand on my uncle Calvin's farm, baling and stacking hay. Prairie hay, used as feed for the cattle in winter. It was mean work for a wiry boy, but ambition made me strong." --Gene Autry quoted in Los Angeles Times, October 3, 1998.

"When I went into the Air Force, I thought to myself: 'Last year--it was 1940 or 1942--you made half a million dollars out of six pictures, weekly radio for Wrigley's, personal appearances, records. Suddenly it all drops to a tech sergeant's pay of $145 a month.'"If it hadn't been for royalties from my records and endorsements, I couldn't have survived."That should have been a lesson not only for me but for every performer and athlete. I was OK as long as I was performing. But supposing my voice went haywire, or I became ill and couldn't work. That's when I decided to get into some kind of business." --From The San Francisco Chronicle obituary, October 3, 1998.

Asked in 1992 what he considered his proudest accomplishment, Autry replied: "I've always maintained a good association with all the people that I've worked with on everything."

"I'll always harbor this secret feeling that he gave up when the Angels didn't make it this year (collapsing in the last week of the season)." --Dick Clark, widely quoted at the time of Autry's death

"He [Autry] used to ride off into the sunset. Now he owns it." --quote attributed to Pat Buttram, widely repeated at the time of Autry's death

"My biggest disappointment was not being able to win it for him in '82 and '86. I always remember he promoted good feeling among the players and coaches." --Gene Mauch, former Angels manager who won two American League West Championships but was unable to lead the team to a World Series

Gene Autry's Cowboy Code: The Cowboy must ... Never shoot first, hit a smaller man or take unfair advantage. Never go back on his word or a trust confided in him. Always tell the truth. Be gentle with children, the elderly and animals. Not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. Help people in distress. Be a good worker. Keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits. Respect women, parents and his nation's laws. Be a patriot.